On broadcasting, life, beauty and dreams
Updated: Nov 15, 2018
Reflections on my second nomination for a Voice Arts Award.
You know that feeling of wanting to start something, but not knowing where …?
"Amar la trama más que el desenlace..."
(Loving the plot more than the outcome)
For a few days I have wanted to sit down and write about some verses I found many years ago, it may already be fifteen years … I don't know the exact date, I’m bad with dates and names. Also, to know which is my right hand side I have to pretend that I’m writing so that I am clear that the right is on that side and the other side is left. Do you have to do that …?
I also couldn't put a date on the moment that I started to be aware - although it was fleetingly at first - that every enriching experience, all learning, even though it might appear disconnected; all that we live through and experience as creative moments, have value for us, adds to our very being. Completes us. Some people, like the lead in The Bridges of Maddison County, uncover the significance of that invisible thread that weaves the plot of their existence ...
“When I think of why I make pictures,
the reason that I can come up with,
just seems that I've been making my way here.
It seems right now that all I've ever done in my life is
make my way here to you.”
The fact is I had wanted to sit down and write out these few verses, that I had found more than 10 years ago - maybe fifteen - fortuitously, while surfing the internet looking for material to feed my then occupation, which as some of you know was a Spanish radio programme called
“Boca a Boca” (“Mouth to Mouth”) .
It has rained, snowed and we have had much sun since then, and people like me - with ants in their pants and unable to submit to a routine or a singular activity for much time - many things have happened to us, but above all and despite everything, we have made many things happen for us. As a result we have memorable failures, and painful, and brilliant moments, those which turn out perfectly and allow you to take a deep satisfied breath and think, “Well done, girl, well done”.
Anyway, since I wanted to start and didn't know where, I began to think of how best to do it; arriving at the brilliant conclusion that you start to write, by writing - something well known by those in the know:
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”
Curiously, to be able to write this story, to help me even start to write this story, I found myself selecting “American Typewriter” as my typeface on my computer, and my memory travelled further back still, to my first years in radio and before that, to the sound of typewriters, the keys, the bell which let you know that the line was about to end, the roller that would turn as you pushed the handle to go on to the next line on the page, the carbon paper for making copies, the correction fluid to erase mistakes, and to a load more things the meaning of which many young people will have to look up on Google... :)
(Foot note: I don't know if you had realised, but this typeface is also called source. Source! Don't tell me that’s not a cool metaphor! )
To specify: you work with imagination,
intuition and an apparent truth;
when this is achieved,
then the story that one wants to
make known is achieved.
The verses that I found that indeterminate day, while surfing the net, began with: "The island creature seems to me, I know not why, a different creature. Lighter, more subtle, more sensitive …" . I don’t know if, to know your right from your left, you have to make a writing sign, but what I am sure of, is that there is a poem, some verses at least, or a phrase, that you have stuck in your memory like Proust and his madeleine moment. I have carried the verses of this poem - The Island Creature, by the Cuban poet, Dulce María Loynaz - with me, within me, like a part of my fabulous baggage, ever since I found them.
One of the threads that ends up being a path as it joins other threads.
Let’s see ...
A couple of years ago, an old work colleague from Radio Cadena and Radio Nacional de España - Manuel Prieto - published some of his ideas on Facebook. Through him I learnt so many things in those times of Revox, vinyl and FM, on so and so radio in Córdoba ... what I didn't know and was now realising was that he himself was also creating music. And one of his topics that I heard, Jameos del Agua, ended up being the thread that helped create a new network: inside my head it became the soundtrack to The Island Creature .
This happened, as I say, about two years ago. It was August, that month of slow beats: I had time on my hands and was keen to make things happen, so, without knowing exactly what was going to occur I started playing with the poem and the music in my home studio, I recorded the verses and I sat down to edit and allow myself to be carried away by the sounds. Thus was born the original version which has lived on YouTube since then.
“The island creature seems to me,
I know not why, a different creature.
Lighter, more subtle, more sensitive”
It must be that in August, some planet was in retrograde with some particular star aligned which affects my very being, or that the slow beat of the summer heat fosters creativity in me; the case is that this past summer I decided to further develop the path of The Creature, this time with one objective: to make it fly higher still, and present it at the prestigious Voice Arts Awards in the category of Spanish Spoken Word.
(There are two pieces of information that I don't want to leave behind here: the existence of these awards, known as “The Oscars of Voice”, which values and gives praise to the work done by those of us who work with our voices as broadcasters and voice artists; prizes that are celebrated in the United States and which are open to works in English and Spanish from here and across the pond. The second, the category itself: Outstanding Spoken Word or Storytelling, Best Spanish Performance, whose mere existence seems to me an excellent piece of news). So, this time, to reach these great heights, I got in touch with the broadcaster and sound engineer Rick Loynes, who I had worked with last year (also in the summer, and I’m happy to say with great success, since our VideoGame Demo won an award in 2017) and together we created this new version of Dulce María’s poem, just in time to send it through to this year’s intake of the VAA. I recommend that you listen with earphones, because within it we have created different levels of space and time …
A few weeks ago the nominations of the 5th Annual Voice Arts Awards were made public. And with a great deal of emotion I am thrilled to say that The Island Creature ‘La Criatura de Isla’ has been nominated! So, the circle of a full year closes, from the joy of standing on the stage at the Jazz Lincoln Center in New York in November 2017, collecting my prized statue Best Animation/VideoGame Demo in Spanish, to the emotion of knowing that this November I am once again a nominee, but this time in Los Angeles, the city where this year’s award ceremony will take place. Between one end and the other of this long, sweet thread there have also been many other small joys, and of course many bitter ones; sad moments, silences and failures, mismatches, errors, definitive goodbyes, low times and really low times, personal and professional. Life is a plot of brilliant moments alternating with great twists and turns, often painful, often impossible to unravel. And so, I wanted to sit and write this story, to unravel it and leave it written for you and for me, in case it could in some way inspire us. Leaving reflected the certainty that some threads with which we weave our lives help us to maintain the parts of our cloth of life that frays, fades, or tears.
The rivers of the island are lighter than other rivers.
The rocks on the island appear to take flight ...
If you can’t find the path, start your own. Open the way, be the guide.
Learn the rules and use them to your advantage.
Learn from the best, and with your knowledge make a new world.
Perhaps the answer to what you seek is in a book already read, in music you have heard, in an idea floating through your mind that needs you to start it, to undertake it...
Where and how, you decide.
Because, in spite of everything, the dream is alive there. We have to continue hatching our dreams: planning them, imagining how they sound, how they feel. Give them colour, life and space. Thinking and being. Loving the plot, as Jorge sings.
Because, after all is said and done, we have to continually make things happen.
The rocks we carry become lighter.
Sometimes, they may even seem to take flight...
London, 12th October 2018.
The island creature seems to me, I know not why …
Dulce María Loynaz
The island creature seems to me,
I know not why, a different creature.
Lighter, more subtle, more sensitive.
If she is a flower, no roots hold her; if she is a bird,
her body leaves a space in the wind;
if she is a child she plays sometimes with a petrel, with a cloud …
The island creature transcends always to the sea that surrounds her
and that doesn't surround her.
She goes to the sea, she comes from the sea
and small seas are tamed at her breast,
like doves sleeping in her warmth.
The rivers of the island are lighter than the other rivers.
The rocks on the island appear to take flight ...
She is made of air and fine water.
A memory of salt, of lost horizons,
transferred from wave to wave,
the foam of a shipwreck clings to her waist
and make the tips of her wings shudder …
In times gone by, all that was not an island was called solid earth.
The island is, though, the least solid,
the least earth of the Earth.