Azule Diaries- June 8th, 9th & 10th

Jeremy Smith is a friend and repeat resident at Azule. He is currently in his last year of graduate school at Middle Tennessee State University, where he is pursuing a Masters in Music Theory and Composition.

These are the journals I wrote the Summer of 2016 (my first Summer at Azule). I was writing the music for a ballet which premiered in Florence in April 2017. The second long stay I had I was working on a musical which was finished, but did not receive the funding it needed to be performed.

Volume 1

June 8th, 2016

Today began about 30 minutes later than the past few days have. After grabbing a quick breakfast, and a few cups of coffee, I got right to work. Seven hours of work harvested around a minute and a half of music, but I think it is some of the strongest material I’ve written. I stepped outside to watch Camille work on her mosaic for while. She asked how I was getting along.

“Strange music today, Camille”, I said. “Stranger zen yesterday?” she asked. I told her it was much stranger than yesterday. Her mosaic is really starting to come together.

Ginna came back around 2 o’clock (her name is apparently spelt like that). She gave me a book of her short stories. Her writing is good; very descriptive. I feel like I can relate to a lot of the things she is writing, but I’m sure she would like to continue thinking that no one can. Some people really enjoy being on their own island. I’m really trying to get off of mine. I ended up, during breaks, reading most of her book. It will be interesting to talk with her more tonight. Now I’ve read some of her writing and I am sure, between my banging on the piano and the playback from my speakers, she has heard more than enough of my music.

There is a basement here. It is enormous. They’ve used it to host events with 100+ attendees. Camille told me that, over the course of two years in the early 80’s, she dug the entire thing out by hand. I asked her how she managed to do such a thing. She just smiled and said “Little by little. Day by day. Big tasks become smaller, but you must stay at it!”. That is absolutely incredible.

Day 4 down. Still much work to be done, but I feel like I have done a decent amount of digging.

June 9th, 2016

The days are starting to fly by. With only 15 days remaining, I am truly beginning to dread the last. I can honestly say that I am getting used to this lifestyle. Camille left for Marshall (which is about 30 or so minutes away) very early this morning for a long awaited – and dreaded – dentist appointment. Ginna was gone to town by 9 o’clock. With the entire house empty I felt as though I had the entirety of the Smoky Mountains to myself.

Today I wrote some really beautiful music. I’m not quite sure where it came from. I got so wrapped up in it that, in fact, I think we might alter the story of this ballet a little. It would be a shame to let this music go to waste over something as trivial as a carefully crafted story arch (which took months to develop). Spoken like a true Composer.

I ran into town to send out some (very) rough drafts of the first act to my friend who wrote (and is now rewriting) the story. I grabbed another burger at the restaurant, and used their wifi to quickly check in with my friends at the Drum Corps. They seem to be making a good bit of progress. I wish I could be there, but I am here right now. I will be there soon enough.

Tomorrow, I have to do some work trade tasks around the house. Nothing so bad, just a little computer cataloging and maybe some weeding in the garden. After that, I will continue to revise Act One. I think I’m getting pretty close. I am excited about starting Act Two, but I can’t get ahead of myself. It will be nice to take a break from writing. My morning will be occupied in a different way. Nietzsche famously said “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”… let’s hope that the same is true of pulling weeds

June 10th, 2016

Today was a little of an off day. By “off” I mean a break from composing. I did a little organizational work, on the computer, for the residency. After that, I weeded the flower beds for about an hour. I had thought it had been pretty cold in North Carolina. That was until I spent an hour in the noon sun pulling weeds. Every time I do work like that I am instantly transported to the days of my teenage years. I remember my Dad waking me up, in the early days of summer “vacation”, to put up fences. He used to say that I needed to learn the value of a dollar. I have come to know, as I’ve grown older, that what he meant was that it was important for me to find that nothing comes easy, and that anything worth doing was worth doing right. He wanted to teach me that hard work is something to enjoy; something to be proud of. What I came to know – at the time – was that I hated being outside, I hated bugs, and that I wasn’t blessed with the physique needed to carry heavy stacks of wood and chain link (at least, not with the ease that he and my brother seemed to enjoy). I like to think that I have applied those hard earned lessons, which my father so earnestly tried to bestow on me, into the road that I am forging for myself. Nonetheless, I found working outside today to be a rather wearisome chore. I can confess, without hesitation, to counting down the minutes until I could return indoors.

Today I sat outside talking to Camille. The subject inevitably turned towards politics. It is interesting to talk to someone who has seen so much. I tend to side with Socrates in thinking that everyone truly wants what they think is best. Most people, in my opinion, do what they think is the most beneficial thing within their certain situation. The older I get, the more I realize that noone is ever sure which road to take. I’m not sure what to think. We all seem so divided. I think maybe what we lack is vision; the bigger picture. Where are we going? What does it take to get there? This issue seems to be where we are the most divided, but I think that the division comes much more so from a lack of vision than from a difference of opinion. I don’t have answers, but that doesn’t make the conversation any less enjoyable.

Tonight I have been working (and will continue to work) on a marching band opener. I have enjoyed my little reprieve from composing today. It feels like my first day in the mountains, rather than my sixth day in a room with a piano. I guess that you have to stop and smell the roses and so on. Tomorrow I will be right back at it, but tonight I will enjoy a little introspection. 

More From This Category

Shanley Smith

Shanley Smith is a hybridized writer and fiber artist who shares her time between Lake Michigan and the Piedmont Triad region. Through her writing, she explores the queer and the tamed in nature, spirituality, desires, and gender. In her fiber work, she seeks to...

read more

Shanley Smith

Shanley Smith is a hybridized writer and fiber artist who shares her time between Lake Michigan and the Piedmont Triad region. Through her writing, she explores the queer and the tamed in nature, spirituality, desires, and gender. In her fiber work, she seeks to...

read more

Shanley Smith

Shanley Smith is a hybridized writer and fiber artist who shares her time between Lake Michigan and the Piedmont Triad region. Through her writing, she explores the queer and the tamed in nature, spirituality, desires, and gender. In her fiber work, she seeks to...

read more