A group of seven seemingly disparate people came together recently to begin a creative workshop experience unlike any other; at least, none they’d come in contact with before. The idea germinated in a lecture given on a Mozart concerto at the Julliard School. I had the good fortune of stumbling on it at the invitation of a young violinist friend who was working that night with the amazing musicologist, Bruce Adolph. I would never miss a chance to hear my friend play the violin, but in the interest of full disclosure, I had an inkling there might well be material in the lecture I could use for my own writing. I was struggling with the structure of my novel, Certain Liberties, at the time, and expected Mozart’s genius would undoubtedly supply me with ideas for my book. How right I was!
That spring night at the lecture, we heard about the narrative arc of Mozart’s concerto as well as his multiple layering of themes, often seeming to follow very different threads at the same time; like many thoughts in one head. Mr. Adolph made the point that we never have just one clean, clear voice at work in our minds, and that Mozart was representing the human thought process in a most realistic way. ‘Just try to clear your head for meditation’, he suggested; ‘you’ll see how much interference your mind gives you.’ My violinist friend then demonstrated the multiple woven themes with his usual sensitivity and skill. I came away filled with designs for my own writing, and realizing again as I often have, how invaluable cross-genre arts training can be. If all the arts are different languages, then all artists would benefit from crossing their wires with somebody else’s. That thought started me looking for a way to make a combined craft workshop happen, and with very little advance planning, a small group of artists came together for a July day in the country to test the validity of my hypothesis.