Writer's Blog
Anne McMillan

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Writer's Blog

Blog: My Short Story GARAJONAY
Posted: September 3, 2017 5:33:13 PM

Exciting news! My short story, GARAJONAY, has been published in the Summer Fiction 2017 Edition of Sixfold Magazine (http://www.sixfold.org). It?s about a woman named Phyllis who, yearning to get away, takes a hiking trip in the Canary Islands, but is still haunted by a recent personal tragedy. You can also listen to my audio recording of it right here in Listen to Anne.

Blog: The Inner Voice
Posted: December 8, 2016 5:21:04 PM

Renée Fleming is one of my favorite opera singers. In her book about her singing life, The Inner Voice, she describes that magical moment for the singer during performance:

For me, the singer?s art is the art of expression??expressing the music, expressing the text, projecting my voice into a large space, and then using it to make that space between me and the audience grow smaller and smaller. My voice becomes a wide net, which I spread out across all of us to draw us closer together.

If everything is going right, there are moments in a performance when the audience is absolutely silent, and you know you have it in your hand. Those are the moments performers live for.

Sometimes I like to imagine my voice as something tangible, an object that I could touch, or even another person. Sometimes my voice is something more ephemeral, like a color or sensation, or simply a vessel for the composer and the poet. In my novel, my protagonist feels it this way:

Lettie began to play the simple accompaniment and sang softly; it was odd to hear her voice come out so clear and disembodied, after so many months. It was as though a silk scarf had unwound from around her neck and now floated in the air; alive, reaching out, like a dancer?s arms.

It?s interesting that as writers, we also talk about our characters having a ?voice? and how important it is. What do you think about your own voice?

Blog: Bel Canto
Posted: November 13, 2016 5:49:21 PM

Bel Canto means literally, beautiful singing.

Here is an excerpt from the opening of Ann Patchett´s novel, Bel Canto:

When the lights went off the accompanist kissed her. Maybe he had been turning towards her just before it was completely dark, maybe he was lifting his hands. There must have been some movement, a gesture, because every person in the living room would later remember a kiss....Would he have kissed her like that had the room been lit? Was his mind so full of her that in the very instant of darkness he reached for her, did he think so quickly? Or was it that they wanted her too, all of the men and women in the room, and so they imagined it collectively. They were so taken by the beauty of her voice that they wanted to cover her mouth with their mouth, drink in. Maybe music could be transferred, devoured, owned. What would it mean to kiss the lips that had held such a sound?

What a transfixing scene.

Blog: The Song of the Lark
Posted: November 1, 2016 3:06:26 PM

Dear musicians, music lovers, writers and all the rest of you,

I have spent most of my life singing and teaching. Now I have discovered another passion, and have just finished writing my first novel, based on my experiences in the opera world.

Two of my favorite novels which inspired me are The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather and Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

Here's a quote for the day, from one of my mentors, George Trovillo (1913-2003):

If singing is to reflect life, then it must, at all times, be alive. And it must flow, flow, flow.

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