I’ve let a few weeks of 2020 slip past without really having the chance to reflect on the year that was. You probably all thought you’d finally gotten through all those posts. So I’m sorry mine is late, but I’ve been busy as I know some of you will have seen, and art can be a very demanding taskmaster.
I’m so grateful for the 2019 that I had, even if it got a bit bumpy at times. It was the year I launched my first EP and music video, and I had my music played in every state and territory across the country (and a few places further afield as well). I got to watch other people play my songs for the first time, and even had someone on the street recognise me from my music video. Just the other day I realised someone had actually gone to the trouble of putting the chords for Into the Fray up on Ultimate Guitar (nice work by the way, whoever you are). It was, really, the year I became an artist. And I have been so lucky to have people around me that have wanted to support that.
I’ve also gotten my recording skills to a point now where I can knock together a finished version of a song in a week or two if I really focus on it. So the only thing that holds back my music from the world these days is me. That’s quite an empowering thing but can also be quite daunting. Perhaps the biggest thing I achieved last year was learning to put imperfect creations out into the world, and to stop judging my own work, and just let it say what it needs to say. After all, as Leonardo da Vinci once said, art is never finished, only abandoned.
As I’m writing this I’ve been knocked off course from normal life somewhat. I’m at my parents’ house in Melbourne, with one eye always on the air quality readings back in Canberra, which we’ve all gotten so good at interpreting over the past few weeks. I can’t really go home until the bushfire smoke settles down because the air was making me sick. Melbourne is a very comfortable refuge, but it is still quite disorientating being here under this set of circumstances.
But I’m making the most of it. For the first time in a long time I am actually getting some rest. I’m getting caught up on some life admin. And I’m starting to get excited about the next project.
Before I left Canberra I hustled to finish Thoughts and Prayers, my song about the bushfires. But the fires, and the related issue of climate change, have been preoccupying me recently and I have other things to say about the whole situation. According to Woody Guthrie, it’s a folksinger’s job to comfort disturbed people, and to disturb comfortable people. So I guess I’ll be getting to work on that, because it seems to me there are some other parts of the story to explore. Once I get back home I’ll be dusting off the mics to start work on the rest of what I hope will be a 2020 EP. I hope that some of you will be excited to come on that journey with me.
It’s been a bit of a shocking start to the year. But that’s why it matters so very much what we choose to do next. In spite of everything, I am feeling optimistic about the year ahead. But we all have our work cut out for us, so we had better get to it.
Lisa Maps xo