Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Mara Purl: Koto at Lincoln Center then twirls to “Child Secrets” awards upon return home

Mara Purl, a colleague from Women Writing the West, knows the challenges and advantages of being multi-faceted in our artistic work. Mara says she's a "hyphenate" (how cross-genre folks are designated in Hollywood.) She refers to her web site as "an eco-system with interconnecting gardens" and you'll be amazed at the multi-talent you'll find there.

Here she shares a brief glimpse of her secret life when this prize-winning author moonlights as a musician.---JGR

Mara Purl playing Koto

I play the koto---the Japanese harp. I grew up in Tokyo, fell in love with the instrument at a young age, and by the time I was a college student was invited by composer Teiji Ito to help create, and then perform the music for, a Jerome Robbins ballet. The piece is "Watermill"---his autobiography in dance in a very symbolic sense. It's a stunning piece of dance utterly different from what we might imagine a ballet company would perform.

What I could never have imagined is that I'd still perform this upon occasion. The piece is still in the repertory of the New York City Ballet, and was put on their schedule for this May. It was a joy and privilege to be on stage again at Lincoln Center.

But since I last did the piece 11 years ago, my writing career has been my total focus. So it was an interesting challenge to rehearse, then run back to the hotel to complete my next chapter, then perform, then prepare for the next book event, then write, then perform.

I've just returned home to a month's worth of e-mails, mail, deadlines, laundry. But I am vastly enriched by accessing and dwelling in the primordial soup of creativity that this particular musical endeavor required. How it will show up in my writing I don't know. But I know I'm a better artist for it.

And I returned home to the news that my recent novel "Child Secrets" won the Indie Excellence Award, and also the Beach Book Award. I won't need honey in my tea today, as life is sweet enough just at this moment.

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1 Responses »

  1. I would love to hear her play. Do you have an audio sample you could post?

    Yvonne Perry

    Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow in Nashville!

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