“Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.” - George Bernard Shaw
It’s the new year! What better time to consider why we do what we do?
As I proceeded my way through the pressure of not working over Christmas I considered my vocation. When the frameworks we have made for ourselves in order to juggle our workflow with our private lives melt in the heat of family reunions and endless carousels of celebratory eating, I find myself composing, writing and practicing in my head. This is not because the people around me don’t interest me (they do!) but because I find art equally compelling.
I wrote the following essay mainly whilst lying in the dark with my family, waiting for sleep to come. It’s called “On Honesty and Art”. I would love to know what you think.
Speaking of what you think: following on from an email to you at the end of last year where I quoted a New York times review of the Bach Concerto for Two Violins, I received a hilarious response from one of my favourite artists, and a person I consider a dear and cherished friend, Frantiček Klossner. He gave me permission to reprint it.
From: Frantiček Klossner
Subject: Re: «The Story of Frantiček's first scoop of ice cream»
Date: 20 December 2021
To: Gwendolyn Masin
«Who was ever really happy
with one scoop of ice cream rather than two?»
At the age of 7
I was introduced
to my first scoop of ice cream!
On the school trip
peer pressure arose...
At the train station all the mothers
bought their children an ice cream...
My mother asked me
very quietly and mysteriously:
“would you like one too?”
but I knew
that we had no money for such things
our family was poor not rich...
I dodged, well brought up that I am:
"Oh no, it's not necessary, no no."
She: "But today is an exception,
a very special day, the first school trip...
All the children have an ice cream now...
I'll buy you one too!
What kind do you want?
Vanilla, strawberry or maybe pistachio?"
Completely perplexed I looked at her questioningly...
How should I have known these varieties?
She was already at the kiosk...
Returned and stood proudly in front of me
in her hand two cones
each with a scoop of pistachio...
I examine the thing...
am surprised and happy
and amazed that my mother
is suddenly so lavish...
Carefully I touch it with my tongue
and am completely disappointed!
It tastes awful...
but I pull myself together
I know that my mother
has spent a lot of money for it...
I force myself to love the stuff,
I try to smile and look happy.
but pistachio is more powerful than me:
My throat constricts
the oesophagus goes into reverse gear
I know I'm about to vomit...
but I try to keep on beaming
and look childishly grateful,
to lick delightedly at the ice!
there comes the first gush...
I throw up over my ice cream
on the platform...
My mother tears
the expensive thing from my hand
and throws it into a garbage can...
After that there was no more ice cream!
not even a second scoop... ;-)
Art: Christoph N. Fuhrer
Here's to new things! I look forward to welcoming you on Friday, 18 February 2022 at Villa Stucki in Berne for an evening of music, exchange and a full-course dinner.
Read more about the event and book your tickets by clicking here.
Photo: Martin Möll
Some of you have been asking what the "PATRONAGE" button on my website is all about. I spend a large amount of my time building community and paths to understanding. My work is designed to encourage that and your contribution adds continued purpose and dimension.
When you consume the work of an artist, what you are experiencing is only the tip of an iceberg. The process, work, time, skill and sheer organisation that goes into creating any piece of art is the bulk submerged out of sight.
If you wish to show appreciation for my work feel free to choose one (or more) ways of doing so.
Click the “patronage” button and make a donation, OR sign up to become a member of “Gwendolyn’s Bridge Club”. "GBC" is a circle of friends who support my collaborative work with other artists and who build a social community with one another in person at various events throughout the year.
Your support here lends me courage and gives me motivation to go on, to never cease from exploration, to remain the eternal student and to share, share, share. THANK YOU.
Sending you much love and light,