Is your creative soul feeling a bit blah?
Do you want a boost?
What you need is an infusion of the Verandah ChiX.
Blah is exactly how I’d been feeling before I saw the seven-woman ensemble. Actually I’d been feeling more than blah. I felt burnt out. Creatively exhausted. Even a little bit lost. Why, I kept asking myself am I spending so much time writing and researching about belonging. What is the way forward? Is it possible to make a decent living doing what I love? How come it all takes so long? When will I be able to support Mr Sexy so he can retire and become a rock star?
We all have these moments of uncertainty and doubt. And we all need to plough right through them, even if it feels like snowshoeing in mashed potatoes.
Sometimes we just need a little help.
I met Bridget, one of the founding members of The Verandah ChiX, a couple of months ago at a fund-raising function in Brisbane. Bridget is one of those people who, like an unsuspecting magnet, gathers everyone around her. She radiates kindness and strength. We started chatting and I found myself standing in a surreal bubble of timelessness where I felt like I’d met Bridget before. I believe she might have even asked me that same question that evening.
The Verandah ChiX started out with three women having fun, singing on the balcony after work. It quickly grew into a female ensemble with regular performances. One of the things I found so intriguing is that the women all have different cultural backgrounds — Torres Strait Islands, Aboriginal Australia, South Sea Islands, Papua New Guinea, France, North Africa, South Africa and the Polynesian Islands — and they’ve taught each other songs in their native languages. The night I saw them at the Queensland Multicultural Centre, which had an intimate jazz-like atmosphere, they were singing in nine different languages.
Mr Sexy and I sat at a round table with a candle in the middle and we let the vocals and guitar accompaniment wash over us. The ancestral music and words are so powerful and emotive that I found myself with tears in my eyes. These women are community leaders and cultural workers and their voices are both strong and uplifting, gentle and inviting. They are the voices of love and change.
I felt buoyed as they shared their cultural heritage, their connection to the land and water through the music. I felt like I had tapped into an intangible reservoir of creativity and abundance. It reminded me of the way I soared after I’d heard Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert talk about writing as the pursuit of magic. But this was a little different. These women were giving so much that my creative soul was being filled. And that was before Bridget dedicated three of the belonging songs to Miss Kiki.
That is the power and great beauty of music passed down from generation to generation. It touches us in ways we don’t understand.
Writing with Miss Kiki: Close your eyes. Listen to the blessing song again. Write. Or listen again.