Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
I'm constantly amazed by the pettiness, jealousy and sheer bad grace some people exhibit.
New Zealand's foremost opera diva, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, is quoted in today's papers as describing the young Hayley Westenra (who sings light classics) as 'a fake who will not last', who is 'not in my world and never will be.'
'I've had a 40-year career,' she said, 'but these people, two or three years and they're gone.'
This staggers me. What on earth was she thinking? Every professional artist, whether singer, author or painter, can point to someone who has done better with what appears to be less talent. But we keep quiet and get on with it.
Fact is, Hayley Westenra has a very pleasant voice and uses it to sing material far more relevant to the buying public than does Kiri Te Kanawa. Moreover, Westenra pens some of her own songs, unlike the diva. Te Kanawa complains that these young singers haven't been trained - but there's a limited and decining market for the sort of artifice Kiri performs. In her criticism of Westenra she uses the word 'popular' as though it was something to be ashamed of. It's my opinion that there's nothing to be ashamed of in populist art. Why on earth not give people what they enjoy?
Puts me in mind of an unintentionally hilarious email I received yesterday. One of my readers took the time to tell me that my book was 'poorly written, disjointed, childish, and uninteresting', and to 'try harder next time.' What he was saying, in essence, is that the book was not to his taste, but has confused taste with good writing. My book may well not be the best written out there, but judging by the man's email, he's no judge.
Frankly, I write to entertain, not to impress. Kiri Te Kanawa may have trained her voice, but if people would rather listen to Hayley Westenra, that's their prerogative, surely? What I care about is giving readers a good time. If I haven't succeeded, I will indeed try harder. As will Dame Kiri, no doubt.
Just bought a new computer. This is odd, given it's a Sunday afternoon and I haven't gone outside. It's a new Mac and I ordered it off the Apple website. 2.8GHz Intel Dual Core processor, 24" screen, 1TB of storage and 4GB of RAM. Wheee.
Best thing of all is I received education discount and was able to choose a free iPod to go with it. So one 8GB iPod touch is heading my way.
So, of course, I'll be a much better writer as a result. Sadly, no. But it'll give me something new to play with.
You Australians may laugh, but the Waikato (the province in which I live) is gripped by what some are describing as a hundred-year drought. (Not that the drought will last a hundred years, but such water scarcity occurs once in a hundred years. Just clearing that up.)
Yes, a hundred year drought. We've had no substantial rainfall for over three, er, months. Cue laughter from Australian friends. It doesn't take much to dry us out, not when we generally get a dependable and evenly spread rainfall.
Not this summer. We've had 6mm since October. And we've had the equivalent of three week's worth of temperatures higher than any single day since I came to the Waikato. Over (gasp) 30 degrees. I can hear the mocking laughter from across the Tassie.
Our grass has turned brown, we're not allowed to burn, and now we're not even allowed to sprinkle. We are hot and grumpy. We suffer from lassitude. We find it difficult to update our blogs, and all we talk about is the weather.
Oh yes, my 5th book, 'Dark Heart', is now available in Australia. Should be in NZ by the end of the month. My first trilogy has been launched in the USA and is coming out at monthly intervals. And my books are selling well and being reprinted. Huzzah!
Ooh, I shouldn't have jumped up. It's made me all hot.