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Creativity is an ongoing process for artists.
Whether they’re using paint, prose or musical notation, there’s much building and refining to do before the final work is complete.
But if a creative person finds themselves in a relationship with another artist, things can “accelerate.”
That’s the experience of author Bren Simmers and her husband, musician Adam Hill, bassist for the Atlantic String Machine, who like to collaborate.
“Because you have each other to bounce ideas off of you go through the thinking process faster,” says Simmers.
For the Charlottetown couple, this happens whenever they go walking together; their conversation turning to the projects they’re working on.
“Maybe I’m stuck with something and Adam will say, ‘maybe you can think about re-doing the structure this way’ or ‘hey, can you look at this.’ Adam is always looking at my work. He’s my first editor. So, my work is much better because of our conversations and his time,” says Simmers.
In fact, a conversation has led to their latest collaboration – a celebration of their latest works.
Simmers will launch her new book, “Pivot Point” on Friday, Nov. 15 at the Beaconsfield Carriage House in Charlottetown.
“It’s a great outlet for us,” says Hill, who will be releasing his new album, “Water in the Draw” at the same time. Doors to this free event will open at 7 p.m. and include a short reading by Simmers at 7:30 p.m. followed by a short performance by Hill on stand-up bass, Chris Corrigan, guitar and Syd Acharya, piano.
At a glance
Up close and personal with Adam and Bren
- Bren’s favourite album: “Jaime” by Brittany Howard
- Adam’s favourite food: Pizza and broccoli, served together or separately
Five things they would take to a desert island:
- Stand-up bass
- Tarp for shade
- Solar-operated record player, records
- Subscription to “The New Yorker”
- Seeds for a vegetable garden
Another thing great about being a creative couple is not having to explain the space and the time they need.
“It’s great to be like, ‘after dinner we’re not going to talk to each other at all’,” says Hill, who teaches at the Holland College School of Performing Arts and often tours with his music.
They also realize the importance of holding each other accountable.
“If we’re going through a creative period where one of us is challenged, we give them support and a push; as if fighting for the artist in the other person,” says Simmers.
Occasionally, there’s a difference of opinion.
“I’m pretty good at taking advice but I will say, ‘no, that’s not where my music is going. I appreciate your input, but I don’t agree.’ So, an opinion can be too close at times.”
While they often work collectively, mixing her poetry and spoken word with his music, they realize the importance of setting boundaries.
“Being a creative person, you have to set out the conditions to make it possible. You have to carve out blocks of time. And you have to have a partner that is understanding of what it means to be creative; blocking out periods of time to do the work,” says Simmers.
They also understand they both need space. So, they turned two upstairs bedrooms into studios when they moved into their house in Charlottetown, this past January.
“It wasn’t even a conversation. We just said we’d put the guests on the couch,” laughs Hill.
Adam Hill’s fifth album, “Water in the Draw”, contains five original folk/roots songs and three traditional fiddle tunes performed on a stand-up bass. It was recorded on a 10,000-actre cattle ranch in Wyoming.
Bren Simmers’ new book is “Pivot Point”, a lyrical account of a nine-day wilderness canoe trip through Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit in British Columbia. It’s published by Gaspereau Press. She has also written two poetry collections, “Hastings-Sunrise” and “Night Gears”.
For more information, see adamhillmusic.com or call 902-566-0386.