William H. McCann Jr.
The Arts Filled Life
It is difficult for me to believe sometimes but I have been actively involved in the arts, writ large, since I was about eleven years old. I have been Artfully Living most of my life. In only a matter of weeks that will mean that I have been in the theatre and other arts for 55 years! Much of that involvement has included theatre—as an actor, director, producer, and/or playwright. But I have also had opportunities to sing, dance, write poetry, essays, stories, conduct oral history interviews; I also enjoy sketching, photography, painting and more.
In some areas I excel more than others. I'm a better playwright than a photographer, for example. Yet, I have had a photograph published, along with plays, poems, short stories, flash fiction, and opinion pieces. My articles, poems, and stories have appeared in numerous literary journals and perhaps half a dozen newspapers, but one of the turning points in my arts involvement was when I went to work as a columnist for my local paper.
In 2019, I became the arts columnist of the Winchester Sun, where I have written book reviews—something I haven't done since elementary school, I'd bet—conducted interviews, and written about lots of arts topics that I have not been actively involved in. I've seen an artist paint a picture to accompany a sermon at my church; learned about old dolls and the 'hospital' that repaired a family heirloom doll owned by my father's mother when she was a child; visited—often by video or Zoom—museums; and seen any number of concerts, poetry readings, and theatre performances without ever leaving my own home; the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the arts, but it hasn't ended them.
Later this week I will be getting my second Covid-19 vaccine shot. Soon after that it is my hope to be able to resume going to live performances of concerts (and I hope singing again on Sunday mornings as a member of my church choir), theatrical events and plays, museums and much much more. These are the types of things I have attempted to discuss or cover in my arts columns; my blog will provide me an opportunity to elaborate on topics in my columns, or to go off in new directions altogether. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the fun of keeping company with you and talking about my adventures in Artful Living.
I find it impossible not to be involved in the arts. Whether I am singing baritone in my college choir or a church choir since, revising a play, recording an oral history interview, or sketching the Eiffel Tower while studying in Paris, the arts have been a part of my life since I was even younger than age 11.
In the last couple of years, as an arts columnist, I have been exposed to even more arts events and possibilities than ever before and many of those arts will be mentioned in this blog; others will be found here someplace including poems, plays, op-ed pieces and articles about me and by me that have appeared in newspapers and journals. In some instances, it will be possible for you to purchase—from Amazon, or from my Etsy store—books or downloads that you may find interesting or helpful, hopefully, both.
My life has been enhanced by the arts. My hope is that some of what you find here may make your life more Artful, too.