Maybe it wasn't a full circle or even a half circle, with three people in attendance, but that didn't sap the sincerity and talent from Tuesday's group of songwriters.
Led by Ronald P. Brault of Wilton, the monthly meeting operates as a typical songwriter's circle. He explained that people typically go around in a circle and "pass the guitar," sharing songs and suggestions afterwards, "if asked." Brault said that people only add constructive criticism in a "gentle way" if the artist wants it.
"It is more about supporting and building one another up than tearing each other down," he added.
Brault has lived in Wilton since 1991 and has been playing the guitar "longer than I care to remember," he laughed. Since the third grade, Brault has been making music, getting his start with a little help from his favorite group The Beatles. He clearly remembers the Ed Sullivan show back in February of 1964 when The Beatles performed to a crowd of screaming, fainting, and crazed fans. His babysitter at the time was a teenaged girl and was doing the same thing as they watched together in the living room. He couldn't understand why.
"It was a new thing," Brault said. "TV was more organic back then."
He was "around 11 or 12 years old" when that Ed Sullivan show was broadcast and has been writing songs ever since. His "day job" is as a registered investment advisor, so the songwriter's circle gives Brault a creative outlet to share his stories.
The songwriter's group had six registrants on Tuesday, according to library staff, but half didn't show up. Normally the group is led by Batya Diamond, but she asked Brault to lead this one in her absence. Diamond is "a singer/songwriter and spiritual leader," according to her website, and has lived in Wilton since 1990.
According to her website, Diamond has been a lawyer, private investigator, radio deejay and a wife and mother. She is founder and spiritual leader of the Wilton Jewish Center. Both Diamond and Brault have made cds and Brault brought his to share at Tuesday's workshop.
Brault plays in a cover band called The Wingnuts, and does solo acoustic work as well. One of the songs he shared was a moving story about his biological mother who passed away when he was only four years old. He explained that the process of songwriting is a "little mysterious at times."
"You never know who is going to show up," said Maia Lagerstedt, one of the day's three attendees.
Lagerstedt writes songs lyrics and poetry and agreed with Brault that ideas can pop into your head at any moment. As an artist, she believes in embracing the creative process in order to "perfect the craft."
Lagerstedt shared a time when she was helping out at a friend's dry cleaning shop. She was getting ideas all throughout the day when she was tagging shirts. By the end of the day she had something she was "relatively happy with."
"When inspiration strikes, you have to be ready," she said.
For more information on how to register for the next Songwriter's Circle, call the library at (203)762-3950.