Certain events of my life last fall colluded and conspired to make me think it might be a good idea for a novel. and so since late November I have been trying to write 500 words a day or so to keep it going. Come hell or high water, I have taken my little notebooks to Caffe Beano in the late afternoon and written. This process has taken me into new and wonderful territory.
You don’t know what it will be, exactly, until you start writing it. You can plan and think about it till the cows come home, but it will do you no good. Only through actual writing does it begin to emerge.
It’s a question of voice, isn’t it? I heard my narrator’s voice truly emerge the other day (and diverge from my own voice) and I had that creeping sense of excitement that maybe I was actually getting somewhere. At this point, I believe I’m about 20,000 words in and I feel I’m a little more than half way through.
The novel is titled The Piano Teacher and it is told in the first person journal entries of an unnamed concert pianist. This selection is entry number 64.
64. November something . . .
I am happy for Pablo Cassals that into his 90’s he managed to find 3 hours a day to practice without interruption (remembering now that when someone asked him why he still did this well into his 90’s, he replied, “I think it’s starting to make a difference”) and there was a time in my own life not so very long ago when I lived a quiet and one might even say serene existence, almost monastic, in fact, which didn’t just happen, oh no, it was all part of a planned and resolute process of alienating friends, estranging lovers, pissing off colleagues and keeping family at bay, studiously developing a system of misanthropy, the end result being that I was able to go through long and glorious stretches of not having to deal with, and indeed for the most part not even having to encounter, the various agents and representatives of the human race who, from time to time, make it their dedicated business to insinuate themselves into my consciousness, disrupting the delicate rhythms of my existence. But those days of glorious and harmonious solitude would seem to be behind me now, and for all intents and purposes I may as well be a rough beast slouching in a cage at the zoo where the great teaming swell of the great unwashed can flow past me, pointing their fingers and taking photos with their little plastic boxes and making snotty observations in whiny reedy voices along the lines of “I didn’t realize he was a smoker” and “I wonder how man G and T’s he knocks back in an evening” and so on and so on etcetera etcetera ad nauseum.
Well, I liked that paragraph and thought I would share it.
I hope to be done with it by the end of summer. And that’s about all I know for sure.
Thanks for reading!
Leaving you with Horowitz making them cry in Moscow. I refer to this piece in the novel, I think it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed and I can actually play it! (Maybe not quite as well as Horowitz.) Enjoy . . . .