My Third Novel's Conclusion, My Heartbreak

My heart begins to break when I think about completing this particular book -- because this narrative has sustained me like no other story I've known. It's both more personal and more universal than my other works. But beyond memory and archetype, it's a cri-de-coeur about needing to become the person one is destined to be. And in the writing, I have met my own life's work, my own fated journey -- having the sense all the while that the pages are suffused with a resonance, an energy, an electrified field that defies explanation. Writers hope and pray to be overtaken by a work in this way -- to be conscripted into passionate service of a profound story. To experience it even once in a lifetime seems a great privilege. I still have perhaps six months before this novel is complete, and this constitutes my reprieve. Because I'm not ready for the beauty to end.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Power of Sound

Some of you have emailed me recently to ask how I select music.  The answer is entirely subjective, but I often choose tracks that relate to my work.  I usually listen to music prior to settling into the day's writing, so I gravitate toward songs that parallel my narrative in some way -- whether through lyrics or melodic line or mood.

Right now I'm writing about characters who are separated, so I search for music that relates to the corresponding emotion -- however that sense of yearning manifests for me.  Perhaps one of my characters misses the sound of the other's voice.  So, I'll play the following in order to fully immerse myself in that feeling:

I Miss Your Sound -- by MountainCity

Is it painful to approach my work with so much feeling?  Sometimes, yes, especially if a situation in the fictional world parallels one that I'm experiencing in real life.  But I'm a super-empath.  I feel all the nuances of emotion felt by those surrounding me -- in addition to my own.  So it doesn't seem foreign to me.  It's simply the way I'm made -- sensitive, passionate, attuned to others, artistic.  That's the package deal!

Given my nature, music in all its forms -- alternative, EDM, rock, retro, classical -- brings a great deal of joy to my life.  Visitors often play the cello, piano, guitar and saxophone here.  And someone I know well will sometimes practice his DJ mix within my hearing.  We have a few professional composers on my mother's side of the family, including England's John Rutter, profiled in December in the New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/16/arts/music/john-rutter.html.  So, it's in my DNA, this love affair with beautiful sounds!

14 comments:

  1. Between your Russian side of the family and your English side of the family, you're related to quite a few famous people. It's less of a surprise that you would turn out to be so talented yourself!

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  2. It's fascinating that you enhance your writing by accentuating your feelings over certain situations your characters experience. It seems like the process actors go through in a way.

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    1. Yes, I think the process of "knowing" a character's feelings is very much the same whether for fiction writing or theater -- at least for me.

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  3. Do you play an instrument? Just curious.

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    1. I grew up playing the piano and guitar. And I sing -- perhaps successfully, as people often ask me to sing for them!

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  4. Your mother was musical too?

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    1. She was gifted musically -- a great pianist and a remarkable singer.

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  5. I'm a musician and I always like to ask people what are their favorite sounds. Will you tell me what yours are?

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    1. What a great question! Ok, favorite sounds: the coursing of water in a fast-flowing stream, the hushed whisper of snow falling, the rhythmic murmur of ocean waves, the wind rippling through high trees, the beautiful baritone singing voice of my father, the rush of wings as birds take flight, the sonorous speaking voice of a particular person I care about.

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    2. Great answer! You're not going to tell us who the particular person is?

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    3. No. My apologies, JR. "Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise." -- Julia Cameron

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  6. I can't believe you're related to John Rutter!

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  7. :) Here's a Youtube link to The Choir of Kings College, Cambridge singing Rutter's What Sweeter Music. It's a bit hard for us in the U.S. to comprehend how important choral music is in the U.K. -- a part of their history they are entirely unwilling to relinquish. A beautiful tradition -- and to hear it live in a cathedral setting -- at night, by candlelight, at Christmastime -- it's an otherworldly experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ucVQSJunR4&list=RDP8TyKNycHes

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