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 several months before this novel is complete, and this constitutes my reprieve. Because I'm not ready for the beauty to end.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Singing the Past

The wonderful American composer, Samuel Barber, created the music for Knoxville: Summer of 1915 as a tribute to the opening pages of novelist James Agee's A Death in the Family.  If you haven't yet experienced them together, they're a revelation.  The music serves as exquisite echo to the book's sensitive and idyllic narrative.  Cherished and melancholy, it sings a full-hearted portrayal of a beloved American childhood.  How is it possible to blur the lines between symphony and literature so thoroughly?  How can music convey the resplendent arc of a sprinkler on the lawn of one's childhood home, now lost to time?  It's a mystery.  A resonant one.


  1. swish, swipe, swoop across the lawn and back again
    the fresh smell of dirt arising with the new moisture it receives
    I hear, smell, see the front yard growing

    thanks, Lane, for being a piece of the plumbing

  2. I love reading and I love music. Now I have a wonderful excuse to combine them. I'm ordering the Barber immediately.

    Thanks so much for giving me an exciting addition to my "Can't wait to do" list.