Saturday, May 19, 2012

Writing to Elgar

The family is on the way home (yay!) and I've spent this ultra quiet Saturday gardening and cleaning. In this last bit of time to myself, I'm trying to dive into some writing...specifically working on my mid-grade fairytale again. No, I didn't finish all the work I needed to do during these past couple of days, but enough to give myself a little writing break.

Reading over the manuscript yesterday -- the back story that's not quite complete and the first three chapters I wrote in January/February -- I have to say this. I like it! (Whew!) Taking two months away from the project has been really hard, and I'm still not sure how the summer is shaping up and if I'll have any significant time to devote to writing it again, but oh, I've missed these characters and this story. Now that I've dipped my toes back into the project, I guess I can call it a WIP again (work in progress)...

The other thing that's making me smile is how much I associate listening to Elgar with writing on this manuscript. I wonder if other writers do this -- have a particular composer or piece of work that seems to just "go" with the writing on a particular project? My whole winter was steeped in Elgar, especially the Enigma Variations (though I am starting to love some of his other work dearly too) and that's when I was doing most of the writing on this story. I associate Elgar so much with this story that I have named the fictional river near my castle the River Elgar.

Alas, I had to return a couple of the Enigma versions I've been enjoying to the library, but I now own a couple as well (okay, three to be precise). Today I dug out the Bernstein, which I tend to listen to less than the others. It had been a while since I'd played it, so I found myself puzzling anew (ah, the great mysteries of life) why Bernstein slowed the tempo down in the Nimrod movement so drastically. Seven minutes! As my husband pointed out when he first heard it, it sounds like a slow sunrise. He's right, it does. And while I don't find it totally absurd as some music critics do -- there's something so majestic and beautiful in the music that it manages to find its way through even this drastic sort of re-interpretation -- I confess I am completely puzzled as to why he did it. Grandstanding? Playing? Experimenting? Or did he really think there was something inherent in the music itself that called for this kind of slow, languorous, cat-like stretching? The question has me really curious. I suspect it always will.

Writing to Elgar matter what conductor, it just feels good. Among other things, it's helping provide me with continuity of mood when I dive into this story, and that's no small thing considering how long it's been since I've worked on it.

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