Friday, December 24, 2010
I am part of the hushed expectancy. Some in the world celebrate the birth of something extraordinary tonight – and a new way of relating to the world and to others. Others hope for a better dawning in 2011. I am thinking of Luca tonight, one of the main characters in my new novel, The Violet Hour. I am thinking about how love can transform us, and by steps, the world. Some called Luca angel, others genius, but he was also a man as well as a supernatural creature known as a Vampayre..
Luca came to me when I was reading New Moon.
As I read Myers's novel, I thought that the author's brilliance lay in her vision to create characters with supernatural abilities who could choose their families and live on their own terms. What a welcome respite from the jealousies, tensions, and fear that dominated my young life. I would have loved to have been part of a fearless, loyal family; brilliantly courageous and forever young.
The Cullens recognized that Bella was an unusual young woman, though she was accident prone, shy and content to live within her silences and disappointments. Then one day she met a vampire, but also a man, who recognized in her something that the world couldn't see. That's what I longed for when I was younger. Still do. Paradoxically the absence of that in my lfe convinced me that it existed.
I was born into a family where I lived as stranger and searched for the lost parts of myself in strangers' eyes. I longed for that spark of recognition that said "You are one of mine. Welcome back. Come home."
For me, that was the evergreen allure of the Twilight series, that and the thought that I could connect with another soul who "knew" me, and who saw my courage and beauty even when I had trouble getting out of bed. I believed that it existed, and that very belief was my proof. Why did i have this certainty in my heart that something else was possible when all that I'd experienced was the shadow side of love - abandonment, bad choices and disappointment? But there it was. My head began to fill with musical sounds that mesmerized me as I struggled to decipher their meaning.
Then the characters started to speak to me that night as I pondered the possibility of unlimited possibilities and the courage to embrace them. I literally saw the top of my head open and yellow file folders started downloading. I began to hear my characters' voices and as they became louder and more insistent, I began to listen to them as I hadn't listened to myself - with attention and respect.
I didn't approach them as a writer but as a student. I'd allowed them to tell me their stories, conflicts, pain and hope. I learned a lot from them as I tried to faithfully chronicle their tales. It felt as though they were speaking through me and I simply entered their data faithfully.
Have I told their story well. You will decide for yourself. All that I know is that there is more to heaven and earth than we could ever imagine. And that when we remain open and willing to step beyond our comfort zone, we will be shocked and thrilled at what awaits us, at what has been trying to get our attention. I was ready to listen. Now it's your turn. Do you believe that supernaturals walk among us?
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Rachel, the cellist, whose musical tone reminded me of butter melting on summer corn, contacted me to tell me her story. By now the news of my mission to speak with classical musicians had started to spread amongst the community. Her velvet voice cut through the cyber static and engaged me with her first startling words.
“I’d become used to channeling my sexuality into my cello. Then I met her, and I became her instrument. I need to tell my story. Call me.”
She left her cell number and then abruptly hung up. Silence once again. I lit a cigarette from excitement or nerves, I’m not sure which. But I’d calmed down by the time I had the clarity to punch in her digits.
Somehow she knew that it was I for she said simply, “Meet me at Joe’s coffee shop on Columbus and 85th street in one hour.“ Then again silence in the wake of her hypnotic voice.
I thought about how musicians became more like their instruments as they developed musically and deepened their involvement with their world of sound – their art. Rachel’s voice had the cello’s deep and sonorous tone. And instead of the tall, wiry woman that I’d expected, she, like the cello, was short and a little heavy with a gently curving waist. I thought about how it reminded me of people who started to look like their pets, or visa versa, I’m not sure that people didn’t choose animal partners who mirrored their unique physical attributes.
I was surprised when I heard her call my name and turned to see the voluptuous woman with milk-chocolate eyes that startled me as they stared from an almost translucent face. I was right about one thing Rachel’s eyes were compelling and deep.
“Thanks for meeting me,” she said and ran her graceful fingers through short Auburn hair.
“ Well, I am intrigued.” I said and then added, “thank you for contacting me.”
“Are you surprised that I called about my obsession with another woman?”
“Naturally not,” I was too eager to reassure her. “I mean lesbians are cool, right? Everyone wants to join the club. But obsession is to be avoided in any gender preference.”
“Well, I didn’t expect this,” she said emphatically. And once again, my imagination hurried to fill the silence. But I reigned myself in determined to listen with a journalist’s objectivity.
“So what happened?” I motioned to the waitress that we were ready to order.
“Three shots of espresso with soy foam, please.” Then I motioned to Rachel.
“ Black tea,” she said quietly.
Once we had dispatched with the necessities, I leaned forward and briefly touched her hand.
“I admire your courage. Please start wherever you want, whenever it began for you.”
“Well,” Rachel spread her elegant hands and motioned helplessly.
“It began with her name. Layla Light. I liked the alliteration and it kind of made me feel, I don’t know, happy. She’d begun to follow me on Twitter.”
She paused and moved her arms gracefully as though she held her beloved cello. I played with my soy foam forming little ski slopes with the froth, but I watched her from beneath my eyelashes.
“She began to send me direct messages and I was intrigued with her writing It was very expressive but conveyed real depth. And something more. There was shadow side to her sense of humor. She’d told me about how she admired musicians and their dedication. After a while we decided to meet.
I’d become disillusioned with the self-absorbed New York men with their staggering sense of entitlement. Music was my love and I’d become comfortable with that decision. But when Layla looked at me with eyes that looked like she’d created the world, I felt something stir within. I was drawn into her eyes and couldn’t look away. I found the way that the right side of her mouth tilted upwards when she smiled terribly exciting. Layla leaned forward to tell me a confidence and hee touch was soft like my bow against the cello. That’s when things became complicated, even before I knew what she was. But by then, I was hopelessly in love with Layla. I couldn’t turn back. I didn’t want to.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
His signature recording of Liszt’s Faust Symphony roars through the empty theatre but I can’t break contact with his steely eyes. His lower lip, now stained with my blood, lifts on the right side, as I’ve seen it do often during performances. This is his moment, the one that he planned for ages. And it’s all about him I thought, it was never about my talent or me. It was always about him. And winning. Always.
Talking heads bleat from the screen that now hangs over the stage behind the Steinway D that we used all year for rehearsals and performances.
“Acclaimed conductor Antonio Accardo found dead in his Manhattan apartment. Estimated time of death was 5:00 AM. Accardo was a once renowned violinist. Now he is famous for being the third victim in a series of murders popularly known as the Violet Hour Romance Murders. The term refers to the untimely deaths of once renowned musicians known for specializing in the Romantic repertoire. Each death occurred at just before sunrise.”
The details escape me because I am completely terrified as my captor is now floating above me. His breath chills my cheeks and is heavy with the slightly metallic scent of the 1787 Bordeaux Chateaux Lafitte that we shared in better times, you could say.
“It’s your choice, Целую. And I’m shocked at the familiar sound of his pet Russian name for me, a word meaning I kiss you, Tseyluyu. He had taken to shouting this during rehearsals and my voice responded to his other worldly genius. But now his vocal caress pounds in my ears like a Lady Gaga recording that is poorly synced. I am determined to hold onto another melody, one that was written for me..
“I sought him who my soul loveth: I held him and I would not let him go.” The phrase from the Bible’s Song of Solomon races through my mind. So, I am to be this monster’s immortal bride or destroy the man who has become my soul. This totally sucks.
I don’t answer and my silence enrages him. I feel a rush of wind as the demon hurls me to the other side of the vast stage that is set for La Traviata. My body feels mangled and the harsh stage floor cradles my head before I lose consciousness. The last thing I hear is my beloved’s music. It comes to me as through a mist. I hold onto that. I will take that to my death. “Questo il mio momento finale,” I think of the aria that my love wrote for me, the aria that I was cast to sing in the New York premier of his opera on this stage, and another stabbing pain rocks my body. And so I will not die alone, or in vain. My love and his music will survive. And the world will be a better place for that…
Friday, December 10, 2010
The Violet Hour
Prologue - Jasmine
The graduate artists at Julliard’s American Opera center are no longer gossiping about my meteoric career rise. They now pool in huddles visible from Julliard’s glass frontage that overhangs Broadway’s frenzy. A third celebrated but fallen musical icon died mysteriously, during the ghostly fog-heavy summer that curls around New Yorkers. Our brilliant teachers who had commented all season on the crop of talented voices at the American Opera Center, now murmur nervously about the deaths of the great musicians who were destroyed by alcoholism, depression and later something far darker than their own inner torments.
I alone know what is happening and why these deaths occur at the violet hour.