“It is as though we are building something around a centre, but that centre can be anywhere.”
- Louise Erdrich
Last week being the beginning of the Symphony Season and the start of my year-long writing sabbatical, between rehearsals some of my musician pals came over for soup. They needed fortifying.
During the summer hiatus we musicians keep up our chops by any means we can, but no matter how much practising gets done, no-one is ever quite prepared for the first week back playing symphonic music full-time. It is at once exhilarating and exhausting, especially when it’s a big, fat program involving Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony. My friends needed their soup.
Following a lively discussion about the morning’s rehearsal, conversation moved in my direction. What, exactly, had I been doing while they were rehearsing? In a shy kind of manner befitting a Reluctant Blogger, I told them about my Big Quiet Moment, and how the minute my manuscript submission went out the door, I sat down and got back to work writing.
What I hadn’t told anyone just yet, it being painfully early on, was that after two years of writing notes and vignettes, and casting around for a way in, I had finally begun writing a novel. Soup spoons, one by one, were laid down as I gave my friends, all of them great readers, a rough idea of what the novel would be about. I told them about the characters, the historical context, the setting, the points of view from which I’ll tell the story, and what I think will be the crisis point. Soup grew cold, eyes widened and mouths hung open. Once again shy, I clammed up.
Finally, one of my friends spoke.
“I can’t wait to read that novel,” she declared. The others agreed.
Nourished by soup, my friends soon went back to the rehearsal hall for another afternoon’s work.
And nourished by my friends’ response to my novel, I went back upstairs to my desk and continued writing Chapter One.