Bits and Pieces
So I had a nice surprise this morning when I received an e-mail from the music librarian at the University of Cincinnati library. We’ve been corresponding for a while now, and it’s his responsibility to keep track of “U.C. Authors” – of which I am one, by virtue of my three years as a student at the College-Conservatory of Music from 1955-1958. Paul Cauthen was nice enough to mention me in the library’s blog and give a plug to my most recent and only non-fiction book, “More Fog, Please.” There’s a link from that link to all my books which are listed at the library, and they have two physical copies of each … one has been archived, the other is available for circulation. I would love for more people who are contemporaries of mine to know about in particular Eli’s Heart, since about two-thirds of that book takes place on the old CCM campus in Mt. Auburn. The student uprising on campus in 1956 actually happened. Maybe this will help!
I am currently waiting to hear from two more Beta readers about their reaction to my work in progress, my fourth novel entitled Jamie’s Children. It’s great to have had two positive responses from the men who volunteered to read the book. I’m taking more time with this one. Basically, I had to … my character Niall Logan is bipolar, and trying to get inside his head took a lot of research. He also aspires to be a singer-songwriter, more research about a genre I knew very little about. And yet more research: Niall’s sister Laura is a virtuoso violinist. Though I was familiar with some of the literature, I’d never even held a violin. I’ve had great assistance with all three of these fields from some terrific friends, reinforcing how important networking is to an author.
One of my Beta readers requested a little more about Jamie Logan, the famous father to Laura and Niall, and his reaction to Niall’s illness. Happy to oblige, so here’s a sneak peek at Jamie’s Children.
Deep into practicing the Brahms concerto, feeling herself one with the music, Laura was annoyed when the buzzer in her apartment sounded and she almost ignored it. Her concentration broken, she went to the intercom and asked rather crisply: “Who is it?”
“Niall! Come on up!” She was thrilled to hear his voice. She hadn’t seen him since Bonnie had gone to Hunter Mountain and brought him back to the city. Bonnie had talked with her and with Meredith and Jamie, explaining Niall wasn’t ready to see them yet. Not at Thanksgiving.
Not even at Christmas.
It had been strained and strange, just herself and her parents trying to somehow capture the joy of the season. They were all recalling the Christmas two years earlier with Jack, when they had filled the house with music. This year a recording was playing of Vaughan Willaims’ Hodie – a work Jamie was to perform the following year with the New York Philharmonic. There were some half-hearted attempts at discussions about the music, but these trailed off into silence.
Jamie especially had struggled with Niall’s absence, and he finally said, “It’s my fault. I should have been more … I’m not even sure what. I should have talked to him more.”
“No, Dad, it’s not you at all. It’s Niall’s disease, and all the talking in the world probably won’t be much good to him until he’s ready to reach out for help.”
“I knew he was depressed sometimes. I’d experienced that myself, more than once.”
“Jamie, you never suffered the kind of depression Niall has,” Meredith told her husband. “You may have come close once … but with manic-depression, the lows are something none of us can really understand.”
“Still, I should have done something more. I should have been more supportive. Niall is … well, there’s a lot of me in him. We want everything to be … we want … we want life to be perfect for the people we love. And I know that’s impossible, but I still feel it.” He looked at them, the pain he was feeling clearly reflected in his eyes.
Both Meredith and Laura put their arms around him. The music had stopped, and for a few moments the only sound was the ticking of the clock on the fireplace mantle.
Another month had passed and still nothing. She knew her parents were very worried, but they were all relieved he was with Bonnie. She’d keep him safe. That was the operative word these days: they all wanted Niall safe. Bonnie assured them he hadn’t been drinking, but he was struggling with depression. And now, finally, he was at her door.