Friday, February 11, 2011

Novel Alert

It was back in 91 or so that the thought on which I was allowed to lift my prayerfully immobilized bones out of bed, some considerable time before the dawn, was this, from the usual source: "If I wanted you to do it, I could have you working on four books at once."
At that time, if I remember correctly, I already had more than one book on the go, yet there was a certain sense of precision to the statement that only comes clear now, thanks to the Net, Blogger, and, as always, the amazing technical skills of MT. In the last ten days she has not only transferred the entire text of Not Without The Angels to a more pleasing format but also unearthed the twelve chapters of The Yacht, my story most concerned with music instruction, heretofore buried in Microsoft Word on the old computer, and set it up on the Ranger list. (Mind you, The Yacht does not yet connect with Sitemeter, but this does not interfere with readership, only with the author's awareness of whose reading it. No life can be truly full which does not include a little mystery.)
So now, I work away at four distinct undertakings in print. While I have not been discontent with less, previously, daily wondering gratefully at the available technology, I must confess that the foursome does give me a definite sense of fullness, and I think brings with it an added sense of leisure. Writing well is inevitably an anxious business, and anything that will tone down the stress must  be welcome. The goal, I think, is to be able to feel, writing your own stuff, as you feel, reading Jane Austen. (At the moment on Emma, and in general on course with the entire canon, film and book, since the middle of Advent, as it is the perfect material for the moment in a faith community run ragged by the sort of undisciplined imaginations Jane is so good at exposing. I said as much to our bishop, over a cup of tea in my living room.)
The timing is not unprovidential, nor contrary to gradual, and eminently mysterious, unfolding of my grasp of music theory and technique. Although I had an extremely good time with the first dozen chapters of The Yacht, and although they admittedly contain a mass of music instruction that must daunt any reader, and probably dismiss the faint-hearted, in spite of my every effort to make the logical as plain as possible, they still lacked certain essentials, certain fundamentals of the art of teaching anyone without previous instruction, yet possessed of a working ear and a grasp of the common sense of arithmetic, especially when it came to uniting fingers, sound, and the printed staves with all those funny little black marks that look so undecipherable.
A long time ago the Lord said to me: "It's my book, and I market it how I like." In those days, I assumed he was only talking about my first novel, as I had no idea of creating a music text that stood by itself, although I was putting a lot of music instruction into my fiction. Jacob Cameron was not for idle chatter the adopted grandson of Philippe Gagnon, whose understanding of all sorts of music was as close to incomparable as one could get. But of course the Lord always means more than he seems to at first  hearing.
I have to admit that I enjoyed re-reading chapter twelve of The Yacht, where I had left off many months ago, and had only to do a little editing before I felt I could release the story on the Net. I also must admit that once I had come up with the two immediately previous posts  on the channel at hand, I began to wonder if that was it for using the Ranger for so much music instruction, as Yacht had been precisely designed for that purpose, initially inspired after discovering an utter rocket of a keyboard drill featuring right hand triads and left hand octaves, all put together to deal with all the possibilities of those associations in logical a dramatic order, somewhat in the style of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, except for the ease which should go with any sensible scale study. This was all very well at the time, and good for a chapter that generally had a positive effect on those good enough to read it for me, but it certainly did not unlock the secrets of a truly comfortable study of four-part harmony and reading skills.
But this last is pretty much done now, at least to the point where I can give the next section of the book the precision it has been waiting for. So, there's a dozen chapters of the tale, here comes the rest of the lessons, and there are enough interesting signs out there in the real world to indicate that the entertainment community might just be capable of waking up, eventually.