Saturday, November 11, 2017

"Silence Turned to Music" published at Joyland

Joyland magazine has published my story, "Silence Turned to Music"!

This is a piece I began writing in the summer of 2012, inspired by Bach's Chaconne from the Partita in D minor for solo violin. I had begun writing about the Chaconne as nonfiction long before that, however. I'd written an essay about the Chaconne for my blog, The Bach Season, which even my mom--my number one fan--found difficult to read.

This fictional take two was more successful, and it incorporated a lot of ideas I had wanted to express in writing. On my birthday (August 10), I learned that Joyland co-founder Emily Schultz wanted to publish the piece, and on October 26, it happened. I have received many nice comments about the story, especially from musicians.

When you read the story, I recommend listening to the Chaconne at the same time. Below is a recording of it by violinist Hilary Hahn.

Fun facts: After my last violin recital in Maine, before moving to Kentucky, my teacher, Arnold Liver, gave me a Hilary Hahn recording of solo Bach.

During what I think was a subsequent summer, when I was at chamber-music camp in Vermont, we campers saw and heard Hilary Hahn perform a concert, including the Chaconne, at Middlebury College, where Hahn was participating in a French-immersion program. One of the younger campers went up to her and said hello in French. We had been warned that she couldn't speak English to us because of her program's rules. I did not say bonjour, but I did think it was awesome to see Hilary Hahn. Was one of the pieces called "Le Crépuscule"? I remember being proud to know what that word meant.

So many great words for that time of day, dusk. But that's another story.

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Temporary Steps" published at Vol. 1 Brooklyn

I've had a short story, "Temporary Steps," published by a bona fide literary outlet, Vol. 1 Brooklyn! This is a first! (Technically I have previously published another fiction piece, but not in an outlet that counts, in my opinion.) Many rejections, though not of this story, have preceded this acceptance!

It's not necessarily the best story I've written so far, but I succeeded in biting off a piece the right size for the intended publication. I have a second story about the same family in the same house, so when it is published, they will be a pair. Thanks, John Updike (and biographer Adam Begley), for inspiring me to write by thinking about my life and memories and for teaching me that you don't have to put everything about a place or character into one story.

Friday, March 31, 2017

"A Life Story" published at Entropy

On March 29th, Entropy published my essay, "A Life Story," which looks at a recent health scare of mine through the lens of the idea so well expressed by Joan Didion that, as she wrote, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." My new essay relates the frustrations of medical uncertainty to the idea that we expect life to proceed as a story and feel disappointed when our lives fail to provide climaxes and resolutions.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

"Für Bess" published at Catapult

Seely Road as seen from above, via Google Earth.
On March 6th, 2017, Catapult published my essay, "Für Bess: On Neighbors, Music Parties, and Growing Up," a reflection on the street where I grew up and on how one of my neighbors there, an amateur pianist named Bess Kaliss, brought the neighborhood together through her "music parties."