My close friends and I have a group skype chat which is about three months old now. I shared the following paragraph in this chat, which we call “Scones”, so I guess it’s only fair now that I also introduce this sad and lonely excerpt to a larger audience.
This is a short excerpt from Chapter One (entitled “Charts”) of Swingnacht. It contains a little background on the protagonist’s early relationship with music. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily indicate that she learns to play piano properly, but does indicate that music will play a pivotal role in her life. The novel is intentionally structured to mimic a jazz composition, by the way. (Thus the strange chapter titles.) Don’t know if I’ve mentioned that yet. ANYWAY . . .
“Before that day, Eda’s only idea of what music looked like was the piano that stood in the Trommler’s parlor. It always looked sad, withered and alone, begging to be played. Everyone else in the household treated it like a piece of forgotten artwork; to be neither touched nor adored. To Eda, it was a towering mahogany fortress with ivory keys for climbing and ebony rungs from which to swing. She often hoisted herself onto the instrument’s creaky bench and spent hours running her fingers over the keys, enjoying the pink plonking they made as she tapped them lightly, trying to summon something like music from the piano’s dusty interior.
Despite her efforts, Eda never learned to play the piano properly. One of her earliest memories was of asking her mother if she could learn to make music with the piano.
“Certainly not,” Mrs. Trommler replied. “There are more important things for a young girl to be learning and piano lessons cost money!”
“But then why do we have a piano if no one can play it?” Eda asked.
“All well to do families have a piano. It’s just proper.”
And that was that. Although Eda continued to beg for piano lessons, or at least music books every few months for the next several years, she probably would have had more success training a cat to fetch. Once Mrs. Trommler’s mind was made up about something, it was impossible for anyone to change it. The Victorian furniture in the Trommler home had not changed or even been rearranged for as long as Eda could remember. Even her mother’s hair hadn’t budged- the same slick knot, day after day, usually covered by one of the many hats she collected. As Mrs. Trommler aged, her hats became more and more outrageous, as though she wanted desperately to distract prying eyes from the graying hair beneath.”
This paragraph is mine by the way, so don’t run off and steal it please. Not that you’d want to, but y’know.