Friday, June 6, 2014

Finished the First Draft of a New Novel

I completed yesterday the first draft of my new novel, New York Sonata, and have already set up a page for it on this blog as well as on my website.

The idea for the novel came to me last fall while attending a piano recital at Mannes.  The program featured only one work, the Concord Sonata by Charles Ives, an American composer whose musical ideas were so advanced that his work was rarely if ever performed during his own lifetime.  Before the performance began, the chair of the school's piano department gave a brief introduction to the composer and read selections from his Essays Before a Sonata.  One remark particularly caught my attention; that was to the effect that fame, when it finally came to Ives, came "too late."  As I listened to the sonata, I realized that this had necessarily been so.  Any artist whose work is fifty years ahead of his own time (and Ives was already independently experimenting at the turn of the twentieth century with such modernist concepts as polytonality, tone clusters and stereophony) always risks the possibility that his genius will remain unrecognized until long after his death.  I then conceived of writing a story in which a failed composer, now an old man scraping out a living as a piano teacher, is "discovered" and provided assistance by a young family member, himself a promising music student.  That idea formed the basis of the present story.

Now that I've finished writing the first draft of the complete novel, I intend to put it aside for the summer while I work on other projects and enjoy the warm weather.  As I have no editor or proofreader to assist me in my work, I think the lapse of several months will allow me to return to my writing with fresh eyes and facilitate the completion of a final draft.  I am then planning to publish the finished work as an ebook in the late autumn.  Although I realize it's rather unlikely that any literary first novel will become a bestseller, I am nevertheless hopeful that the book will serve as a showcase for my writing skills and will be read by at least a few individuals, particularly those with an interest in classical music.