Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The composer of music


Sensuous. (Adj.) Of, relating to, or derived from the senses.
Appealing to or gratifying the senses.

I adore sensuous writing, whether it is Lawrence Durrell’s vibrantly visual Mediterranean shores, or tales seductively layered with the textures of silk and fur and crystal-brittleness like Fitzgerald’s, or the soot-encrusted stenches and sounds of Dickens’ London. When I read, I want to feel I am in the book, experiencing the spirit of a place, fully immersed in scents and tastes and sights.

But how exactly do you conjure the sound of piano music, or the fragrance of lavender from words on a page? It seems to me that this is where books really engage the partnership between writer and reader. Because success or otherwise is dependent on the writer studding the prose with enticement enough for the reader to draw on his or her own sensuous memory bank to enrich the story.

Yet even as we reach into our own imaginary reserves of touch and smell and taste, we know that we all react differently to external stimuli. Some people are repelled by the aroma of meat cooking, for example, or actively dislike the sound of a certain musical instrument. Studies have shown that we don’t even all see the same shade of colour in a fixed object. Which, I’m sure, is part of the reason why different books are magical for different readers, but never magical for all.

The joy of film is that it gives a fixed view of a place and characters. The drawback is that these images might not chime with the pictures a reader has already constructed. But it can carry a soundtrack the writer will never be able to pin down in words.

So with that in mind, here are some atmospheric scenes from The Lantern, made (just for fun!) last summer with the help of old friends. Steve Eaton Evans is a playwright and teacher; he and his equally talented wife Jane have run a theatre company, and all three of their sons have acted professionally. Watch out for Jake Evans, the young man with the knife at the lamp-lit table: serious star quality.

And the haunting piano music is written and played by my husband Rob. It captures beautifully the romantic, yearning quality of the pieces that Dom composes, in the book. Sometimes, only sound itself will do.


For a little more background about how we came to Provence, you can click here to The Hungry Writer blog where poet, writer and tutor Lynne Rees invited me to write a guest post this week.

27 comments:

✿ ♥ France ✿ ✿ said...

COUCOU j'adore ta photo merci .
NON mais je suis déjà restée en Angleterre et non merci le climat.
VIte je file
BISOU

Debra Ann Elliott said...

I love this post.... thanks for stopping by Writing with Debra

Bunched Undies said...

That's beautiful Deborah, thank you. Loved the music. My wife is an excellent pianist as well. Isn't it great to have a musician in the family?

RICHARD MOISAN said...

Merci Deborah pour cette jolie musique sur ce paysage provençal. C'est calme, ça fait rêver, ça fait du bien.
Bon après-midi!

Lynne Rees said...

Beautiful, Deborah.

Is it me or are there more than the usual amount of expected coincidences in our lives: houses in Kent, houses in Provence, bleu lavande volets, husband who plays the piano, husband whose name is the same as mine... my god, we could be related!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Oh, wow! This was EXQUISITE! The images were gorgeous and the music was just divine! You have a VERY talented hubby. Looking forward to reading the book!!! :)

vanessafrance said...

Lovely music. What a talented pair you are! I adore piano music and play (badly) myself.

I loved the poetic opening to The Lantern in your last post. But, as you say, sometimes only the real thing will do, especially when it comes to music.

la fourchette said...

This was lovely, Deborah. From the first thing that caught my eye in the post update list (Laurence Durrell...one of my all-time faves!) to the intrigue of a 'film trailer' - not to mention the thought-provoking notion of how to get sensual material in the word. There just seemed to be one hook after another here. And I enjoyed every single one of them. The music is delicious. The filming a visual treat and there is one shot of the light of the sunset (or so it seemed) hitting a step face at the porch that made me catch my breath!

Hello to you from a very rainy, soggy, dark and windy Provence.

Leovi said...

That is the great wealth of books in front of a movie, that stimulate the reader's imagination. The same object, sound, taste, character or situation is imagined differently by each reader, which makes the book immensely wealthy. So the book is always better than the movie. The book we imagine ourselves, the film director. Sensory memory of the reader clearly plays an important role. I, for example, when a musical piece the look on the internet and listen to thinking of the events described and then reread it again to remember the music. The same happens when a painting.

McGuffy Ann said...

What a lovely addition to my day! Thanks!

Gabby A. Phillips said...

Hi, Deborah. Thank you so much for your comment. You're right; we just have to keep writing, and I will. I'm not giving up!

Your blog is beautiful, by the way. I can't wait to see what else you have in store! I'm following you via Blogger and Networked Blogs. Happy writing!

Janel said...

I love the pictures and music in the video. Also I'm so happy to see that interview. What a great blog she has too!

R Niranjan Das said...

Beautiful. You have a wonderful blog. Keep writing.

www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

versus said...

Musique sereine pour une maison calme, où la pierre nous ouvre ses arêtes de lumière. L' oeil du Sud y est pour quelque chose, c' est certain !
Bonne soirée !

treesandink said...

Your husband did a wonderful job on the music! Absolutely beautiful!

Lisa Erin said...

Lovely...transportive...thank you for sharing that.

Leovi said...

Of course it is. For me it is an honor and I am very happy that you choose a picture of me. You have my permission. A greeting.

LESAPEA MUSINGS said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, I feel my day has been enriched by you. your husband's music is divine. I am also here to return the follow. I look forward to reading more of your post and yor book as well.

Lisa @ Lesapea xx

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Sensuous is always a word which comes up when I read your blog Deborah.......the words and images complement each other so well.

And your husband's music is beautiful.

Thank you!

le blÖg d'Ötli said...

La belle conjugaison des sens et des perceptions qu'ils permettent décrite par l'auteur et reçue par le lecteur relève, il me semble, de la figure rhétorique de l'ellipse... Cette même ellipse, faite en quelque sorte inconsciemment par le lecteur, qui a été décrite pour ce qui relève de la bande dessinée, se produit de la même façon entre les pensées écrites de l'auteur et celles de son lecteur.

Cathy K said...

Tres bon mon ami...

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I am mesmerized by the haunting music and visuals... Your husband has written (and played) an amazing lyrical melody with a subtle recurring theme. This does it for me. I am hungry for more from you both.

Bises,
G

KY Warrior Librarian said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a follower. Most especially because it led me here to your wonderful blog. Loved the piano music and the calming and peaceful feel to your blog. It will be a joy to keep up with.

joanny said...

When ever I read a book I marvel at the way in which the author expresses him or herself in words.
Words rich in color and sound are as difficult to use as bold and gaudy colors in a dress, An elegant woman knows not to over dress.

Here I found words rich and warm and elegant and as beautiful to the mind as the piano music is to the ear.

Have a lovely week end.
Joanny

✿ ♥ Françoise ✿ ✿ said...

bisou et merci de ton passage

Kiki aka Victoria said...

Yay Deborah...that was so beautifully captivating...and bravo..gorgeous..Rob is wonderful on piano..beautiful music..I can so appreciate it also having been trained classically at a young age..beautiful beautiful! Gorgeous video...beautiful sceneries and imagery...WOW!
Shine on..thanks for sharing this magic!
Victoria~

My SINFONIA said...

That was hauntingly beautiful.

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