During my OU Creative Writing course in 2018-19, I wrote a short story about a cello player. I then developed the short story into a novella.
Here is a short section of prose that I shared with my writing group as a work in progress. It appears in modified form in the final text.
I closed my eyes and listened to the music, the ebb and flow of the notes washing over me. I found it difficult not to drift off into my own world of thoughts. I opened my eyes again and looked at the musicians, each in their world creating their part of the symphony, each note so brief, so seemingly insignificant in itself, but a vital part of the ocean that rose and fell, stormed and soothed, as we listened in the hushed hall. I focused on Lenni, absorbed in the instrument she held against her body, cutting such a distinctive figure with her fiery red hair, the intensity of her concentration dilating every pore of her being, the swift and sure movement of her fingers, the rhythm of her elbow working the bow. Barbara Hepworth talked about how her right hand was mechanical, doing the work, while her left hand was the one that was feeling into the shape of her sculptures. I wondered if that’s how it was for Lenni, holding and synthesizing two competing sides of her consciousness. Her right hand managed the pace, the breaths you might take on your journey – long and measured, or short and hurried – timing the emotion of the piece. Her left hand meanwhile created the narrative of melody, fingered the story that was weaving in and out with the other instruments, the notes sometimes blending, sometimes in counterpoint, sometimes lost in the noise of the crowded stage, other times distinct in solo voice.
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