Into The Wilderness: Author's Notes
Writing Into The Wilderness
After spending five years researching and writing Elegy for a Girl, the first draft of Into the Wilderness just sang out of me. Elegy is a dark, tragic, novel, so it was a delight to take Percy Mendell, a minor character in that novel, and write a love story about him, especially once Rose Mayer walked into my imagination.
Learning to play piano
Life sometimes imitates art. I decided that if Percy could give a piano recital for his birthday, so could I. I'd taken piano lessons as a child and again, on and off, in my forties. I always had splendid, passionate teachers and I never practiced enough, but committing to a recital in celebration of my forty-ninth birthday gave me a goal. On a Sunday afternoon one February, about twenty-five friends listened to me play Bach's Invention Number One (the same piece as Percy); Schumann's Traumerei; and Mozart's Fantasie, K. 397. For an encore, I played the Bach again. My audience would have listened to me play scales and still cheered.
In recent years, both time pressures and hand troubles have prevented me from playing regularly, but the piano sits in the living room and beckons.
Marlboro Music Festival and the Guarneri Quartet
In the early 1980's, when I lived in New York City, I heard the Guarneri Quartet play the Beethoven quartets at the Grace Raney Rodgers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had stage seating, right behind Arnold Steinhardt, the first violinist, which gave me a great view of Michael Tree and David Soyer, the violist and cellist.
I first attended the Marlboro Music Festival in 1985, when a friend from Chicago came to visit. I've been back twice since, but summer is a busy time in Vermont. Happily, musicians from Marlboro give concerts in Brattleboro over the winter.