NaNo started at 12:01 last night and, like a child, I waited for the magic gun to go off, which it did -- the word counter suddenly appeared on the site, I was now live! -- too bad it is so busy, you can hardly access it! And the widget here doesn't seem to know what it's doing, either.
I wrote for an hour before bed, and rose early this morning. I am now past my word goal by one word, but have not completed the scene/chapter I'm in, so I may do more writing later tonight.
That's if I don't topple over first.
When I write, I get so tense, so involved in my world, so focused, it feels like some spring in my neck is going to go off with a mighty sproing! and all my brains will fall out with it.
It's very chilly outside -- overcast, perfect weather for writing and sleeping. Hah!
I managed to do a laundry today. I try to stand up often and walk around for a bit before returning to the screen. I ate a good breakfast, too.
But, the bottom line is, I am aching and exhausted. I will not even think about tomorrow.
For now, more writing -- buy hey -- word count is currently: 1,693 -- not shabby at all.
Here's what I have done thus far:
Started November 1, 2010
THE SCARF DANCE Copyright 2010 Carol Krenz All Rights Reserved.
Anna Garber popped a roasted chestnut into her mouth and chewed thoughtfully. What to do…what to do – for here was a sublime autumn afternoon in the open-air market of the Potsdamer Platz, brimming with harvest excitement, with aromas and colours that bled one into the other until they overwhelmed her.
Herr Kroeger’s pomegranates looked even larger than last year’s; some, he’d cut in half, their whitish membranes bursting juice that stained his straw baskets ruby.
Fiery squashes, deeply purpled Corinthian grapes and branches of yellow-orange bittersweet lined the stalls. And over there, next to the wine merchant, was the farmer, Karl, from Pankow, who had promised to bring in his dahlias at the height of bloom for her to see. Red, fuchsia, magenta, orange…she closed her eyes fearing she might die from a surfeit of beauty.
When she opened them again, it was to stare at the sky, crystal blue, the colour of Swiss topaz. A lemon-scented breeze happened by, rasping her lips and cheeks with the caress of an impatient lover, she decided, even though she had never once been kissed.
Somewhere a clock chimed the quarter hour. She could still make her lesson on time if she hurried. The question as to what to do was suddenly decided when Karl handed her two dahlias and refused payment because she was, in his words, “more beautiful than any flower in the market.” She neither blushed nor stammered because Karl was old enough to be her grandfather. And she thanked her luck because she had no money left in her pockets. Now, as she clutched the blazing dahlias, she knew she could have the best of both worlds – she could bring autumn with her and give it to the Kappelmeister.
Dashing across the square toward the Lennestrasse, ringing the bell at Number 41, she raced to the third landing in time to fling herself, flushed and breathless, onto the Kapellmeister’s couch just as the clock struck two. His forthcoming entrance into the music room would be theatrical as always and unpredictable since no two were ever alike. He might burst through the door carrying a plate of half-eaten pears rolling over stray toast crumbs, or a cup and saucer listing like a shipwreck. Would there be a large sheaf of music flapping under his arm, a box of Italian chocolates?
His wardrobe was equally surprising wherein his collar tips were seldom pointed up or down simultaneously, and if he wore his burgundy dressing gown, his Paisley ascot was hastily tied and lay flat and deflated at his throat.
Anna took great delight in the consistency of his inconsistencies, something about which he seemed blithely unaware for no one was more startled than he when teacups toppled, pears tumbled or he forgot the day of the week.
He seemed amazed every time he greeted her. “Why, Anna,” he’d enthuse, “how lovely to see you!” as though it had been ages since their last visit, when in fact, hours was more like it – she’d been his student for three years. But his obvious glee and revolving state of perplexity were entirely genuine. As he explained it, “I have only so much room in my head, which is most days stuffed with musical scores and their refusal to quiet down until I have mastered them.”
Today brought surprises of a different kind altogether. Kappelmeister Gustav Hermann strode through the door ten minutes late, wearing a black top coat, breathless from the outdoors, his cream-puff cheeks tinged pink. He nodded at her. “Have you had your tea, yet?”
She was seated at the piano playing Schubert’s Sonata in D, and shook her head over the rolling fortissimo.
“Good,” he said rubbing his hands together, “we’ll have tea. We’ll talk.” He pulled the sash cord by the windows and looked out onto the street as Anna’s fingers thundered on.
“I brought dahlias,” she said. “For you.”
He twirled around and spotted them, aflame in vermillion and fuchsia, lying on the high gleam of ebony wood of the Steinway. “Delightful,” he said. “And I brought you something, too. A box of caramels--and a man, in that order.”
She stopped playing. Helga came in, set down a large tea tray, and whisked the flowers off to a pot of water. “What did you say?”
The Kappelmeister’s eyes exuded excitement and mischief. “You heard me the first time. Now, don’t look so worried, Anna. He isn’t due to arrive for at least half an hour – and we have so much to discuss. Come…come over to the table and eat something.”
She took her seat and poured the tea while he quickly buttered slices of cake. He piled a plate with sandwiches and petit fours and handed it to her. “You eat, I’ll talk.” Which wasn’t entirely true because he was hungry and swallowed his sandwiches whole. She sipped quietly, a swell of butterflies filling her stomach.
“It would seem we are both to be congratulated,” he said at length. “I have just concluded a deal with the impresario Wolff; you are now looking at the head Kappelmeister of the new Berliner Philharmoniker, for at least one year, maybe longer--”
Anna clapped in delight.
“--and, my dear, that is not all. First, we seem to have launched a successful campaign for Bulow – he is rumored to be considering a permanent position here, as early as ’87, at which time, I will act as his second. Further, I received word this morning that Tchaikovsky accepts my invitation to come – when – we do not know, but it is a huge feather in my cap, as I wrote ceaselessly to him last winter. As such, my fortunes have doubled.”
Anna was thrilled. “Herr Hermann, this is so sudden, so wonderful for you. It couldn’t happen to a better man, a better teacher.” She patted his hand, then, faltered. “I suppose this means no more lessons?”
The Kappelmeister’s eyes twinkled as he emptied his teacup and set it down. “Ach, Anna, mein Anna. How innocent it is. Why must you be so coy?”
“I don’t know what you mean. I am never coy, but now, I am embarrassed. Really, what do you mean?”
He was staring at her, his round pudgy eyes alight with affection, almost wistful. “Anna, my dear. It is quite simple. You do not need lessons. You should be teaching the world. Do you not know this? Does no one ever tell you that you are a musical genius at home?”
She choked on her sandwich as tears stung her eyes. He looked surprised. “Ah, well,” he said quickly, “I suppose no one wants you to suffer a swollen head. Or slack off from practice. Do you think that’s it?”
She nodded. And, she was lying. There was no chance of her ever getting a swelled head.
“Well, like it or not, a prodigy is what you are. An accomplished virtuoso…which brings me to the second piece of news. It is time you made your debut. You will give a recital in exactly seven months. Congratulations are in order, my dear child. It has all been arranged. I won’t have you performing at the hall on the Bernburger Strasse, it is not fit for such an intimate recital. So, Clara Selinger has offered us her salon and then a private party at your home.”
Anna shook her head, put her hands over her ears. “Please, stop, please! You are going too fast. I can’t listen to anymore. It’s too much.”
He rose and walked to the piano where he’d placed the box of caramels. He helped himself, chewing silently. She knew what he was doing… waiting until his temperamental student behaved. “Herr Kappelmeister? You said, ‘offered us’ – who is ‘us’ – you and me?”
Now he was the coy one, for he stared at her like a Cheshire cat, and deliberately popped another caramel into his mouth. He would make her beg, break her resistance.
“Please, won’t you tell me?”
“Will you listen, now?”
“The ‘us’ is your father and me. I saw him this morning to iron out the details. Anna, he is thrilled.”
“Really? Thrilled?” Her heart leapt with excitement.
“Of course, Anna. Why, whatever could you possibly be thinking? Why do you suppose you came here to study with me? Do you think I take on babies? I only have two students. It has always been your father’s dream that you achieve this success, and why? Because he believes in you and your talent.”
This time when she edged toward tears he didn’t try to stop her. She soon dabbed her eyes with her napkin. “Would you like to hear an imitation of my father?” she asked in a mischievous chirp. She puffed out her chest, straightened her shoulders, frowned deeply and intoned, “Plaaay, Anna, plaaay!”
The Kappelmeister smiled briefly. “Then you are willing to perform?”
“And you will do as you are told?”
“I’m quite serious--”
“Yes, I know.”
“Then, you will have a caramel…?”
Moments later, when the dahlias were sitting brightly in a brown jar on the piano, the Kappelmeister spoke of Franz Liszt.
“It’s a recital in two parts,” he explained
“But—he is so complex, so terribly difficult,” she cried.
“Tut-tut-tut-tut. Not only will you play Liszt, you will play his Hungarian Rhapsodies. You will tackle the most complex of the complex as if it were as natural as breathing and you will sit tall and make the keys weep with longing for the Motherland.”
She chewed her lip. “What if I cannot do it?”
“Anna, listen to me. I will be coaching and rehearsing you. I will not allow a pupil of mine to make a fool of herself, so you must trust me. You will stagger the audience, I assure you.”
“I will do my best, I promise.”
“Good—and now we discuss the second part. And for that, we need the man I told you about.”