Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday Scribbling #114: My Nights


Excerpt from an unpublished novel, Scarred Angels:

Into this expectant quiet, a white hand set a clear drink down in front of me.

“I’m sorry, I -

“It’s tonic, Mr. Bollinger.” The voice was Agnes Fisher’s. She sat down beside me. “Believe me, I know the routine.”

I noticed she had a drink like mine. She looked around the room and then back at me.

“Chapel time,” she said. She smiled.

“You come here often?”

“Pops’ last set? Not nearly as often as I should.”

“You just missed Daltry and the others. You know something they don’t?”

“Oh, I used to duck out with them, but one night Mary talked me into staying. It took some getting used to, my ears were only open to the familiar, but then after awhile it was like a trap door opened and I fell into another world. You get inside that place and Pops’ music starts to make a whole lot of sense.”

“How do you get there?” I said.

Before she had a chance to say anything, the lights went out.

Out of the darkness, Mary’s voice came, thin as a whisper, like a soft breeze growing, an insinuation of air deep within a dark cave. In time, the sound of her voice was like a bird soaring, breaking free, and then suddenly lost to the syncopation of the bass, a heartbeat, a sound that grew inside my head. The sax player had switched from tenor to soprano, a snake charmer now, haunting, a song of love rising out of a desert, taking the heartbeat of the bass and interweaving with Mary’s whisper as it rose from darkness again, preparing the way for the piano that came like an ocean heard first in the distance and then roaring, pounding surf. For an hour and a half, I was lost. I never found Agnes Fisher’s trap door, but I heard the music like some voice from deep within me.

There was a smattering of applause when the music ended, not, I think, from a lack of appreciation, but from a fullness. We were too transported to come back to the simple matter of clapping hands. The impact was in our faces.

Pops leaned into his microphone and whispered, “Go home, now. It’s bedtime.” None of us moved.

After another few minutes, the room began to stir. Agnes Fisher touched my forearm and said, “Can I give you a ride home?”

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12 Comments:

Blogger San said...

Gorgeous, languorous mood-setting.

Something tells me the narrator may find Agnes Fisher's trapdoor yet, and not in the club. Or will she locate his? That snake-charmin' sax pullin' that oceanful of feeling from the piano--waves will crash and spring open somebody's lock.

3:44 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

San: Oh, there are trapdoors found aplenty, and exits and returns: plenty of Dante's dark woods along the way.

Good to see you, before we are off to the hinterlands of Kingsville, TX. Mrs Baby and friends are conducting a week-long arts camp: I am the babysitter for Mr Baby and his amigo, son of the other art-ing friends.

I'll likely be out of Blogtopia until next weekend.

3:54 PM  
Blogger alister said...

Oh man what to say? You know I look for combinations of words that make me squirm they’re so good? Well I found a bunch here—white hand clear drink, an insinuation of air, too transported to come back to the simple matter… Oh you’re good, alright. Your education wasn’t wasted but was only a fraction of the soul it takes. And who isn’t moved by pictures? You chose the perfect one to set the mood for this. Only good from me here. Thanks for the peek into Scarred Angels :-)

5:52 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thanks for the good words, Miss A. When I wrote this fourteen years ago, I had to "unlearn" a lot of what I thought would go into my writing: this was a much simpler, clearer voice that those of the authors I was drawn to: no Pynchon, no Burgess, no Nabokov, no Padgett Powell here. It was an important portal to navigate.

By the way, if you've not discovered Padgett Powell or Barry Hannah for their sheer wicked mirth, then put em on your list. A Woman Named Drown for PP (or the Typical or Aliens of Affection short story collections); The Tennis Handsome for BH.

Peace/out: the motel down here in Hinter's got a business office with internet access. What's blogging if it ain't bidness, right?

9:43 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

powerful, your story transported me, I could hear the music, feel the night. You have quite a way with words.

cheers to a great week!

11:17 PM  
Blogger alister said...

Oh thankya geezus! I was over half certain the hefty hole that’d be left here for a whole week of Hinterland happenings would be too huge a hardship to handle. Bloggin’s bidness, shor ‘nuf!
Thank you for the PP and BH recommendations! I’ve added them to my list of sights and sounds to partake of before I die, along with your Top 15 movies list that you provided Lee amidst the SJP uproar. I’ve ordered some extra brain cells, so I should be good ;-)

1:21 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

If you ever publish it, do send me the book for reviewing!!

LOL!

nocturnal

PS: I don't suppose you know that I have a book blog?

6:24 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Gee, Paschal! I liked the feel of that bit of writing. You could tell how much you love music and it was done with a beautifully descriptive paintbrush. I hope you'll put up more of this bit of your writing. :)

Have fun in Javalinaville and be safe on the way down and back.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

9:00 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thanks for the words, Lee. I wrote Scarred Angels fourteen years while living in New Orleans. Among the many things that the novel was, it was also a love letter to the home town I'd been away from for, at that time, seventeen years. It took another eight years before I finally made it back. The novel draws on my love of jazz, as well as both my parents' early involvement in the music business in San Antonio, back in the 1950s.

1:53 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Tammie Lee.

1:54 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Miss Alister: I believe that PP and BH will right up your alley.

1:56 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thanks for stopping in, gautami tripathy: I'm happy to send any and all things published your way. Now, I've just got to get that published part of things down. I will spend some time at your book blog, too. Thanks for the tip. Peace.

1:58 PM  

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