Inspired by my newest hero, Mari Malcolm, in a valedictory mood on my last day here in the Chamber prior to my release and launch back to Brooklyn, and feeling my spectacular mother deserves her own dedicated shout-out blog-entry, I hereby inscribe Ann Phillips on my list of brilliant, self-sacrificing artistes. In her case, it’s toil behind the scenes, moving people and money for a powerful act of re-creation. If you feel like doing a mitzvah in this season, look into the restoration of the synagogue in Virginia, Minnesota. And, think of it this way, music-loving non-Jews: neighborhood hero Bob Dylan’s family probably worshipped there at some point. His mom and my grandmother used to make noodle-kugel together, I’m told.
There’s an element of re-creation in novel writing, now and then. Nabokov mentioned that he often loaned items from his past for his characters to use--an ashtray here, some wallpaper there. They became real again on the page, even as they died a little in his own memory. I wonder what will happen to the music I love that I put in this novel. I hope I didn’t break something, or detach it from my own memory to insert it into a character’s. If I did, in exchange, I was able, like Dr. Frankenstein, to take a lifetime of music listening and loving, melt it all down, pull parts of this and that, and bring to life my own musician. Cait O’Dwyer, the singer in the story, sings fictional music in fictional locations, and yet, I’d swear I can hear it and see her. I hope she sticks around with me for a while. Dear God, five days of isolation here on the Amazon campus seems to have induced some hallucinations. (Speaking of which: poor Leslie. I was afraid something like this was going to happen at the end.)
I’m hitting the road to various points soon, with some great musicians in tow. I hope some of you might stop by and say hello in what we call “in person.” Or, please stop by my regular lodgings at www.arthurphillips.info if the mood hits, and we can maintain an appropriately virtual relationship.
Well, Tom has just opened the hatch, so I’m on my way now. Thanks for having me for the week. (At least, I think that’s Tom; they’re all wearing those bio-hazmat suits for some reason.)