Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"How can a blind multitude carry out for itself so great and difficult an enterprise as a system of legislation?"

Earlier today I was gently chiding a fellow author about procrastinating on her revisions to a novel. Later it occurred to me that I have been putting off work on two of my own novels. So tonight, I swear to Zoroaster or whomever, I'll type up my final changes to The Astrologer and begin to mark up my clever-clever working print of Cocke & Bull. Perhaps, if I remember, I'll post a photo of the clever-clever working print. It's not just clever, it's clever-clever. I have a couple of weeks worth of stuff to do to that particular book, and that stuff ain't writing itself while I screw around with other projects. Even I know that.

But what fun the other projects are! The stuff I'm doing tracking down memories of my earliest childhood is really good, and has given me strong and interesting ideas about a future novel. The reading I'm doing about the 18th century is also sparking a lot of ideas. The Dittersdorf autobiography is a hoot and a half, and he relates long dialogues with characters who'll appear in my own novel. Fabulous, oh thank you internets! I'm also reading history and philosophy of the era, and that's given me some good and fun ideas for the narrative. Now I know that I'll have Marie Antoinette discussing Rousseau, mostly through quoting indignantly out of context. ("These peasants love to quote their Rousseau, but has any one of them read him? I do not think they have, for Rousseau says right here that the people 'must be compelled to bring their wills into conformity.' Only a king can compel a rabble. Anyone can see that.") Great stuff, that'll be. I promise. The Mozart chapters will be similarly hi-larious.

I've also been delving into the biographies of Mr Haydn's retinue, and the story/plot is getting both weirder and more solid. I need to investigate Bohemian anarchists at some point. The only real problem I'm having is finding sources relating to Haydn's wife (no, not Boccerini, you). I'll keep looking, though. And of course when all else fails, I'm a fiction writer, so I can fill in the gaps with acts of imagination. I do like to have some ideas about the historical truths to push against, though. I think of factual history as sort of a dance partner, but one who never ever gets to lead.


  1. Hey, I got one for you. Like you need more to read - but this one is very short.

    It's Mozart's Journey to Prague (1856), a novella by Eduard Mörike about - see title. It is a light, perhaps even joyous piece of work. Perhaps relevant to your current project.

    Mörike was otherwise an outstanding lyric poet.

  2. The more the merrier, and joyous would be the tone I want for the Mozart passages. I'll have a look for this, thanks awfully.

    You don't know of any autobiographies of Parisians written during the Revolution, do you? Either side of the Revolution would do.

  3. During, no, no I do not. Chateaubriand's enormous Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe covers the period was not begun, much less completed, until much later.

  4. I guess written during the Revolution is too limiting. But covering the Revolution is excellent.

    Having done some reading about the Mörike, I've ordered a copy. Even if I can't use it, it looks quite fine.