Friday, January 19, 2007


Friday has been a good day for a long time, not because it's the last day of the work week but because it's the first day of my writing week when I'm teaching. And now it's also the day of my piano lesson, which I always look forward to. I think the next thing I'm going to tackle on my own is Stormy Weather, an arrangement of which I have in a music book, that looks doable at this stage (i.e. slow), and upon which I can add frills once I get it down. I like to have another piano project other than the stuff we do in class.

I spent a lot of time during office hours yesterday taking notes on the Cold War, Berlin Wall, story. I think I have something. I'm combining two personal experiences -- the buddy who went ape when he got extended during the Berlin crisis, the other buddy who defected to East Germany with a lady spy -- and now I'm adding a third, the Nazis underbrush still in Germany in the early sixties. In my experience, it worked this way.

The German police made a last stop at a gasthaus near our base about 10p.m. After they were gone, the owner went to the jukebox and put on several banned Nazis marching songs! The local farmers who frequented the place really got off on that. Moreover, another buddy of mine had put several Hitler speeches to memory, and he'd stand up on a table and recite them with great vigor, to great applause, and the German farmers bought us beer all night long. We thought it was a hoot at the time. Sounds totally frightening to me now. At any rate, in my story there will be a secret Nazis club involved in this, which can add an element of danger after the war alert goes into effect.

So three personal experiences serve as the foundation of this story. Interesting how we borrow from our lives and use experience like putty to shape a story. What I end up with will have nothing to do on the surface with what really happened, and yet it begins with, and is based on, autobiographical memories. What remains is the emotional content of the experience.

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