At the moment I’m busy working on The Green Table, a story I wrote some years ago for older children. I’m re-writing it as an adult novel and this has already proved to me a more involving and engrossing task than I anticipated, requiring me to go deeper as I veer away from the initial dance story into exploring love – what we love, how we love, the perils of mis-placed love. Taking its working title from Kurt Jooss’ famous ballet created in 1932, The GreenTable is set during the Nazi Occupation of The Netherlands, with particular
emphasis on the Nazis’ oppression of the arts. I need to write about dance and the experience of dancing in a way that serves the narrative but also brings to life dance theatre at the time, as well as the emotional and physical experience of dancing. How to do this for a reader who may have no knowledge of the language of dance is something I’m working with. The chapter I’m now immersed in requires me to imagine and describe a ballet of the period, the experience of dancing a part in it, as well as very damning newspaper review
written through the eyes of a Nazi sympathiser. It’s good to return to my dance history books as I research and write.
At the same time I’m reading Carson McCullers’ marvellous book The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and last night came across the most wonderful passage describing a young girl’s experience of listening to Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony. Mick Kelly has no knowledge of music – her response is raw and overwhelming. This is only a paragraph from a whole page describing her feelings. Wonderful writing...awesome in the best sense of the word.
This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night. In the hot sun and in the dark with all the plans and feelings. This music was her—the real plain her...This music did not take a long time or a short time. It did not have anything to do with time going by at all. She sat with her arms around her legs, biting her salty knee very hard. The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen... Now that it was over there was only her heart beating like a rabbit and this terrible hurt.
Tricia Durdey dances, writes, and teaches Pilates.