rim shots

photo by Jon Hammond

photo by Jon Hammond

Though my son is a jazz musician, I have no feel for it or knowledge of  it except the most basic. I’m working on a new book. A man I intended as a minor character is a jazz musician. I suddenly find him becoming very insistent.  This happens uncomfortably often – I remember my mother telling me that people in a book do what they want, and become who they want, and it is not always in the writer’s control. I thought she was quite mad. But in Kashmir Blues, (Westland/Tranquebar June 2010), Leon, one of the main characters, did take over the book, and there wasn’t much I could do about it, other than follow where he lead, and it was not always easy, and rarely safe. I get what she meant now – that once the person comes to life, at least in the book, you can’t make him or her be something they are not. I must sound quite mad too, now that I think about it!

So in this new book, the Jazz musician is getting loud and insists I listen. I feel I should at least know who he is and what moves him, even if it doesn’t move me. I’m listening to more jazz when I write, and am try to catch live performances when I can. Was at a jazz cafe recently. The superior faculty of the FSU jazz department were there, doing what they do best. And what I found out about myself-and-jazz was that – as long as the drummer thwacks enough of those delicious rim shots into a tune, I’m happy. Leon Anderson did not disappoint me that night. (For those of you who don’t know, rim shots have nothing at all to do with sex or alcohol…)

When I told my son about my self-discovery, he just laughed and said “you’re cheap.” I hope so – if he means I get complete happiness from simple but perfect moments, that can’t be a bad thing!

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