Today’s blog post is a guest blog post by author Ann Ireland.
Snap open the case and lift out the guitar from its velvet coffin. Smell of varnished spruce and rosewood. Succulent. Full of promise. I used to play classical guitar, as a kid. I am not a kid now.
Hauling out a sheaf of dusty music, I give it a go, but my fingers are spongy and they don’t obey. Squint at the opening lines of Bach’s first cello suite arranged for guitar. Did I ever play this piece?
This scene took place a dozen years ago. I could have tossed the instrument back in the closet for another decade or two – but I didn’t. Instead I signed up for lessons with Steve Thachuk, a top flight guitarist, fresh out of Eastman. I re-learned the Bach and a bunch of other pieces and spent an hour or two most days earnestly plink-plinking in my studio. I attended master classes (as observer), went to hear every recital in town, and hung around an international guitar competition for a weekend. Yet I never played in front of anyone – except Steve. Too shy. Too afraid I’d mess up.
I got the idea of a woman, approximately my middle- age, who would enter an international music competition. She would be the Me that wasn’t, with talent to burn and bravado. I called her Lucy.
Should Lucy win, she’d be catapulted into a career of recitals, recording contracts and teaching master classes. She’d blow some of the younger competitors out of the water.
Or would she? I hadn’t decided yet.
Time to start writing, to find out.
Lucy began to live inside a novel that I called The Blue Guitar.
Ann Ireland is the author of A Certain Mr. Takahashi (winner of the Seal First Novel Award), The Instructor (shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award), and Exile (shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize). She lives in Toronto.