S1:E1 “Lock Her Up” is the first “episode” in my new series of hybrid fiction and music at Corporeal Writing. Think Victorian gothic meets 45 meets broody Russian classical plus romance: “The first three notes tell you everything. Two hands, four grim octaves, played in fortissimo. Not so much a melody as a warning…”
Serial fiction? You will see these characters again.
Music? Played by me, best as I can (linked at the bottom of the piece).
This new project was prompted by the question: “What would happen if we stopped pretending we’re OK? How would we spend our days?” I’ve also been playing around with Victorian gothic serial novels, a form that fostered “digressive literary wandering” at a time when society was increasingly organized around capitalism and the rise of the middle class. Serial fiction often portrayed everyday life as imperfect and supernaturally surreal. Plot lines developed more organically than traditional novels as a result of increased reader engagement and participation as the series evolved.
“We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.” – Sadie Dunhill
“The first three notes tell you everything. Two hands, four grim octaves, played in fortissimo. Not so much a melody as a warning.
I’ve only just begun the seventh measure when the water starts. A fat drop bounces off the piano lid and I lean forward, feeling it’s a sign – at last, I have managed to play each note with such accuracy and purity that something has been moved. The next drop slips between F and G, followed by two more drops in quick succession.
I remove my glasses and look up.
An ancient crack runs at a diagonal across the ceiling, splintering on its way to the chandelier. Back along the crack, water pools from a quarter-sized patch of plaster above the piano.
Upstairs, to the most obvious origin of the leak. The bathroom tiles are the same shade of avocado they were when I inherited them, dry as I left them this morning, so the next obvious place – yes, there, beneath the vanity. The leak drips in soft, regular intervals from the pipe beneath the sink, a dank place I’ve never faced in all this time. I jiggle at the hot water handle, then the cold, poke around the faucet, push my finger inside the old spigot.
The name for the thing that could fix it. I don’t know, a wrench? A plier? A socket? In all that’s wretched about this year, there’s been nothing like this…”
These Days, Corporeal Clamor.
You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.
Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.
Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.
You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.
Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.
You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.
The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.
Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.
PO Box 27771