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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music was released in 1965. I remember the first time I saw it, I had the feeling I had been swooped up and gently placed on a mountaintop in the Austrian Alps. The breathtaking panorama of mountain, valley and sky never fail to move me.. I was so deeply touched by the movie, that I sought out Marie Von Trapp’s book describing her family’s escape from Nazi-occupied Austria. Until I was in my teens, I did not fully understand the political sub-text of the escape. About then, the love story was transformed into a delicately crafted political journal. Regardless of the message, I was always enthralled with the music. In 1966, if you happened to drive by my house on River Road in Piscataway, New Jersey, you might have found me sitting on one of the concrete steps that were cut into the slope of our front yard. There, I would be singing from my repertoire of song titles from The Sound of Music. I sang loud, with wholehearted enthusiasm. I was on a secret mission to snare a driver whose work it would become was to promote my considerable musical talents; I knew once the promoter heard me that he would declare that I had the voice of an angel. At some point in my campaign for musical representation, my father became aware of my fixation on the story and the music of The Sound of Music. He presented me with a jaw-dropping piece of family trivia. My grandfather was a friend of the Von Trapps! When my grandparents relocated from New Jersey to Johnson, Vermont in the mid-1940’s, my grandfather was an insurance salesman. His sales route included Stowe, Vermont. It was in his capacity as an insurance salesman that he became friends with the Von Trapp family who had settled in Stowe. I felt a sense that Providence was working in my favor; the great wheel of destiny was turning for me. In fact, my delight in the music coupled with my preoccupation with the film’s history were both contributing factors in my decision to write a book set in Johnson, Vermont, between 1944 and 1945. It took me six years. For all practical purposes, the manuscript of my novel, The Growing Season, now sits waiting for an introduction to the world. I am no longer a starry-eyed child waiting to be discovered. For instance, I know for sure it is going to take more than thirty query letters to find an agent on whom I can pin my hope for representation. I know this because I have already sent thirty query letters to prospective agents.
However, Maria Von Trapp never gave up; nor will I.

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