Saturday, October 29, 2016

Kitchen Apparition  My Mozart  ISBN:  1927476364

What we’ve had here today has been sun, clouds, and a sort of golden light falling through autumnal trees that I think of as Don Giovanni weather. And what, you ask, makes me call it that? Well, it’s the end of October now and we are approaching Halloween, the time of year, when, in 1787, to thunderous applause and many encores, that opera was first performed. The city was Prague, not Vienna, because by that time the arbiters of taste in the latter place had decided that Mozart was no longer cool. The infamous con man, Casanova, may have sat in with Lorenzo DaPonte and Mozart, while the libretto was written, lending his own unsavory life experiences to the twists and turns of the plot.

When I entered one of those OCD states of mind to which I am prone, in the mid-eighties, it was All Mozart All The Time at our house. I began to write two Mozart novels, “Mozart’s Wife” and “My Mozart.” Wouldn’t want anyone checking out the titles to wonder what the subject was.  Mozart’s Wife  ISBN:  1461109612

This happened on a late October Saturday. The silver maples were raincoat yellow. The sky had been clear blue all morning until after lunch, but after, the wind rose and a fleet of puffy, gray-bottomed clouds began to put  a lid on things. I was doing housework, still attempting the working woman’s bit where you go double time and do lots of housework and cooking over weekends. Of course, I was blasting Don Giovanni, saturating my cells with every chord—just as I used to do all through the '60's and ‘70’s with rock’n’roll.     

Husband was off somewhere, and the house was empty of teenage sons, too, so the only nerves I was fraying were my own. In those days I had a fabulous pair of pink high top sneakers that looked ever so good with jeans. Jeepers, this was a long time ago--back in the last century...

What happened in my kitchen that afternoon is the only supernatural encounter I’ve had in this house. I think there genuinely are no ghosts here; the house was built in 1948. There has been anger, violence, and grief, but no deaths. So, in this case the "supernatural" experience focused on me.
Looking back, I can see that I'd overdosed on Mozart. And, on this day, too much Don Giovanni, too much dwelling in and on the stories of Herr WAM in which I had been immersed, re-imagining and writing in a Sheldon-Cooper-like spasm of self-indulgence. This led Mozart's dynamic, charismatic spirit, drawn by womanly hero-worship as well as the sound of his music, to pass the gate.
Nanina contemplates the skull of her maestro
The Stromboli dough I'd prepared earlier lay ready to roll out, ready to receive meat, cheese, tomato sauce, and sweet pepper, when my progress was interrupted by a loud creak followed by an unearthly groan. It was that old movie sound effect of the hinges of hell—or heaven—swinging open. It was so loud it overcame the flood of opera, pouring from the kitchen speakers.
I spun around and there he was, standing on my 1948-era brick pattern linoleum. Needless to say, after so much time he looked ghastly—the “great nosed Mozart” as a contemporary called him—shrunken, frail, his face lined with his final suffering—but undeniably present.


From "The Mozart Brothers" 

I saw him clear as day. My reaction—I'm not ashamed to admit—was fear. When the door opens at 3 a.m. in a dark bedroom while you are still half asleep, well, that's something you can explain as "dreams intruding upon reality." When, however, the door opens at 3 p.m. on a sun-through- clouds-afternoon, while you construct a mundane kid-pleasing Stromboli it was darn alarming.

I leapt backwards, reaching gazelle-like heights* I've never before achieved, landing all the way across the kitchen. By the time the time those pink shoes hit the vinyl, though, my ghostly idol had gone.  

~~Juliet Waldron