Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for New Era

I am participating in the 2016 A-to-Z Blog Challenge. My theme is the music of my life.

In 1993, the movie Remains of the Day based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro came out in the theaters, and it completely changed my life. I had always been an Anglophile,  but watching Anthony Hopkins portray the stoic, ultra-reserved, and emotionally blocked butler serving on a sprawling estate in the English countryside solidified my lifetime love of all things British.

I also decided that a career in music was not for me. I was much more interested in writing about the lives of the composers than analyzing orchestral scores. But I was already three-quarters of the way through the program. Too late to turn back now. So I decided I would finish out the program and possibly pursue a grad degree in creative writing thereafter. In the meantime, I was writing…sweeping epic sagas—some of them more than six hundred pages in length—usually set in London and involving some tortured Romantic-era composer.

That summer, I decided I would visit my good friend, Michelle, and her family in England. Michelle and I had become great friends in high school, and as her family was from Scotland originally and was only in the US on a four-year stint, we had always known she would return to the UK after high school. We had kept in touch through monthly phone calls, letters, and tapes, but I told her one day I would come visit. Now it was becoming a reality. As I moved toward my departure date, I purposed to make that first trip across the pond one of many. The eventual goal: my relocation to the United Kingdom.

I no longer listened to hard rock or heavy metal music. I had moved on to instrumental soundtracks that coincided with British films like Howard's End and A Room with a View—much better writing music than Metallica. Gone were my days of obsessing over rockers. Thanks to a spate of British films out at that time, I was convinced that the love of my life did not exist in this country. He lived in Ireland, Wales, or somewhere on the Yorkshire moors. He was the perfect mix of Dracula, Hamlet, Heathcliff, and Lord Byron. He lived with his two Irish Wolfhounds in a mansion with a name like Wuthering Heights or Manderley. He looked like either Ralph Fiennes or Hugh Grant (or a combination of the two) and his name was Nicholas Dunraven…or something like that.

And so that summer I traveled to the United Kingdom…in search of him.


  1. Interesting! I hope this story ends with you finding him!

  2. Now I wonder if you found him "across the pond" on that trip!


  3. I remember this phase of your life well! And when you met Ralph Fiennes - and how you and Misha would demonstrate how he silently signed autographs, LOL. (I know I'm jumping ahead in your story.)
    Nicholas Dunraven - I thought that was a wonderful name, and enjoyed reading novels you wrote. Was Nicholas the tortured composer?

    1. You remember correctly! Yes, that was him. I still love that name and hope to use it in a future novel.