A key to the soul


I’m working through the draft of In Search of Lost Girls. I have some tricky changes to make and it’s not always easy. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to add a wall around a convent as an “after thought”, for example. Places where people could once go are no longer accessible. Pathways have to be found or invented, trajectories changed…

Here is a short extract that has nothing to do with walls around convents. It comes from somewhere near the beginning of the book.

Once they were settled around the rough wooden table in the kitchen sipping the sweet mint tea he’d brewed, Viktor continued, talking directly to Peter as if the others weren’t there. “In my travels, I have learnt with singing masters and mistresses in many parts of the world but above all in Switzerland. You’d be surprised how many talented people took refuge in that mountainous country during the war. They all taught me one thing: the voice is the key to the soul, both to yours and that of others.” He had a way saying the word ‘soul’ that made it sound like a rushing wind.

“Learning with me is very hard work. Four hours a day, every day, even Sundays, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. If you accept, be warned that there will be times when you want to scream, when you feel like you are a hopeless wreck, a no-good who will never be able to sing. But there will also be times when you feel on top of the world and your voice will delight you and the people around you…”

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