Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #34

Mom’s voice cuts deep, like a razor-sharp skate blade. “Melody,” she says, her pencil tapping the edge of the piano bench. “You need to count the rhythm. It’s one-and-two-and-three-and-four-and.”

I drop my hands onto my lap. “I was counting.”

“Not carefully enough. Now let’s try again, beginning at measure three.”

“One-and-two-and,” I say between clenched teeth, my fingers banging the keys.

Mom sighs. “Might as well stop. Pachelbel Canon is legato. You have to connect the notes, make them smooth.”

Smooth, I think. Like ice.

I start over, my fingers plunking while my mind spins around Civic Arena. I can almost feel the cool air whipping my ponytail as my skates glide across the slick surface.

“That’s it,” Mom says. “Feel the music.”

As I play a G major chord, I imagine myself in spiral position, leg held high, arms outstretched, my silver skate blade cutting a crisp outside edge.

“Keep going, Melody. Now you’re getting it.”

I smile. In my head I’m pushing into back crossovers, moving into a one-foot glide…

“Wow.” Mom nods as I play the final chord. “The notes weren’t perfect, but you finally put your heart into it.”

I sit there, staring at the boring black and white keys. “Can I be done now?”

Mom purses her lips and takes a deep breath, like a swimmer getting ready to dive underwater. Finally, she closes my lesson book. “All right, but you need to practice an extra ten minutes tomorrow.”



  1. I think this is really excellent. I love that it tells us so much about Melody and her mom right away. I especially like that the girl's name is "Melody" - it shows us how important music is to her mom. The conflict is clear and the dialogue is engaging. Nice work!

    Good luck.

  2. Definitely interested to see where this is going. You don't see too many MG novels out there with a focus on music. Or ice skating.

  3. I like the integration of ice skating into her playing. Nicely illustrates her love of skating and brings out the conflict of mom/music vs child/skating. Well done.

  4. I think this is beautifully done, I have nothing negative to say except that for some reason I dislike fiction about ice skating and also music, so it wouldn't be for me.

    But really very strong.

  5. i do like the skating/music analogy. the mom reminded me of a tiger mother! ha.

  6. Very nice. I like how well you show her love for skating. And lots going on emotionally. I'd keep reading. :)

  7. I'm hooked. The writing is nice. I like how you wove the MC's thoughts with the conversation with her mother. Both the characters seem to be very strong. I would love to read more. I'm sure there's more conflict to come and I'd love to see who wins out, the music or the skating! Great job. :)

  8. I thought this was very well done. There are a lot of little touches here that say you know what your doing - her name choice, the opening simile, the way you interweave the music and skating. Very nicely done!

    The only thing I'd suggest is a bit of emotion in the - I sit there, staring at the boring black and white keys - sentence. The transition between that sentence and the one before it is a bit abrupt. She's just come off some wonderful images in her mind and it seems she'd feel something about them. Maybe add that in.

  9. You hit all the right notes with this! Sorry, couldn't resist :). But seriously, you did a wonderful job of showing the conflict instead of just telling us what was going on.

  10. this is absolutley lovely. I can relate to the MC so very well because I took piano lessons too -- ages ago.