~ Hazel Harps On

A Thousand Years

This blog is named after a song by Christina Perri. Know it? I didn’t either, until I was asked to play it at a wedding. I googled, as one does, and YouTube came up with the goods. I can do that, I thought after a preliminary listen. I love arranging things for the harp, and the tune sounded quite simple. The Internet even provided me with a piano version I could use as a starting point. I said yes to the mother of the bride-to-be, little realising…

That song! The reason it sounds so good when Christina Perri sings it is (A) her lovely voice and (B) the amazing orchestral backing on rather a lot of instruments. The harp brings its own magic to any song but, with only two hands, I am limited! The piano version didn’t help. It may have flowed under the fingers perfectly for a pianist but for a harpist it ran counter to every intuition. I struggled for weeks, altering notes all over the place, rewriting the fingering and covering my copy with tippex. Finally I said to myself No, no, no! This is not the way I work. I play things by ear. I chucked out the sheet music in disgust. I went back and listened…and listened. I started afresh with my own version, this time geared towards my instrument and my own style of playing. Countless times every day the song echoed throughout our house, inflicting terrible earworms on both me and my (incredibly tolerant) husband.

'A Thousand Years' by name, and it seemed to take that long to learn it! However, I did get there in the end, much to the delight of the wedding party.

With my novel this month has been a bit similar. I already felt I had been working on it for a thousand years, yet my agent asked for more edits, as they do. She wanted me to take out a scene, and rightly so, but without it there emerged a yawning gap at a point where drama was needed. I substituted a different type of drama, but was that going to be rejected too? I fretted, how I fretted. My agent also wanted me to work on my characters, especially my villain. My villain got twisted and turned through all sorts of changes, from charmer to nice man to complete psychopath and I just wasn’t sure and I just wasn’t sure and it was all taking SO LONG and I am not the most patient of people. I believe I’m getting there now though.

The song 'A Thousand Years' was part of the Twilight Saga, in which the characters (vampires) do actually live for such stretches of time. Creative projects can seem endless, but when I look back, I know all my efforts with music and writing will seem to have passed in the twinkling of an eye. Still, I hope that long after I’m gone something of them will live on … maybe for a thousand years! Or more!

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