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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My book. By John von Daler

                My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing).

                Writing was something I had always wanted to do. My childhood had been filled with books, my teenage years with studying, my college years with literature followed by creative writing with Philip Roth and my young adulthood with selling books and teaching American literature at Copenhagen University.
                Around 1975 I dropped literature for a life as a musician and soon I was going to recording sessions and playing in classical orchestras, small jazz bands and rock and roll groups. After a while I started performing with various Danish artists at festivals and music clubs.
                But I was still interested in literature. At about the year 2000 a picture started to form in my mind of a book about my life with its travel, upheavals, interesting people and events. At that point I knew it was going to be in eight chapters and I knew what they were going to be about.
                The idea was to describe myself by describing the people who had formed me and affected my ideas, influences that had given my life direction and content. There was my wonderful violin teacher from Oklahoma, jazz musicians, my wonderful Zen-like cousin, my father-in-law in Denmark, theater and Tivoli people in Copenhagen, the artists I had performed with in Ireland, Tanzania and Scandinavia, and my father and his parents in Austria.
                The whole thing took me about ten years to write. I got quite a bit of the work done in Italy at a Danish retreat, St. Cataldo, in Scala overlooking the Bay of Amalfi. I spent a month there and finished two chapters of the book and also wrote a slightly erotic fantasy about seducing Helen Hunt on a mountain top. (The latter has appeared in my blog: Pieces: A Bitty Blog It is called The Roads Around Ravello.)
                While writing Pieces instead of trying to do research about my past I decided to trust my memory, if not as a source of indisputable facts, then at least as a conveyor of the strong essence of events, pictures true in spirit but perhaps incorrect in fact. In other words I decided to make a fiction out of my own life.
                So the book became eight short stories and a prelude. These sections and my thoughts in general about art, literature and life have been strongly influenced by Karen Blixen, Philip Roth, Faulkner, Sherwood Anderson and Garcia Marquez. These disparate influences emerge through a distinctly unmodern form of writing. I do not show nearly as much as I tell (perhaps Faulkner can be blamed for that) and I do not kill my darlings nearly as often as I pamper them. I am not nearly as influenced by cinema as my contemporaries and I am not trying to uncover the dirt beneath the surface of life, god knows enough people are attempting that, but to show viable forms of beauty expressed and experienced.
                Music also had an influence on the form of the book.  Leitmotifs, repetitions, and counterpoint play a great role in the organization of my material. The sounds of the words themselves are also important.

                I hope that some of my blog readers will buy the book. 
(There is a link to Amazon at the bottom of this page.) Anyone will be able to read and hopefully to enjoy it. The really experienced readers who notice details and who in chapter eight still can remember what happened in chapter one will get even more out of "Pieces". Hopefully, some of all of these readers will review the book for Amazon or Goodreads. Perhaps some will even recommend the book to friends who also may be interested in slow writing about a fast life.

My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is now available. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Click on the cover to buy Pieces:

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