“Playing the Piano” — Albert Edelfelt (1854-1905)

I’m taking a sanity break. Or maybe not.

Someone posted the painting above on Twitter and it’s been haunting me…which is perfect, I guess, for my new—truthfully, not-so-new—novel about a woman, a house, two pianos, and a man.

Over the past ten years, the novel has gone through so many incarnations I’ve lost count. But three elements have remained constant: the house, the pianos, and the man. The woman has now become women—two.

When I saw Edelfelt’s painting, it was as though someone had read my mind.

The scene disturbs me in the worst and best ways—his face, closeness to her, intense expression, the way one hand rests on her shoulder, the other on the music rack, and her rigid back, hands frozen in motion. What is she feeling? Her face seems to shift so subtly, I can’t tell.

Yet I know I feel like a voyeur.

And I can’t look away. The painting has triggered all kinds of sensations, bringing me closer to the heart of a setting and what lies within.

I think.

So it’s spread across my computer screen.

Where I can’t escape it.


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