My Own Moonlight Sonata

There was this guy in a music store once. I was about nineteen. Dude was about halfway to seven feet tall, shaved head, black-coffee complexion. I was trying out guitars, and he came in, pulled a five string electric bass off the wall, plugged it into an amp, sat down and began to play the Moonlight Sonata.

The world stopped. I leaned on the guitar I was trying out and just watched this guy, and listened. His hands were liquid, boneless, the notes perfect, the whole piece played out into the stillness like the magical gateway to another universe.

When the last notes shivered into silence and I realized there weren’t going to be any more, I asked him the name of the piece (I’d never heard it before).

I’ve remembered his version of it forever. I’ve never heard a better rendition than his, and I’ve listened to a lot of them.

Tonight, that guy and his guitar and Moonlight Sonata found his way to a street corner in New York City, where he enchanted Aleksa, before he passed on a message she needed to hear.

I’ve been hanging on to that moment the majority of my life.

It was something sacred then. It came out something sacred tonight.

413 words.


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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

32 comments… add one
  • Nov 7, 2009 @ 20:14

    i come from china . i have been learning english online myself . my grammar is bad . so i like read lot of articils online by antimachine translation. i like to write a little too. but my level of english is too really poor to write anymore . do you know wireclub. you can check me at there. now i cant open that website and cant enter in it . if you can enter it and search for my profile from nation . my name is edcrfv456bd age of 100 male ok . i have had some essay on blog . maybe i will to write something in future but now .i have no so many time to write something . i have two daughters and twins age of 9 i am work hard for live . i have read english articles online sparetime . i very like this website from your . it is like a charities i think . thank you very much . good luck to you and your faimily . bye from china

  • Cecelia Nov 7, 2009 @ 13:26

    932 this morning. I got a new desk lamp. It’s wonderful. Why I didn’t realize I needed it before now, I’ll never know. now I can work at night which is really my most productive time. But I’m happy with today’s word count. I’ve been idle for a few days, hoping the sniffles and achiness was not going to be H1N1 — it isn’t. Back to my usual now and putting one writing foot in front of the other again. Thanks for the encouragement, Holly! I’ve been bouncing this idea and half-written snippets of it around for a few years now. Its time to do it or get off the pot!!

  • Adam Nov 7, 2009 @ 3:29

    finished the connecting scene between act 2 and act 3 over the past 2 nights. was a different style of writing for me, more horror than fantasy, but i’m pretty pleased with the basis of the scene.

    have 20 days to finish the rest of this if i want to meet my goal. have a camping trip the next two days with my boys, so might have to spend a few late nights getting extra words to make up for it next week.

    1750 words over 2 days.

  • Edward Nov 7, 2009 @ 2:20

    About 4,500 words tonight thanks to some word-warring with the local wrimos. That was a very good day. I’ve been averaging about a quarter of that each day, but it gave me a nice little word cushion for the weekend.
    And I’m pleased to say that I’m having a lot more fun with this NaNo this year because I planned it out more, unlike the past two years. 🙂

  • TimK Nov 6, 2009 @ 21:28

    Hi, Holly. This post touched me, because I’ve definitely had moments like that, where I pull a significant moment from real life into a fictional story. Those scenes do come out magical.

    Writing my latest novel (just so happens during NaNoWriMo): I’ve been suffering from depression and migraines over the past couple of days, and I’m way behind schedule. But I got 2,166 words so far today, which puts me only about 5,000 behind where I wanted to be. However, since the block has broken, maybe I can work over the weekend and catch up.


  • laurel Nov 6, 2009 @ 20:21


    What a beautiful moment. It reminds me of the saying that at the end of a life we want to have an exquisitely beautiful necklace. The necklace is made of all the moments when we were fully present with the inimitable quintessential beauty.

    I’m doing write or die for Nano and I’m surprising myself with wondrous word count, thus far, today.


    Aisling aka Laurel

  • Sarah Collins Nov 6, 2009 @ 15:45

    I’ve been out of it for a while. WIP #2 is up to 23,460 words and counting. I’m still relatively on track, but I’ve been sick for three weeks and we were very surprised to find out we were expecting baby #6 after my tubal ligation a couple of years ago. What can I say – truth IS stranger than fiction! Hope to make a regular of myself again. =c)

    • Patricia Nov 6, 2009 @ 18:14

      welcome back 🙂

  • HannaBellle Nov 6, 2009 @ 13:27

    That is a wonderful memory to have, even better that you have a place where you can put it and share it with the world.

    Over my lunch break, today (even as I write this) I am working on The Sentence. Reading the sentences of others (in a HTTS forum) is helping me write a better sentence. I did not know it could be so hard, but I also see that it will be integral to telling the story. Like the spine or something.

    No word count, just progress.

  • Texanne Nov 6, 2009 @ 11:20

    What a wonderful memory, Holly. My MC may be wishing I had better memories to lay on her. Last night I got her lost in a eucalyptus grove, on a road that got progressively narrower. Yep, it happened to me. Of course, my MC is pulling a trailer, so turning around is more of a problem for her. (I didn’t turn around, just kept going, even though the trees on either side where scraping wax off my car.)

  • Edwin D Ferretti III Nov 6, 2009 @ 5:30

    Thank you Holly, for that beautiful description of Moonlight Sonata, being played on a bass guitar. This is one of my favorite compositions and I often play it on my piano. It is too bad he didn’t make a recording of it for others to hear.

  • Tori Nov 6, 2009 @ 0:15

    I’m about two hundred words away from my goal for Nano, but I am just so tired I don’t think I can write anymore at the moment. I just have to hope I can make it up tomorrow because I’ll be up early for a doctors appointment then I’ll have about four solid hours to work.

    I have 8098 words. I haven’t had that many words for a project in a long time.

  • Gabby Nov 5, 2009 @ 22:19

    Holly, it’s so nice to have your posts back again. It sounds like such a great experience and it’s really cool that he’s immortalized (too bad he won’t even know… or maybe he’ll see himself in that story some day and always wonder, “is that me?”…)

    1342 and new muse bomb (don’t even know what it is yet completely but it’s a lovely little place holder for when I figure it out). And some nice character development. I finally finished the last scene of the beginning. I even left my characters with an albeit cheesy line … “[they] opened the door and took the first step on the long, unknown journey…” I will edit out the cheese later. But it was fun to leave it like that for now. Yay, I have made it further then ever before. […must dance around now as I actually have more plot left to go…] Scrivener is saying I am at 124 pages printed/ 111 pages paperback. that is a nifty little feature, I must say.

    Continued good luck to everyone doing Nano. You’re all doing a great job; I’m really impressed! 🙂

  • Cat (from HtTS) Nov 5, 2009 @ 12:51

    I did 3042 words today, yay! Slowly, I’m building up the buffer I need for the days that I won’t be able to write.

    My story is coming up nicely. My MC and her brother had to get a djinn back into its bottle but the usual trick of flattering didn’t work. So my MC had to come up with a new plan. Luckily, she has the Phoenix who can help.

  • Lisa R Nov 5, 2009 @ 12:23

    That is an amazing story Holly. In fact, it gives me the shivers. Too cool.

    653 words and I had fun with dialog which will give my MC and reader more understanding of the situation. I enjoyed the work.

  • June Nov 5, 2009 @ 11:56

    Got up this morning with the end of the scene clear in my mind. Sat down and tapped out 634 words in 45 minutes. The end of the scene that’s been giving me hell finally works. A few rough patches, but that’s just polishing.

    Some days it all goes perfectly.

  • Emily Nov 5, 2009 @ 10:14

    3500 words in 4 sittings for NaNo.

  • Peggy Nov 5, 2009 @ 9:38

    Another day of no words yesterday, but that’s okay. The explorations I did of the various characters raised some interesting questions, and those will lead to some fun scenes later.

    Only two left — the MC and the villain.

    Kill me now.


  • Jessica Nov 5, 2009 @ 9:15

    504 that felt more like Cait throwing a tantrum than resisting arrest…:S

    On another note, the fire alarm in my building went off at 3:45AM this morning. It took 10 minutes for 3 trucks to arrive and another 20 minutes for them to run up and down the 15 story building, realize it was a false alarm and shut the system off. Sort of like Holly’s guitarist memory, I had a real life flash back to 2 years ago when the building beside mine (moved since) burned down in a 5-alarm fire – November then too. So I awoke to relive the panic of “am I going to lose everything?”, put the cat in the crate, grab the laptop… heart pounding, half my mind still asleep, and then the dreaded waiting. Waiting for the firemen to arrive. Waiting to be told to evacuate or to stay. Waiting to learn if everything is going to change… and whether I will still go to work or not when my alarm should go off at 5:15AM.

    So today is going to be HELL.

    • Gabby Nov 5, 2009 @ 22:07

      Ugh! I had a similar experience in college. Somebody liked to pull the fire alarm at 3am most mornings. …it was a lovely prank… not.

      Well, I hope you made it through the day okay

  • Khena Nov 5, 2009 @ 8:06

    Yesterday was long, so I didn’t get as much written as I would have liked. 500 words or so, puting my nano (which still has no title) to 6898. I made it to the daily minimum, but only because I had a big buffer from the day before. My MC’s horrible ride on her horse was over, and they discovered their fathers knew each other, right before he made a strange request of her.

  • Andrew Nov 5, 2009 @ 5:42

    716, just starting up again. Decent for night one of writing this. I hadn’t been writing anything “for fun” in a long time given school, but I finished a long paper tonight and felt like I should keep it going. Just started writing to get my creative juices flowing again and it turned into a decent idea that I’m going to flesh out a little further. Ideas are coming in left and right, haven’t had this feeling in a while (I was actually afraid university had stolen my love for writing)

  • Greg Nov 5, 2009 @ 4:24

    D&D: 514
    OFL: 1028
    RFW: 1027
    More solid words.

    • HannaBelle Nov 7, 2009 @ 16:45

      Your consistency inspires me. Can you tell us even a snippet about your projects?

  • The Pencil Neck Nov 5, 2009 @ 3:22

    385 words.

    The Bodyguard is leading his team and the Princess through a maze of passages trying to find a way out of the hospital. While trying to contact the outside world for backup and instructions, the team has realized that this is a widespread rebellion. They’re hearing over the news services that the King is either captured or dead and that the government is in disarray. They get to the door but there are people guarding it. The Bodyguard puts the Princess and a couple of bodyguards into an examination room. The Princess tried to exert her authority to command him not to go out and get everyone killed, to find another way out. He basically laughed at her and he’s joined two members of his team and they’re preparing to attack.

  • zette Nov 5, 2009 @ 2:36

    That is just fantastic, Holly. What a great piece to use and share.

  • Patricia Nov 5, 2009 @ 2:08

    Amazing…what I would give to hear and see and feal all that you did Holly. It really sounds like a wonderful moment that makes the spine tingle just at the thought of getting lost in it.

    629 words tonight, and I have a suspicion that the scene I wrote belongs earlier in the book, but we’ll see, we’ll see. Ryan has surprised himself with a moment that he is actually glad to see his master, and he is worried that he has become somewhat of a dog. The only thing missing is the tail. 😀

  • Ieva Nov 5, 2009 @ 1:50

    2500 words for Tuesday, only 600 words for Wednesday (I’m not proud of it). But things are happening, and relationships are building, so it’s fine, I guess. I hope.

    • Cat (from HtTS) Nov 5, 2009 @ 10:25

      I keep my fingers crossed for everything you are growing. Novels and relationships alike.

  • Teri Nov 5, 2009 @ 1:42

    914 words

    Princess Laena meets the rude Ciprian Beron, whose subplot may not survive, since it rather disappeared in the outline. I may be able to keep it going in the draft, but if I don’t, it’ll be easier to take out that it would be to put in.

  • Chris Walker Nov 5, 2009 @ 1:10

    2700 words tonight for NaNoWriMo (out of 8230 total) It’s my first novel, planned using your How to Think Sideways course, and am loving it so far. I’ve already thought of ways to improve what I’ve written and to flesh it out more, but am saving that for the revision process.

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