Turn of the Centurydownload
"The world will end soon." So says the protagonist of Jen Bergmark's "Turn of the Century." An old rock and roller who views himself as a has-been, the singer is fascinated by Nostradamus and by predictions that the millennium will send us all into chaos. He looks ahead to New Year's of 2000 as the confirmation of the ending he has experienced in his career and his life. But when a young concert promoter recognizes him at an LA flea market, his life, like the century, takes a different turn.
The burning of an opera house, a rivalry between two sisters, self-creation in Venice--these are all elements of Annemarie Neary's short story "Firebird". Its narrative threads woven together like those of an opera, Neary's story mines the relationship between Elvira and Betsy (or Betzi, as she renames herself) and their ongoing attempts to define themselves against and with each other. The story is a meditation on identity and art, originality and imitation.
Cheryl Walsh's "Unequal Temperaments" is narrated by a musician and a tuner of harpsichords--instruments whose tuning challenges give the story its title. Telling a story about friction among players in a conservatory, the piece explores our ability to adjust, align, and predict events in our experience, and suggests that despite our certainty that we can foretell things, we will always be surprised and perhaps foiled by the irrational and the unruly.
In the first of what will be two interivews with The Drum, 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding spoke with editor Henriette Lazaridis Power about his experience as a rock drummer, his fascination with jazz, his views on the craft of writing, and the ways in which a writer, like a drummer, gets to keep and manipulate time.