Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What is Counterpoint? (1)

If I ever write a novel, it might be based on two women I happen to know, each in her early 40s, who meet periodically — once a month, if I recall correctly — for lunch at a franchise of a steakhouse chain in downtown Frankfurt.  Not having much in common, they don't talk about much; they enjoy each other's company, but more than that, I surmise, they both like having that regular appointment with a good steak.  Between lunches, they don't have any contact at all, as their personal and professional lives are otherwise completely independent from one another.  In real life, each lives on opposite sides of the city and both are professionals: one woman is an attorney with a successful private practice in a niche area and has been married, mostly happily, for over 20 years, with a pair of high-achieving kids, the other is in marketing and has had some struggles with her career and personal life of late.  In  my novelization, I would take license and make these careers and lives even more separate from one another, with one woman having reduced to halftime work while her son, with a learning disability, finishes school while the other woman, with little in the way of settled domestic life, would be constantly on the move doing her work in international corporate espionage. The form of the book would be a series of steak lunches with both women together, not saying much of anything, settled and static, separated by pairs of solo chapters of great contrast, yet allowing each lifestyle to project its own range of securities, uncertainties, and even dangers.  (Ideally, each pair of parallel chapters would be read simultaneously. Whether this could be invited by having the texts printed on facing pages, or in alternating lines of the text, or some other method altogether (think: left and right channels of an audio book), remains to be explored.)  

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