Tuesday, April 21, 2009


She stood naked before him. Fingers grazing her thighs. Chin level. Strong eyes.

“What are you doing?” he said, the acoustics of the stage sharpening his footfalls.

She would not answer. She would not make a sound. Even when he walked behind her, and brushed the small of her back with the silk of his tie.

“What. Are you. Doing?”

His breath trapped the heat on her neck. His body a lightning rod for her dark electricity. Energies pulsed, nerves begged. She felt neither liquid, nor solid.

But still she stood.

“We can’t here,” he said, his eyes flicking to the wings. “You know this. We’d both be sacked.”

Yet his fingers traced the curve of a harp on her hip, as her skin softened a conductor’s spine.

“What is your game?” he murmured into her hair, while his arms slipped around. Her belly fell soft, but she didn’t suck in. His touch sank deeper.

The truth of those fingers thickened her senses and squeezed her thoughts, until she was a single, tuned string, demanding to be played upon. She leaned into the hard line of him, and they fell between the infinite folds of stage left's curtain.

She turned in the velvet darkness, and moved to kiss him. His lips parted for their prize.

Instead, her mouth slid to his ear.

“There,” she whispered.

He pulled away.

“There, what?”

“Hold this. The desire. This need,” she said, looking long into his eyes. “Every time you’re up there, pressured to inspire us with that magic wand of yours. I want you to look at me, really look at me.”

She touched the air above his cheek. He shuddered.

“And be full of this almost thing.”


("Symphony Painting" by Valerie Vescovi)


Karen said...

Sarah - I've always thought that writing a love scene would be the most difficult thing to do well. Well...you do it! From the moment she stood before him on that stage, he was lost.

The ending pulls a new element into the lovemaking, a surprising equation that works wonderfully.

Excellent structure, dialogue, and details.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Sumptuously salacious.

Very skillful and solid writing techniques.

The dialogue is leading us - the verbs all instrumental in helping to create a sensuous tone - thickened, squeezed, sharpening, brushed, trapped, pulsed, begged, flicking, softened, et.al.

The whole scene unfolds like a velvet (like the curtains) fantasy.

I like the way he is saying we can't do this...but he is thinking and acting upon - "Oh, yes we can."

The ultimate tease.

Great choice for the title - and I love the painting with it's blacks and reds and the white accents - music sheets, and shirts in the audience. All in all - I love this!

Aine said...

She's the Maestro. She has total control, and all the power. And the ending... wow. What an edge to leave him on.

What fantasy you weave!

james oh said...

Your post really drives me into such a romantic scene. I went wild , but managed to pull me out before I indulge further. It is not only so real, but so lively as well - that is what I wanted to tell you. It is a real surprise to me because I rarely read romantic story due to my wrong perception that it is not reality. You have changed my perception. That's so much the impacts of your post. Well done and keep it up.

God bless,

Sarah Hina said...

Karen, it is difficult to write fresh and meaningful love scenes. I usually try to make mine more about a deep connection, but I wanted to highlight the importance of desire alone in sharpening an artist's energy and inspiration.

Thank you so much for your warm embrace of this story! It is very much appreciated. :)

K, sumptuously salacious...I love that!

She is a bit (well, more than a bit) of a tease, but as I was writing her, I thought that in a weird way, she was doing it for him. Or maybe for the whole symphony. (okay, that might be a stretch!) A strange mindset, for sure, but one of those ideas that might just be crazy enough to work.

I'd like to hear their next symphony. ;)

I'm so glad you loved this, K! As is always the case when I write a love scene, my what-would-my-mother-think?? alarms were ringing. :D

Aine, yes, she's a bit of a maestro (what's the female equivalent, btw? hmm...), too. Hopefully, after this, she'll be happy to pluck the strings of her harp, and leave his alone. ;)

Thank you for diving into this fantasy with me! I think you understand the musical circles my mind has been traveling in. :D

James, what a wonderful compliment! :)

I'm very glad to know that your perceptions altered with this scene. I found it interesting what you said about reality. While I often indulge in highly romantic scenes, I do like to strive for an authenticity in the characters and their interactions, too.

Thank you for letting me know that came across for you. :)

Margaret said...

Sarah - What an electrifying love scene!

Perfect setting amidst an orchestra. I love the way he weakened to her, his role as "Maestro" falling into the wings.

Love the line "until she was a single, tuned string, demanding to be played upon."

There's music in the whole scene - a symphony that just swept me away!

Aniket said...

Bye bye spring... the summer is here!!!

You notched the temperature up by a 100 degrees with those words. This had similar emotions as like your previous post 'New' which I have told you a million times already that I am totally in love with. :D

This was tooooo guuuuhhhhdd!
Though I kinda feel sorry for the guy with the ending... she surely is incharge. :-)

Coming to think of it... you mostly keep the lady incharge right?

Thinking a bit more... mostly I do too. Hmmm... Interesting. :-D

All in all a Superb superb post... with a wonderful ending. :D

the walking man said...

Great thing you have done here Sarah...the words building the release and reflecting her intent while her intent is perfectly reflected in the use of the exact right words...just an awesome work of flash. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Catvibe said...

Sarah, the tension is delicious. I loved the use of instrumental metaphors in describing body places. And like Aine said, she holds the power and she knows it. Maybe we women should all start walking around naked in order to show who's boss! :-) (Kidding James, that's NOT reality).

Anonymous said...

A very sensuous tension well told. My favorite part was the ending. Unexpected, with a touch of darkness. There is terrible power in the power to withhold. Even when it's playful and seemingly innocent, the breadth of that power lurks beneath.

Sarah Hina said...

Margaret, thank you for pointing out that line, and for your overall enthusiasm! I really do enjoy playing with musical metaphors in love scenes. Probably because the visceral sense of elevation and abandonment feel much the same to me.

Aniket, I like the summer, too. :)

This one feels different from "New" to me, but only because there's the greatest of potential, but with no follow through. She wants that completion, too, but holds back to keep his/their "inspiration" (so to speak) burning strong.

I don't think I always keep the woman in charge (do I??). She's just usually very, very interested and up for it. ;) Thank you so much for your positive response to the piece!

Walking Man, thank you, my friend. I really did want to match her bold intent with the crescendo of tension in the language. I appreciate your letting me know it worked for you. :)

Cat, if we women walked around naked all the time, we might kill too much of the mystery! :P

I think I might have made a mistake in calling this piece, "Maestro." It did make the story more about power and gamesmanship than was my true goal. But thank you for the warm words of appreciation, Cat! (And I'm sure James will forgive you. ;))

Jason, I've been reading this book called The Song is You by Arthur Phillips. He does a much better job of emphasizing the same point about longing being the fire for inspiration and better art (or music). That was the soul of the piece for me.

But yeah, power is dangerous to flex in such ways. I got to thinking later that the conductor would probably be more pissed than inspired by her little performance.

Thank you for the kind words! :)

joaquin carvel said...

i hear a viola, playing to the exhilaration - and torment - of the muse. gratification is nice - but longing is the mother of passion, isn't it?

beautifully and skillfully crafted, lush and taught and razor-sharp. especially love "fingers traced the curve of a harp on her hip" and that last line, lingering in the air - wow.

Jennifer said...

Sarah, I love it--a whole new justification: Let's do it for the symphony. ;)

But seriously, this is gorgeous work, and I think you really have captured the idea of desire/passion inspiring great things, both great heights and great depths of human endeavor.

Is there somewhere I can read a synopsis of your novel? A paragraph summary? A tiny tease? ;)

Sarah Hina said...

Joaquin, longing is the mother of passion--I couldn't have said it better myself.

I'm glad this piece impressed that upon you. While a coming together brings the joy and charge of sweet gratification, the desire to close that space must instead find its release in many of our favorite songs, paintings, fiction, and poetry. Or any other outlet of agitation and angst. ;)

Thank you for your warm words here. :)

Jennifer, okay, you asked for it...

(keeping in mind that this synopsis was written to sell the book, and is thus fraught with many breathless phrases and, in hindsight, a teensy bit of overwriting ;))

*Thank you for the kind words about this piece, too, and for your wonderful interest in my novel!! They're deeply appreciated. :)*

Plum Blossoms in ParisDaisy Lockhart is a searcher. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Burdened with an unlikely name by her father, a preeminent Henry James scholar, Daisy is a tightly wound grad student who responds, like Pavlov’s dog, to bellwether ideas of American success. Yet when her boyfriend breaks up with her in October of 2004, Daisy succumbs to the vertigo of uncertainty for the first time in a scripted life. Embracing the plunge, she flees America. Her namesake chose Rome as a destination; for this Daisy, the pull of “the celestial city”—which conquered Hemingway, Stein, and Picasso, after all—is too strong to resist. Paris.

Daisy finds a soft landing in the arms of Mathieu. A writer and impassioned advocate of Sartre’s authentic living, Mathieu has been rocked by the death of his mother, who left him for her American Dream when he was a boy. Reeling from this second abandonment, he latches onto Daisy with a fierce commitment that exhilarates, and suffocates, her. For Daisy, newly primed to the pleasures of a total freedom, has been filling her soul with the vapors of inspiration that flow through Paris as reliably as the Seine. From the timeless beauty of The Luxembourg Gardens to Manet’s revelation of modernity within the Musée d’ Orsay, Paris seduces, and transforms, her.

Over a golden autumn day, Daisy and Mathieu, obstinate creatures of their native countries, clash over religion, art, Iraq, food, the metaphysical possibilities of a good shoe, and the murky memories tunneling up from their pasts. Dancing along a razor’s edge of desire and discretion, the coltish lovers lie to one another in minor and meaningful ways, until finally, the deceptions and passion find explosive release in the apartment of Mathieu’s father, a shadowy figure with a Vichy past. Like Paris itself, Daisy’s relationship with Mathieu is intoxicating ambrosia of the sublime and secret.

Torn between her blossoming love for Mathieu, and the family and dreams she left behind, Daisy must resolve whether to lay roots in a country that, in this tumultuous age, barely tolerates her. Americans come to the City of Light to shine more brightly. Daisy will discover if the flickering flame of her autonomy can survive the vacuum of this brilliant, difficult man, who will always steal her breath away.

Sarah Hina said...

Crap, that title should be separated from "Daisy." Oh well. :P

Aniket said...

Thank you Jen for making Sarah do this.

And Sarah, Sarah , Sarah!

What can I say???

Can't you do something to get it released a bit sooner... may be like tomorrow??

I now wish I had not read this... for it makes the wait more unbearable. Great plot. Love, uncertainty, deception, the caged feeling and Paris... you've got all covered!

I am loving it already! :-D

Jennifer said...

Sarah!!! Oh my God, I want to read this book. And of course you have no way of knowing that I actually mean that, but... I actually mean that. And I do not mean in 2009. I mean tonight. After the MIL retreats and the kids go to sleep and my husband says, "aw, you're not going to stay up reading are you?"

I can see why you found blogging attractive after finishing something of that scope--I imagine you needed some time to decompress.

So...how are those new ideas coming?? ;)

Jennifer said...

That should have said in 2010!

Sarah Hina said...

Aniket and Jennifer, you guys are the best! :D

Seriously, thank you for the bright and sincere enthusiasm. It makes my anticipation for the big day (as yet to be announced, but yeah, unfortunately not tomorrow or any other day in 2009) swell, and gives me a big smile while I'm waiting! :) I only hope the book lives up to your expectations.

And Jennifer, I have, in fact, been churning with new ideas lately! I am in the research and planning process for the new novel right now. :) Keep your fingers crossed...

Margaret said...

Sarah, your book sounds like a "hell of a good read!"

The synopsis didn't half wet my appetite to want more, more, more..

Like the others, I can't wait for it to be realeased.

And great that you're coming up with ideas for a new novel. Best of luck!! :)

Sarah Hina said...

Margaret, thank you so much! It's really a thrill to share both the anticipation for the old novel's release, and the excitement for the new novel's beginning with you, and everyone else here. I'm very lucky in my friends!! :)

Dave King said...

This is a superb blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first visit.

Sarah Hina said...

Dave, thank you so much for stopping by!

And please do come again. :)

Chris Eldin said...

I love how close we are to these characters. You are never afraid to let us feel their rawest emotions, and this is what makes your writing so powerful!

I cannot wait for your book release!! You tease us as well, with that excerpt!

sexy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vesper said...

What a gift to his music...
Very beautiful, Sarah.

Poet Man said...

I love the tension of surprise, and you wonderfully deliver this with this piece.

At this time in our culture when so much is expected to happen instantly, you elongate pleasure, and ask us to experience the experience as an experience and not as an end. Well Done

Poet man

Cynthia said...

OH! Deliciously erotic. Love this:
Be full of this almost thing.