After working on Evan’s Toronto concert program, I reviewed the concert programs for the following novel, Perceval in Love. As I looked over the programs, I realized that the music Evan had chosen reflected his heart in the novel. The only work I’d chosen specifically because I thought Evan would see it as a reflection of his frustrating, yearning interactions with Sofia Karalis was J. S. Bach’s Double Concerto. My mind returned to the second novel in which Sofia only makes two appearances, but Evan is involved with another woman. I wondered why I was having so many problems writing Evan with women.
No, he’s not gay! (smile) In some of my other projects, I’ve been writing about parents modeling behavior for their children to learn. As I was thinking about that in relation to Evan and women, something just clicked. I needed to explore the models Evan had as a child for romantic relationships, how men are with women, and the women who would attract him.
Little girls are told that they’ll marry someone just like dear old dad. What are little boys told? I doubt their lessons from parents include anything about their own mothers, but I have heard that they’re told to be sure to meet any girlfriend’s mother to get an idea of what the girlfriend will be like when she’s older. The thing is, little boys absorb how to be a man from their fathers, so how their fathers model male behavior in general and with women specifically will affect how little boys will be men. Like little girls looking for a guy like their dads when they grow up, little boys will look for a woman like their mothers when they grow up. Unless they make a conscious decision to change their behavior and look for someone totally unlike their mothers. Changing behavior in this way requires a deep level of self-awareness and self-knowledge. I realized that Evan Quinn would not have this kind of self-knowledge or self-awareness.
Three other factors will influence Evan. First, the relationship he had with his father when he was a boy. It was not good or loving or respectful. Second, the relationship he had with his Uncle Joe, i.e. Joseph Caine, the composer and his father’s best friend. Caine would be a counter-influence to Evan’s father. And third, his mother’s suicide when Evan was eleven. The loss of his mother when he’s on the cusp of puberty could affect profoundly his perceptions of women and his beliefs about them. His mother was also no saint. I realized that I’d set up poor Evan to have a difficult romantic life.
Oh, why hadn’t I thought of this before? I realized that I had had the somewhat romantic and unrealistic notion that Evan would be untouched by his childhood and rise above all his negative influences. Or maybe that the women in his life would “save” him from his childhood pain and influences. That’s not very interesting. Ah, well. Now I understand why Evan is where he is romantically in these novels. Will he rise to this emotional challenge? Will he be able to gain the self-knowledge and self-awareness he needs in order to change and learn to love? How will the music that he programs for his concerts reflect his emotional state?
Clearly, I have my work cut out for me. And I get to think too about what classical music will be the most romantic to Evan….