About C. C. Yager by C. C. Yager
Somewhere in a parallel universe and another time, I’m a musician who plays piano and cello. In this universe and time, I’m a writer.
The Yager family mythology had me destined to be a classical musician simply because at three years old I fell asleep when Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto came on the radio. My parents enjoyed music — my mother played the piano, my father the clarinet. They encouraged my early interest in music by funding piano lessons and French horn lessons and attending all the school concerts — choir, band and orchestra — as well as taking me to concerts at the local colleges. I’d wanted to study cello, but my mother would not allow any string instruments in the house (she was not known for optimism) and the instrumental teacher had too many cello students that year. He suggested the French horn. I won school prizes playing the horn and sat first chair in the horn section of the school orchestra. At thirteen, cracking teeth from the vibrations of the horn’s mouthpiece forced me to quit and return full time to the piano. Through junior and senior high school, I studied piano, accompanied a violinist and a church choir, and sang in the school choir.
At the same age I encountered the Warsaw Concerto, Grandma Yager introduced me to storytelling with her stories of living among the Navajo as a young woman and teaching them written and spoken English. My parents valued reading and read to me until I could read for myself. My father took me to the city library when I was eight to sign for my first library card. I read voraciously through first the children’s section and then into the adult sections, my appetite for stories ranging over all fiction and biographies in nonfiction. I began writing stories, like many writers, in elementary school. The first stories were one-act plays I wrote for social studies (both were performed by classmates and me) followed by science fiction short stories the teacher read aloud to the class. Publication quickly followed…well, not so quickly, but it followed in school publications through junior and senior high school. At high school graduation, I won the English prize for that year.
I entered college intending to major in psychology, minor in music, and go on to graduate school to become a music therapist. English and creative writing took a back seat for over four years as I focused on this goal. Then psychology flipped over into the back seat when I nearly flunked statistics. I majored in music. My junior year, I studied music and German in Vienna, Austria, soaking up concerts, recitals, opera, art, and the culture, as well as performing a Beethoven piano sonata in the Palais Kinsky ballroom where Ludwig van Beethoven had performed for one of his patrons, Prince Kinsky. I studied piano privately with a graduate student of Prof. Dieter Weber at the University of Vienna’s Hochschule fuer Musik. I loved Vienna. Back in America, I graduated from college with a BA in music.
Music, however, was not my language for creative expression. I discovered this my senior year in college, but several years passed before I realized that I needed to return to storytelling and writing. During those years I worked in corporate offices and an advertising agency, learning about business and living. I took writing classes at the University of Minnesota with Patricia Hampl (fiction) and Steve Larson (screenwriting) and at the Loft Literary Center, as well as fiction workshops with Will Weaver and Madison Smartt Bell, among others, and have continued to learn of and from the boundless world of writing and literature.
As a professional freelance writer, I worked for over four years for the Minnesota Orchestra writing advertising copy for print, TV and radio ads. I also consulted as an advertising/marketing communications editor for the Walker Art Museum and the Minnesota Composers Forum (now American Composers Forum). I have published essays in Many Voices and the essay anthology Gifts from Our Grandmothers, ed. by Carol Dovi (Crown, 2000). As a screenwriter member of Triggerstreet.com, I posted reviews of other members’ screenplays as well as uploaded two completed screenplays of my own for review. I write a monthly “Word Power” column for Minnesota Mensa’s publication, Mensagenda, and two blogs: Anatomy of Perceval about the Perceval novels and other writing related topics, and Eyes on Life, as Gina Hunter, a nonfiction commentary blog on life and health. I am always writing — thinking about current projects and ideas, solving narrative problems, even when not at my desk. I have been a member of the Loft Literary Center for over thirty years.
A friend at the Minnesota Orchestra once asked me if I was a musician. I told her I used to be a musician. She countered with, “Once a musician, always a musician.” Music and storytelling have been powerful artistic and creative forces in my life from the beginning. They each have their own language and narrative forms that open the imagination and reveal the human heart. They come together in the Perceval novels.
Perceval’s Secret: A Novel of the Future in March 2014 (available as e-book at Amazon and B&N) — Silver Medal winner in the 2018 Readers Choice Awards sponsored by Connections eMagazine
Non-Fiction: (under pen name Phoenix Hunter unless noted)
Print, TV and Radio advertising copy for the Minnesota Orchestra, 1984—1988 (no byline)
- Personal Essay: “Our Body, Our Sister,” in April 1993 Many Voices journal
- Personal Essay: “Movies and Dissociation,” in October 1995 Many Voices journal
- Personal Essay: “Cats,” in February 1998 Many Voices journal
- Personal Essay: “Bunny Rabbit,” in May 2000 anthology, Gifts from Our Grandmothers, edited by Carol Dovi, published by Crown Publishers
- Personal Essay: “The Road Trip,” in October 2003 Many Voices journal
- Book Review for Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman, M.D. in December 2004 Many Voices journal
- Personal Essay: “Dissociation,” in February 2005 Many Voices journal
- Personal Essay: “It’s OK to Say No,” in April 2010 Many Voices journal
- Letter to the Editor: Minnesota Monthly, April 2005 (as Cinda Yager)
- Letter to the Editor: Time Magazine, November 12, 2007 (as Cinda Yager)
- Letter to the Editor: Time Magazine, October 3, 2011 (as C. C. Yager)
- Remembering Carol Bly: The Bus had to go Somewhere, March 2008 Minnesota Literature (as Cinda Yager)
- Essay: “Money Talks” in October 2009 Mensa Bulletin (as Cinda Yager), the American Mensa publication
Since March 2009 ongoing monthly essay column “Word Power” for Mensagenda (as Cinda Yager), the Minnesota Mensa publication, 60 essays to date
- Article: “Science Fiction SIG” in January 2012 Mensagenda (as Cinda Yager), the Minnesota Mensa publication
- Article: “Science Fiction SIG” in November 2012 Mensagenda (as Cinda Yager), the Minnesota Mensa publication
- Community Voices Essay: “Orchestra Governance Should Honor the Founders’ Intent,” in March 7, 2014 MinnPost.com (as Gina Hunter) https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2014/03/orchestra-governance-should-honor-founders-intent/?hilite=%27Gina%27%2C%27Hunter%27
- Screenplay reviews at Triggerstreet.com, August 2003 to 2006 (as Cinday)
- 18 Articles at eHow.com (as “Fascinated” or CindaY), August 2009 to November 2010
- Blogger at wordpress.com, “Anatomy of Perceval,” September 2007 to present, (https://ccyager.wordpress.com)
- Blogger at Blogspot.com, “Eyes on Life,” commentary blog, January 2012 to present as Gina Hunter (http://eyesonlife-ginahunter.blogspot.com)
- Since May 2014, personal essays about music for ClassicalMPR.org (as Cinda Yager) to present (18 to date)
- Personal Essay at minnesotaorchestra.org, Oct. 12/2018: “Mahler, Bernstein and Me” (https://minnesotaorchestra.org/blog/369-mahler)
- Secret Hearts (7/97) – not produced
- The Illusionists (11/99) — not produced
- The Bottom Line (8/02) – not produced; uploaded on Triggerstreet.com for 5 months
- Over the Rainbow (6/03) – not produced yet; uploaded on Triggerstreet.com for 5 months; may rework it as a novel
- Shadow Lovers (8/04) – not produced; to be rewritten as Perceval’s Secret