Torn Passions

That’s Italian for Before him all Rome trembled. These words come from Floria Tosca, the heroine of the opera Tosca, in reference to the chief of police Baron Scarpia. (We’re now in Rome, circa 1800.)

Scarpia will spare the life of Tosca’s lover if Tosca will grant him one wish: sex.

Tosca is torn. Her lover, Mario Cavarodossi, is a revolutionary arrested by Scarpia and will be sentenced to death if Tosca denies Scarpia. Does she give her womanhood away or save Mario’s life?

Continue reading “Torn Passions”

Wander Away

It’s a good thing for the mind to wander, especially for a writer.

The other day my mind was wandering and—I have no idea why, perhaps because it’s summer or I was pondering pasta with red sauce for dinner—I thought of a summer job in high school, as a busboy at Il Sorrento, an Italian restaurant in Dallas, Texas, now long gone. Every night I’d come home bone-tired, my pockets stuffed with one-dollar bills (my share of the tips doled out by the mostly Persian waiters).  Continue reading “Wander Away”

Play It, Maestro

A writer should worship words the way a maestro worships Mahler and play them with the same kind of fervor those maestros show on the podium. Using a different metaphor, I discussed this in one of my recent videos (released on our social media channels every Thursday morning). I’d like to say (or show) a few more words on this.

Playwrights tend to be especially gifted with language. Here’s a passage from Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus, in which a composer, a jealous rival of Mozart, discusses the importance of his profession:

Continue reading “Play It, Maestro”