Six Sentence Sunday: Mother Tongue

Good morning, Sixers!  Since my last manuscript is under review, today I will show you seven sentences from my newest WIP.  What happens when a professional violinist injures her hand so badly that she is not just unable to play but also requires help with daily tasks?  During Leila’s recovery, her pianist friend Carene takes her to the piano to play one-handed.  The results surprise Leila and deepen their relationship.



Leila lifted her hand noiselessly from the keyboard and set it in her lap.  How long had it been since she had touched a piano except to tune her violin strings to the A?  Violin had been her first instrument, as natural to her as breathing.  It was only later that she learned the piano necessary to every musician’s education but dull as flossing her teeth.  She had dutifully practiced her scales and Hanon exercises and etudes just enough to pass her juries and competency exams, but other than assistance with her equally dutiful composition and sight-singing classes she viewed piano as a detested Brussels sprout accompaniment rather than the main fare.  She’d never understood Carene’s love for the instrument even if she did enjoy listening to Carene make music.

If violin were her mother tongue, piano had been an awkward, workaholic father who came home after the children were in bed only to rage that his dinner was cold.

(c) Anastasia Vitsky


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36 thoughts on “Six Sentence Sunday: Mother Tongue

  1. Carrie Crain says:

    Everything about this moved me. I love how you incorporated images and feelings for the instruments describing the internal and external struggles facing her! Great job!


  2. Bas says:

    Sorry Ana, but I have to complain a bit:
    I don’t like that you compare me (the awkward, workaholic father who came home after the children were in bed) with detested Brussels sprouts.
    Besides, I never complained that my dinner was cold, because I always shoved it into the microwave myself.


  3. Cara Bristol says:

    You paint such a nice scene, such detail and creative description.

    I still remember my brief stint with piano lessons — the boring finger exercises. All I had wanted was to learn how to play a few songs! Do you play the piano, Ana?


    • Ana says:

      I was a very bad piano student. I loved my Hanon and etudes and refused to play the harder songs. I’m weird. 😉 There are some neat programs for adult beginners, though. They let you start out right away by playing simple songs. It’s never too late to try!


  4. J.M. Blackman says:

    This whole snippet is wonderful, but your details are so personal to the character and the last line is so great. I really feel like we got to know Leila in so few sentences. Beautiful work.


  5. Sue says:

    I hate standing in the corner. Well my dear that was one hell of an analogy – I love it when people ascribe human characteristics to objects, I have a hard time doing that but you did it brilliantly


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