We recently published Shane Kowalski’s excellent “Five Million Beethovens.”
Here, we ask him two questions about his story:
1) So, why Beethoven? Why not five million Chopins or Bachs or Brahmses?
I think it was basically a phrase that popped up in my head: five million Beethovens. What is that? What kind of world is that? It just sounded right. I think there’s something musical about Beethoven’s name, too, in that combination of words. The double e’s sort of push off the double l’s in million. Also: when I hear the word “Beethoven” I think “restless,” “unfinished,” “sad,” and “dog.” And those seem like good things to start a story with for me.
2) I love the line “…they look like Christmas lights on a house where the family dog has just died.” Was that image one that came to you quickly, or was it one you had to spend a bit of time to get right?
This line came pretty quickly. It was kind of a quick, non-thinking improvisation. I was trying to look for a metaphor for “sadness” that you might have in a dream. It’s a sort of weird, almost intangible image to me actually…I’m still not really sure what it really looks like, but also I do…which is what made me leave it untouched and unrevised.