If there had never been a Palestinian intifada, I might never have written my novel about the death of Mozart, MOZART’S LAST ARIA, which is published today in the UK by Corvus.
Of course, 4,000 people would also be alive who are now dead. In the course of writing about that destruction between 2000 and 2006, I saw some terrible things, experienced some frightful emotions, and internalized shocking facts about the world around me. It would’ve been easy to become depressed or to descend further into the post-traumatic stress disorder that nipped at my mind quite frequently.
Mozart saved me from that.<!--more--> I used to listen to his music in my armored car as I drove through the dangerous roads of the West Bank or on my iPod as I huddled in my Gaza hotel after a day dodging through refugee camps where Palestinians and Israelis were fighting it out. The Maestro’s great works soothed me, enabled me to achieve an emotional calm, when all around me was horror and chaos.
I didn’t use the music to ignore what was happening. Rather the music kept me open to the world around me. I didn’t have to shut out the horror; I could watch it and try to understand it. Because the great Wolfgang was sending me musical signals about the beauty and peace that exists at the core of every man. We only need listen to Mozart to know that he speaks to this part of us, and his immense popularity and immediacy is a sign that it truly is something we all possess.
There’s a good deal of research about Mozart’s music and its phenomenal ability to calm all kinds of disorders and, certainly, to soothe us when we’re stressed. Kids with attention-deficit disorder have been shown to concentrate better if Mozart is playing in their classroom. Epileptics are less likely to have seizures if they’ve been listening to Mozart (an element I worked into the plot of MOZART’S LAST ARIA.)
Read the rest of this post on my blog The Man of Twists and Turns.
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