The fourth story in The Book of Bartholomew is published today. The story Uncle Jeffrey the Violinist recounts a story Bartholomew once heard about his uncle. When Uncle Jeffrey was young, he was a very good violin player under the tutelage of Master Czoza. Master Czoza was a stearn instructor who would push Uncle Jeffrey to play his best. One day, Master Czoza gave Uncle Jeffrey the challenge of his life -- to play a simple sonatina well enough to make Master Czoza cry. Can Uncle Jeffrey pull it off? Does he have what it takes to move Master Czoza's heart?
At it's heart, the story Uncle Jeffrey and the Violin is a story about being an artist, about the role a father can play in a child's life and it is about grief. Artists are given a task in society to make people feel, to ground them in their emotions, to shed a light upon this life that reveals something more. A father can push a child through a life-task. He can be the force behind coming-of-age, when a child is revealed as something more than a child. And grief... for some men there is a great grief in the loss of childhood. We get to experience it so briefly in its truest form. There is grief when the time comes when we know our fathers will no longer take care of us, look out for us and guide us. Either it is because our father is not there in some manner or because we are no longer a "follower." We become the ones that must lead and care for others. Along with that responsibility can come great sadness.
These are the thoughts and feelings I have put into this story. It is one of two "ghost" stories I have written for The Book of Bartholomew. The other "ghost" story is, fittingly, Aunt Josephine and Her Long Ride. This is one of my favorite serious stories so far from the book. I hope you enjoy it.
Written by Mark Granlund, Illustrated by Martha Iserman and music by Emily Samsel.