Cosmos contributor copy arrives!

CosmosI got my contributor copy of Cosmos in the mail and it’s lovely. This marks two firsts for me; first full-size magazine and the first time my name appears on the cover. (It’s in the lower right corner) As promised in their guidelines, there’s a two page spread of art to go with my story, “For Solo Cello, op. 12.” Mmmm… art. In color! Ooo. That’s also a first. My heavens, this issue is full of so much excitement I can’t stand it. Not only that, but the rest of the magazine is really good.

The title of the story comes from a piece of music called, The Cellist of Sarajevo, A Lament for Solo Cello, op. 12 by David Wilde. In my story, I don’t touch on the creation of this piece of music, but it is a fascinating story in its own right.

“On May 27th, 1992, a grenade was thrown into a bread queue at the bakery in the pedestrian precinct Vase Miskina in Sarajevo. Twenty-two people were killed. Every day after this tragedy, the cellist Vedran Smailovi?, until recently with the Sarajevo Opera, went to the spot, in full evening dress, at four o’clock precisely, and risked his own life by playing in memory of the dead, regardless of mortar and machine gun fire and the risk of further grenade attacks. The report by John Burns the New York Times of this heroic musical declaration made an impact more immediate than any political statement up to that time. I first read about it on a train from Nürnberg to Hannover. As I sat in the train, deeply moved, I listened; and somewhere deep within me a cello began to play a circular melody like a lament without end…”

“A circular melody, like a lament without end,” is exactly the right piece of music for my story. Here are the first few lines; please pick up a copy of the magazine and read the rest.

For Solo Cello, op. 12

His keys dropped, rattling on the parquet floor. Julius stared at them, unwilling to look at the bandaged stump where his left hand had been two weeks ago. He should be used to it by now. He should not still be trying to pass things from his right hand to his left.

But it still felt like his hand was there.

The shaking began again, a tremelo building in his hand and knees. Julius pressed his right hand–his only hand–against his mouth so he did not vomit on the floor. Reaching for calm, he imagined playing through Belparda’s Étude No. 1. It focused on bowing, on the right hand. Forget the left. When he was eight, Julius had learned it on a cello as big as he had been. The remembered bounce of the bow against the strings pulsed in his right hand.

Don’t think about the fingering.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!