Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Bellweather Rhapsody"

Kate Racculia grew up in Syracuse, New York, where she played bassoon in her high school band. She received her MFA from Emerson and is the author of This Must Be the Place and the new novel, Bellweather Rhapsody.

Racculia applied the Page 69 Test to Bellweather Rhapsody and reported the following:
Page 69 of Bellweather Rhapsody comes in the middle of chapter six, “Bad Rabbit,” which is in the close-third point of view of Bert “Rabbit” Hatmaker—shy, seventeen, attending a weekend conference festival for student musicians (he’s a bassoonist), and on the verge of coming out to his twin sister Alice. It’s 1997, and while Rabbit has long known he’s gay, the world has never felt friendly, and he sees this weekend away from home as his chance to confide.

Page 69 is the aftermath of a pivotal moment. On their way to dinner in the grand ballroom of the crumbling old Hotel Bellweather, Rabbit and his sister happen upon an a capella club performing The Outfield’s “Your Love”—and he immediately falls for the lead tenor. Moments later, he’s still glowing:
Rabbit enters the ballroom behind Alice and Chrissy, herding them like distracted cats toward the end of the buffet line. If he hadn’t just fallen in love, Rabbit knows he would be disheartened by the pale, wet food stretching before them, borne about small blue Sterno flames, in dented silver warming pans. As it is, he looks on the grayish slices of roast beef and the weirdly off-white mashed potatoes and smiles, happy in the knowledge that the tenor is in the world. He disturbs a layer of skin across the vat of gravy and daydreams about a situation, a moment, when they might meet.
Rabbit is an absolute romantic, even in the face of disgusting institutional food, and this is one of my favorite paragraphs for capturing just how much of an optimist he is. Of the many characters in Bellweather, he might be the closest to my heart—and this passage certainly is. As a teenager, I too attended a state-wide student musician’s conference at an old hotel (minus, of course, the murders, disappearances, and all-out drama). I too happened upon cute boys singing a capella on my way to dinner, and those cute boys were almost enough to distract me from how terrible the food was. (Almost.)

Bellweather was built from a mix of memories and love—love for music, for mysteries, and for the capacity of humans to solve the mysteries of their own selves. Rabbit, on page 69, is basking in having found his first clue.
Visit Kate Racculia's website.

Writers Read: Kate Racculia.

--Marshal Zeringue