Tuesday, June 12, 2012
…with the greatest of ease
I admit it. I'm old enough to come from a family that gathered around the piano to sing in the evenings, which is actually more fun than watching TV. My mother had a big book of songs, and one of them was "The Flying Trapeze." This particular song was inspired by trapeze artist Jules Léotard, who also gave his name to the skin-tight garment I wore in ballet class. It was published in 1867, and obviously written by someone who had never tried trapeze work, if he thought it was easy. I've taken classes. It's not.
Marion Zimmer Bradley, when she was doing research for THE CATCH TRAP, went even further; she traveled with a carnival, working as the assistant/target for the knife thrower–and for the rest of her life she had the scar on her breast to prove it, acquired when someone took a flash photo just as Dino released the knife. She said it was the only time he ever missed. It's a good thing the knife hit fatty tissue and not anything vital. (The incident is even mentioned briefly in the novel, as overheard conversation.)
At the time I met Marion she was converting two boxes of typewritten manuscript into a coherent novel. I read the manuscript before this process was completed, but it was still a gripping read. The portrayal of circus life was so compelling that I felt as if I were part of the trapeze act. I learned a lot about flying from that book–the original title was THE FLYERS, and when I was preparing the new print edition and had the manuscript in my Gmail account I went back to that title, because the ads for pest control services were getting annoying. All of the eBook versions were done in 2010, but we didn't start doing reprints of MZB's backlist until this year.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a Google alert for "Marion Zimmer Bradley," and last week it produced a lovely YouTube video done by someone in Germany, with the book covers and a flying sequence with a nice clean triple. But there is another video there that shows just how hard a triple is, and proves the old adage that the third time is the charm.
THE CATCH TRAP is available from: