The Cannonball Adderley Quintet live at The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, California, 1960

Here is a piece I wrote about music in Silver and Salt, for David Gutowski’s site, Largehearted Boy, “a literature and music website that explores that spot in the Venn diagram where the two arts overlap.”

I always write with music. Silver and Salt is the first thing I’ve written about music.

Neither of the Hollingbourne sisters, Vinny and Ruthie, plays an instrument, but because their mother, Sophie, was an opera singer, and their father, Max, liked listening to jazz, they grew up with it.

In their very early years, while Max was away and Sophie played the piano, Vinny curled up under the piano seat with her hands on her mother’s ankles, and the baby Ruthie lay on the lid and felt the notes inside her body. Before Ruthie was born, and the family still lived in London, Sophie took Vinny to rehearsals when she sang-in for friends: taking a piece of cloth made from the sail of a boat in Nice, which her own mother had used as an artist, Sophie tied her daughter to her body, so the sound soaked into her.

When I was a child, my mother played classical guitar. I sometimes think of the sound made by the skin of her fingertips brushing on the strings, in the tiny invisible moment before the note itself sounded.