As a writer and as a reader, I’m interested in the way that music can set a scene, hint at a subtext, or offer clues to a mystery. I’ve explored some of these options in “Gabriel’s Inferno.”
In one scene, I envisioned “You and Me” by Matthew Barber playing in the background while the central characters talk over dinner. This song emphasizes the differences between the characters and the way they have chosen to live their lives. The song also mentions the contrast between virtue and vice.
Few contemporary songs include references to virtue and vice, but Matthew Barber is not your typical singer-songwriter. You can watch him perform the song here. (And you can purchase the song from the “Ghost Notes” album on iTunes.)
Professor Emerson confesses to having all Seven Deadly Sins: pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony and lust. He thinks that he’s a magnet for a sin. On the other hand, the lovely Miss Mitchell is a paragon of the Seven Virtues that oppose those vices: humility, kindness, patience, diligence, liberality, abstinence and chastity. The virtues and vices are paired in this way because humility is the corrective for pride, kindness is the corrective for envy, etc.
Liberality is perhaps the virtue least familiar by name. It can be likened to generosity and it’s supposed to combat greed. We normally think of generosity in terms of giving to others, particularly in terms of donating money to charities or worthy causes.
Through Goodreads, I have been able to meet a number of my readers. The interface on that website is set up in a similar fashion to Facebook so that one can see updates on what one’s friends are reading, what their ratings are of particular books, etc. Recently, I saw that one of my readers was reading a series of books by an American author named Heather Huffman.
Mrs. Huffman describes her novels as stories about strong female leads who face difficult situations. She provides her books for free through Barnes and Noble for Nook readers or anyone who uploads a Nook application to their cell phone or PC or Mac computer.
Why would a novelist provide ALL her books for free?
Mrs. Huffman answers this question on the top of her website, where she states that she would prefer her readers make a donation to WorldVision or the charity of their choice, rather than paying for her book. In particularly, she encourages her readers to donate to WorldVision’s program to support and protect sexually exploited girls.
Mrs. Huffman’s work is a great example of the virtue of liberality. She donates her writing to charity and in so doing, inspires others to give of their talents to worthy causes. Donations don’t always have to be financial – one can donate time, things that one makes, or even one’s writing. One person can make a difference.
All the best,
PS. If you read one of Mrs. Huffman’s novels or if you make a contribution to a charity or a worthy cause, would you let me know? I welcome your comments below.