A new starting point for the post-60s: “After my fiancé died, I turned to songs” | Bereavement DayDayNews

largeouisa Young is a renowned novelist and memoirist. But after her fiancé, composer and pianist Robert Lockhart, Died in 2012 at the age of 52, I want to write the words too much. She turned to songs, recorded an album, and then gave her first live performance two years ago, at age 60.

The show took place in a room under the clock tower at St Pancras station in London – “very high Gothic, full of clock devices”. Guitarist Alex Mackenzie accompanied her; together (in the name of Birds of Britannia), they put her words on an album, you leave early – same name her memoir About life with Lockhart. The audience included the former boss, ex-boyfriend and her singing teacher.

“I wrote the lyrics on a piece of paper. My arms were shaking; the paper was flapping. I was holding on to the piano. I pretended I was a different me. I pretended to be a me who always did.

“Your whole body feels different. And then this noise comes out. You think: ‘Can I do it? Wow!’ Singing is physical, it’s mental, it’s emotional; if you have that tendency, That’s spiritual. It really uses all of you. And you’re the tool.”

Music and singing have been throughout Yang’s life. She is one of six children and the car vibrates with the singing on a family trip.

When She Wants to Spend ‘Lovely, Peaceful, Quiet Time’ with Her Dad – Writer and Politician Wayland Young – She would catch him at the grand piano. “If you just have to rely on his jumper or something, it’s a good time.” Sometimes, when he plays, she sits under the piano. “I love the physics of it. A grand piano is such an amazing beast.”

We were seated at a table at the Young’s in west London. As he spoke, he looked to the next room, which was filled with Lockhart’s grand piano. Although she says she plays the piano “very badly,” she uses it to write songs. “So it feels like a living thing to me.”

When Lockhart was diagnosed with cancer, he bought Young singing lessons “Let me cheer up”. After his death, she made the album with some of the money he left her. She knows many musicians and asks them for advice. “But you look at the music industry and run away screaming. Especially for women. Certainly for older people. So I thought: ‘Okay, I’m going to forget about this. I’m going to do it and see it will take me where.

Is it difficult to divide her creative self into songs and novels? “I kind of dislike it,” she said. “A phrase will come” and she’ll know immediately whether it belongs to a page or a song.

Songwriting and singing transformed her identity as a fiction writer. “I’ve been looking for the musicality of language in a way that I wasn’t so open before,” she said. her latest novel, twelve months and one day, in part through the creation of characters through songs. “I will continue to make music and will continue to combine it with my writing,” she said.

None of this would have been possible without these singing lessons—and not at all when she was young. “I don’t think I will dare I opened my mouth and really made a sound. I think I’ll write these songs and sing it to myself very quietly and think, ‘What a shame, I can’t do anything else for them. ‘”

Singing is “a life to escape. I’ve always had this thought: “What would my life be like if I decided to try this?” “The whole sliding door thing. But I never had the confidence.”

She has now been found. “I realized: If I just stand up and sing, that’s allowing other people. So what if I fool myself? Others can fool themselves, so you’ll have more fun, you’ll create more stuff, You connect with people. It’s human and warm.”

Twelve Months and One Day by Louisa Young published in 9June (The Borough Press, £14.99).to To support The Guardian and The Observer, order your copy at Guardianbookshop.com. Shipping charges may apply.

Tell us: Is there a new direction in your life after 60?