W.W. Norton published my first book, You May Plow Here: The Narrative of Sara Brooks. The Fundamental Note published my second book, Dancing Girl: Themes and Improvisations in a Greek Village Setting. I first came across the term “fundamental note” in the late 80s. A book club where I had been guest author with You May Plow Here had invited me to join their group. I don’t remember the title of the book we read or the name of the author or the details of the story—it was about a British woman adventurer who drove her car all the way to the Near East around the time of the First World War. Something like that. I don’t recall the context in which the words were used. I just remember the term: the fundamental note. I liked the sound of it.
And the meaning. In music: the root of a chord, the generator of a series of harmonies. The perfect name for the imprint that would publish stories about the women in the Greek village I had come to call home—and my life with them. Differences notwithstanding, I came to understand that the women of Elika and I have in common feelings that need to be expressed. We have in common a spirit that wants to be set free. We share this yearning: to sing the fundamental note that vibrates within.
Knowing this, it seems appropriate that The Fundamental Note has now published my third book, Dances in Two Worlds: A Writer-Artist’s Backstory. The essays and the paintings I made during the past 20 years document obstacles I have faced, questions I have asked, actions I have taken. The process of writing and painting transformed how I experience my past—what had often felt like a hindrance has become a positive force. The past has become my ally. And the yearning has given way to gratitude. The fundamental note—sung over and over again—in technicolor.