Smoked Salmon Canapés
Cheese Plate with grapes, pralines & honey drizzle
Five-plus years ago I used to portray Mozart on a website I designed to provide an educational service for students. It got very popular and ran for about three years. My idea was that young people could learn about Mozart, not only via the material I provided (bio, pictures, all that), but also by conversing with him through email and a personal message board. It was very rewarding and I received tons of letters from students all over the world, asking Mozart sometimes funny, sometimes difficult questions. Some of the writers were young prodigies who simply needed a little emotional support from the ultimate child prodigy. Naturally, I kept my true identity hidden, not because I had anything to hide, but for the sake of those young people’s fantasy of actually communicating with the composer. Of course, they knew it wasn’t Mozart; it was a Santa Claus kind of thing. Everyone had a lot of fun.
Not long after I set up the message board it was visited by a group of women who at first pretended they didn’t know each other. One of them (I’ll refer to her as Sister Agnes of God) was the author of a new book on Mozart’s wife and she wasted no time in using my forum to promote herself. I didn’t have a problem with that, and we began what I thought was a growing online acquaintance. We even wrote to each other privately and she sent me a copy of her book in the mail.
It was about that time that one of the other women (one who pretended with her to be strangers meeting for the first time on my board when they’d actually known each other for a while) asked if she could read my manuscript, and I said sure. (I’ll refer to her as Sister Innocenza.) We’d been writing to each other for a while and were pretty good online friends. Remember that all this time I kept my true identity a secret, but I did use a male pen name with the adults with whom I’d developed a correspondence and who wanted to know who was behind the Mozart mask. I wasn’t ready to let them completely into my private life. Most people on the Web don’t. I was also trying to get my book published; my decision to use a male nom de plume was because in the Mozart world there is a great deal of misogynistic snobbery, and how could I possibly write Mozart’s memoirs? What could I know about Mozart as a man?
It turned out that this little clique had a different idea about the Mozart marriage than I did. So what? I didn’t care, but they obviously did. A lot. When Sister Innocenza read my book, she took it so personally that she told Sister Agnes of God about it, who in turn sent her copy back to me unopened and unread. I didn’t understand. These women then did everything in their power to discredit me, not only by bad-mouthing me privately to some of the young people who frequented my forum, but in other Mozart forums as well. And why? Because my opinion of Constanze Mozart was different than theirs.
Privately, I began to call this hen house “The Sisters of St. Constanze” because their vehemence about such a small matter bordered on fanaticism, and their devotion to Frau Mozart was worthy of a cult. Some of the things that were said about, and to, me were downright malicious. In an email to a mutual “friend” Sister Agnes of God called me, a “monster” and a “perverter of innocent youth.” WHAT? Why? Because of the conclusions I came to after years of research? It’s not like I wrote that Mozart and his wife ran a brothel, or an opium den, or were pedophiles, or into child slavery, or anything like that. All I wrote was that, as a man of his times, Mozart enjoyed a few extra-martial romps. For crap sake, his own wife said so in interviews after his death. Besides that, what’s it to these people? The man’s been dead for over two-hundred years.
This little cult very quickly ran the educators and their students off of my site. Some of the students were befriended by these women so that they could turn them against me by filling their ears with all kinds of nasty lies. It hurt. It hurt a lot. It broke my heart, to be truthful, and I closed the site down. And who really paid the price? Those kids who were having a good time.
The Scheisse really hit the fan, however, when I decided to drop the male pen name and pursue the publishing of my book using my own name. Now I really was a perv in their estimation. “Oh my god! Steph and Lynette are… are…” The Sisters of St. Constanze never forgave me for that. I mean, what does it mean when you find out you’ve had a crush on someone of the same gender and you couldn’t tell? Especially if you’re a conservative Christian, which they both are. It means I was a bloody good actor and that my Mozart was flawless, thank you!
Fast-forward. About a month ago Lynette joined a discussion forum where “The Sisters” dominate the members with the same old crap. If anyone disagrees with them about St. Constanze, they lash out with nostrils flaring and spittle flying. I don’t go there. I never want to see those crazy women ever again. They brought me too many nightmares that recalled the movie, “Misery.” I’d actually forgotten about them and figured they’d tired themselves out, but I was wrong. Now, it seems, they see me hiding behind every poster who disagrees with them. I’m being accused of posting under assumed names right and left. I mean, who the hell am I? Get over me! When Nettl told me about this, adding that Sister Agnes of God is throwing out passive-aggressive remarks like, “Who are you now, Stephan, or Steph, or Mozart…” So, what’s your point, sister? Do you think you know something about me no one else does and that you have some kind of power over me by holding my identity over my head?
This catty shit pisses me off. Who gives a rat’s ass about the Mozart marriage? I went into the forum tonight and read the posts for myself, then I wrote a simple clarification for the members, stating that I never post there and never will, especially hiding under an assumed user name.
Makes me kind of worry about what they might do once the Rhombus film is out, though. That film’s going to surprise a lot of people who think they know me, and some of those who do.
“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind
and won’t change the subject.”
“There is no place in a fanatic’s head
where reason can enter.”
I’ve always possessed a great deal of energy and could run circles around people half my age, but when my life came toppling down around me after I moved to Denver in 1992, I felt all of that energy draining out of me, as if I were being bled to death. I seriously thought I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the longest time, and was even treated for clinical depression. I now believe I was just overwhelmed by circumstance and too much responsibility. I hate to say it, but everything started to get better after my mother died last December. I loved her, but she was manipulative and abusive.
This evening, with Heather blogging, Lauren at work and Nathan at a concert, Nettl and I slipped out to Cafe Bella for dinner. I had the turkey and Swiss panini sammich and a latte, while Nettl had the spinach quiche. We shared a cup of tabouli with baked tortilla chips. Afterward, we went to Hobby Lobby and we naturally saw plenty of things we’d like but can’t afford. There was a granite-topped patio table and two chairs we may go back and get though. We did buy some paints so that we can “age” a plaster pedestal we have in the living room. It has a beveled glass top on it and is used as an end table for my wing back reading chair.
Tonight I have a legitimate excuse for staying up all night. I usually go to bed around 5:00 a.m., feeling guilty (why, I don’t know. Must be all those years of being in the yuppie work force), but at 5:30 a.m. I’m driving Lauren to school for a trip her band is taking. Because Nettl works outside the home all week I thought it was only right that I should do this so that she can sleep in.