Music Therapy

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a lively and friendly international writing community. Between Wednesday and Friday of every week, we each post a 100-word story to share. This week’s photo prompt is courtesy of John Nixon. Thank you, John!

To learn more about us, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

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Photo Copyright: John Nixon

Music Therapy

by Jan Brown

Lizzie stared at the old player piano. It was rigged as a joke, to look like a clown was stuffed inside. But it wasn’t making anyone smile.

So Lizzie dissembled the clown, then reached inside the piano and deactivated the player roll. She sat down and began to play her songs.

People gathered round. Broken people, people whose psychoses were so overwhelming that all they could do was scream or moan. Now they were quiet. Listening.

Lizzie began to sing. Her throaty voice carried through the halls, carrying with it her damage and, most of all, her hope.

People smiled.

 

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To read more Fictioneers’ stories, click the link:

Love Will Always Win

It’s been a month since I posted my last story. Where is my muse? Nothing creative is emanating from my mouth, my fingers, my brain.

breathless
she tries in vain to sing
nothing but darkness emerges
her voice silenced by despair
when will her muse return

Perhaps this poem that I wrote on Twitter awhile back is more appropriate for this sad, unholy week, when we are mourning the loss of 49 souls and wondering what evils lie ahead.

Purple Angel

Poem Copyright: Janet L. Brown, Image Copyright: Kerri McClellan-Fotolia.com

Many have said that it’s no longer enough to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. They say it’s time for action. We can see it in the blocks-long winding line of people who volunteered to give blood in Orlando. And we can hear it in the public discourse about gun control legislation (or lack thereof).

In his  June 12th statement to the press, President Obama once again asked the country to do some “soul-searching” about the ease with which people can get assault weapons in the U.S.

We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.

– President Barack Obama

I wonder if we can finally agree on legislation that would ban or reduce the sale of these weapons, or at least build a database to ensure that access is limited.

A California pastor’s sermon went viral over the weekend, as you already may know, because he blamed the victims for their own deaths.

The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job.

– Pastor Roger Jimenez, Verity Baptist Church

This is the worst kind of hate speech–words that are delivered by a pastor, who we are supposed to be able to trust! Fortunately, no one seems to agree with him. Love is stronger than hate. Love will overcome the devastation wrought by any man. Even if he has an AR-15. Even if he has a pulpit from which to spew hate. Love will always win.
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Love, Accompanied

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise.

This week’s photo is courtesy of C. E. Ayr. Thank you, C. E., for a fascinating photo! It prompted me to imagine a concert hall in a vibrant city on the water, where amazing concerts are given every night by the world’s most talented performers. My story explores what happens when two of those performers fall in love.

For more information on Friday Fictioneers, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

concert hall ceayr

Photo copyright: C.E. Ayr

 

Love, Accompanied

by Jan Brown

It happened the first time she heard him play. 

That’s how musicians fall in love. They listen. Not to the frailty and false promise of words, but to the heartfelt passion of music that cannot be feigned.

He became her accompanist, a move that boosted both their careers. The sizzling electricity that passed between them was exhilarating! 

They never acted on the sexual tension, not wanting to risk their partnership. But now, in the autumn of her singing career, she could not imagine being apart. She looked at the pair of gold bands in the jeweler’s box, and hoped he would feel the same.

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To read more Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link:

Daydream

NaPoWriMo Day 30: Our last challenge for NaPoWriMo2016 is to write a homophonic “translation”  of a poem written in a language you don’t know. In other words, write a poem that mirrors the original in sound–-or what you imagine to be the sound–of the original words.

I selected a poem by José Marti (1853-1895), a champion of Cuban independence from Spain and a prolific writer and poet. This particular poem is part of a collection that was dedicated to his son, who was born shortly before Marti was deported/exiled to Spain. Its title means “I Dream Awake” (I looked it up), so I tried to give the mirror poem a dreamlike quality, while also keeping in mind that the collection honored his son.

The original poem:

Sueño despierto

Yo sueño con los ojos

Abiertos, y de día

Y noche siempre sueño.

Ysobre las espumas

Del ancho mar revuelto,

Y del león pujante.

Monarca de mi pecho,

Montado alegremente

Sobre el sumiso cuello, —

¡Un niño qu me llama

Flotando siempre veo!

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My mirror poem:

Daydream

Your swanlike carriage languishes

Ably escorting me through days

And nights of struggle

Stealthily approaching

Dancing and marching in rhythm

Before entering the crypt

The arena is deserted

And the lion prowls alone

Core of my compassion

Mighty legend, a young man

Voice sweet and low as a cello

Effortless as the wind

Floating beyond the veil

~~~~~~~

Reverie

NaPoWriMo Day 29: We are challenged to write a poem in which each line starts with “I remember.” We’re asked to focus on specific details, and not whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. 

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I remember the youth group, our trip to Vermont. At night, we listened to comedy albums, back when we thought Bill Cosby was still a good person.

I remember the concerts, astounding acoustics for our college choir. Drinks at the Yacht Club (which had no yachts, and no body of water) before…and after.

I remember the Artist’s Café, the heady lunches in late afternoon.

I remember spring break. We got married.

I remember the move to Wisconsin, the blizzard with snow so deep only snowmobiles could traverse. No power or water—only the cheese shop was open.

I remember Main Place, the Saturday brunches that lasted till the bar closed Sunday morning.

I remember dinners with John at the Inn, Friday night fish fries and dance bands.

I remember the trips to Arkansas–warm, sunny Christmases and barbequed goat on New Year’s.

I remember Summerfest and 70’s music.

I remember the divorce.

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Backwards in Time

It’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), and I’m completing a challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days. Today, I am combining the daily poetry prompt with the Friday Fictioneers’ photo prompt. The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem that tells a story…but tells it backward. Thus, the first line of the poem is the end of the story. As I see it, I have four challenges: make it poetic; make it tell a story with a beginning, middle and end; make it work whether it is read forward or backward, and keep it to 100 words. You can let me know if I succeeded in the comments!

For more information on Friday Fictioneers, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

antique store mary shipman

Photo copyright: Mary Shipman

 

The nightmare ended as quickly as it began

She turned to watch her pursuer vanish in a cloud of dust

Dazed, she ran through the doorway into the mall

His face red with rage

He turned to look at her in her flimsy sundress

His harsh words echoed through the rafters

Hyper-religious

Hypocritical

Brutal

He reminded her of her grandfather

A man in Victorian dress berated a young clerk

Dizziness overcame her

Sun peeked through high windows, reflected off dust motes

The walls were as faded and stained as the wares

The antique store looked like a portal in time

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To read more Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link: 

When Words Aren’t Enough

NaPoWriMo Day 26: This is inspired by a prompt posted on Twitter by @MadQueenStorm. The prompt is a question: “What do you do when words aren’t enough?”

When you’re sick, words are not often enough. Platitudes don’t really help. People remind you that things could be worse. “At least you can be thankful you’re alive and breathing.” Hmmm….maybe so, but if you’re in constant pain, it doesn’t really feel like living. Words sometimes hurt more than help. So I often rely on music for comfort.

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I sing

soulful melodies

express what words cannot

~~~

I smile

rousing symphonies

take our hearts to a better place

~~~

I listen

downbeats of jazz

infuse us with energy and love

~~~

I sigh

you hold my hand

we wait for peace to return

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Sunny

For NaPoWriMo Day 25 (yes, I am running behind!) we are challenged to take a line from an existing poem and use it as our first line. But…we must take the poem in a completely different direction than the original.

I took the first line from “The Fall of Rome” by W. H. Auden, “The piers are pummeled by the waves.” Auden’s poem offers a dark view of the state of civilization. While I do not disagree with his assessment, my poem takes inspiration from a restaurant in Sausalito.  From that perspective,  life was joyous, not despairing, and the view from the piers was quite sunny!

sailboat

the piers are pummeled by the waves

each hard, rhythmic slap

in time with the beat of jazz

the miles of blue I hear

and see before me

gulls dip and dive for bread

honking thanks as they take wing

sailboats glide

laughing and waving

sun cuts through the fog

sparkles off our glasses

bread, brie, fruit, wine

all these are ours

and the ocean, too

for one long day

life is good

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Symphonies

NaPoWrMo Day 24:  This draws inspiration from the prompt posted by @MadQueenStorm, “if we were symphonies.” 

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if we were symphonies

I would play mine

and send it through the air

resonating through the trees

warbling from the throats of birds

echoing through the streets

bouncing off buildings

all the way to your house

when you hear it

would you think of me?

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if we were symphonies

I would play yours

to keep me company

in the solitary dark

I would dance with your allegro

drink wine with your adagio

peal laughter to your scherzo

hug you to the rondo

would it resonate loudly

or fade into the space between us?

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