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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To read more Fictioneers’ stories, click the link:

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.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~

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

~~~~~

Lush

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). This story is based on the lyrics of the great Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” and the weekly photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Friday Fictioneers.

Photo Copyright: Lauren Moscato

Photo Copyright: Lauren Moscato

I’ll live a lush
Life in some small dive
And there I’ll be
While I rot with the rest
Of those whose lives are lonely too

– Billy Strayhorn, “Lush Life”

Lush

by Jan Brown

The only thing I got in the divorce was a small jazz bar in a rather dubious neighborhood. It was aptly called “Hole in the Wall,” but most people just called it “The Hole.”

There is a feeling, when you walk in the door, that you’ve entered another universe, a dank, dingy world where there is so much darkness and pain that your own personal problems seem less ominous in comparison.

He still visits on weekends when I sing, despite the restraining order. Last night, he looked so old, so smashed, so irretrievably sad. And then he pulled the gun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can read other Fictioneers’ stories here, and even add your own.

You can learn more about Jazz Appreciation Month by visiting their  Facebook page.

As an extra added bonus for reading this far, here is Lady Gaga’s very luscious version of “Lush Life.” Enjoy!

Not Love at First Sight

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers!  This week’s photo prompt inspired me to think about the admiration I have for so many musicians. There seems to be a universal reaction to music as the language of love, or at least the language of infatuation. Are you old enough to remember the crowds of screaming young girls at every Beatles concert?

In the world of opera, as well, there is no shortage of passionate tenors, powerful baritones and handsome basses. I remember my reaction to a shirtless Samuel Ramey as Mephistopheles. Oh. My. God.

As I looked at this week’s prompt, I wondered about the reverse situation. Do men fall in love (or fall in lust) with their favorite female opera divas? This is the subject of my 100-word story, below.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields leads our international band of fictioneers by providing a photo prompt to inspire us each week. Writers from around the world post 100-word stories, based on the prompt. You can see them all here, and you can post your own story, too!

Many thanks to David Stewart for this week’s photo.

Photo Copyright: David Stewart

Photo Copyright: David Stewart

Not Love at First Sight

by Jan Brown

He was drawn immediately to her mezzo soprano voice. It was love at first hearing, not love at first sight. He pushed his way through the throng of admirers to introduce himself.

She was drawn immediately to his fawning adoration. To know that her voice stirred something in his heart—what an ego boost! He professed admiration, but hinted that it was love. She was deeply moved. For her, it was love at first conversation, not love at first sight.

But–was this really love?

Twenty-five years later, they were still married, she was still singing, he was still admiring.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Listen

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. Please visit her lovely blog for more information…and join us if you wish!

This week’s photo is by Jennifer Pendergast. Thank you, Jen!

jennifer-pendergast4

Listen

by Jan Brown

Church attendance skyrocketed when the aliens settled on earth. They loved the choirs! They couldn’t sing, of course. They had no vocal chords.

On their own planet, they communicated telepathically, so there was no need to speak. They could hear through multiple orifices sheathed by sensitive membranes that alerted them to approaching vehicles, bad weather and the soft footsteps of their cuddly domestic pets.

But they had never heard singing. They had never experienced the poetry of opera, the raw emotion of jazz, or the awesome power of gospel music.

They were here to listen.

They were here to stay.

 

For more Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link:

NaPoWriMo 17 – Morning Song

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem that provides a detailed description of something using at least three of the five senses. It’s recommended that we describe something we encountered or experienced today.

Morning Song

by Jan Brown

morning feels like the aftermath of an assault
surely someone had attacked her knees and hips
while she fitfully slept
perhaps an angry debt collector
a sour-faced enforcer or
a fundraiser for the arthritis foundation
wielding a baseball bat

the acrid odor of stale sweat
another reminder of the night’s
pain and thrashing
gives way to the sweetness
of lavender body wash
doesn’t smell at all like lavender
still it’s delicate and flowery
giving purpose to the wisps of steam
that reorganize the kinks in her tendons

taste buds waken against their will
to the dry minty medication
that melts in her mouth
as advertised
a dozen more pills
to wash down with breakfast
she gives thanks to whichever greek god
created fat-free yogurt
and all the tiny morsels of mango
that lurk at the bottom of the plastic cup

she greets the world outside her window
seasonal colors waiting to be seen
but doesn’t come alive
until she hears the morning’s song
a harmonious cacophony of birds
going about the business of a warm spring day
the rhythm of lawn mowers and leaf blowers
the whistle of the train
the soulful latin jazz refrain
morning’s almost gone
but her song remains

 

 

NaPoWriMo 9 – Stella by Starlight

The National Poetry Writing Month challenge for today is to randomize or shuffle your favorite playlist, write down the next five song titles, and use them in a poem. I used the jazz playlist on my iPhone. The specific titles and artists appear below the poem, as well as a live performance of one of the songs. Enjoy!

Stella by Starlight

by Jan Brown

he plays salsa music all night long
then dances at the after-hours club
the beat of the conga
revisited
reminds him of home
where he and his sweet
Marianela
danced in the moonlight
strumming his hands on her body
like the chords of his bandola
but he’s a long way from home
and Marianela

so he dances with Stella by starlight
hiding the gold ring in his pocket
the music shifts into slow gear
and they begin a dance with no steps
tired feet riveted in place
softly swaying as one
her backless dress inviting
his naked left hand
to trace the curve of her spine
and press her to him
as they listen to blues
for the night owl

The playlist includes:

Stella by Starlight – Stan Getz

Marianela – Arturo Sandoval

Conga (Revisited) – Arturo Sandoval

Blues for the Night Owl – Ramsey Lewis

Gold – Hugh Masekela