Monday, January 26, 2009

one step.

Welcome to story time.

Leah stared at her piano. She and four others had been chosen to perform in a musical competition, a scholarship to any school of their choice was the prize. She wasn’t fretting over the prize, however, but with whom she would be preforming.

Her finger pressed down on a key. The note disturbed the morning silence. Unsatisfied, she played a chord. The sound wasn’t as barren.

She sat at her piano on the small stage, waiting for her fellow performers to arrive. She was anxious to meet them. What if they weren’t as capable as her? Reason told her that they would not have been chosen if that were the case.

She was placed at the side of the stage, with a drum set behind her. A microphone hogged the center. A singer. Why should they have a singer? Voice ruined the instrumental effect.

The future group’s conductor stood by Leah, jabbering about something that wasn’t filling her ears. His name was Professor Keats. Within the first few minutes of greeting him, she concluded that he was an absent-minded old man who didn’t know that plaid and stripes didn’t match, as was his coat and shirt. He had white wispy hair and bifocals. And he was supposed to be genius.

A sudden jump of tone in his voice made her focus in on his words. “Ah!” he exclaimed, “Here is one of our violinists.”

Her vision targeted in on the boy. Young man was the more correct term. He walked with confidence, with his violin case tucked securely under his arm. He was tall and topped with dark hair splayed around his head He stepped onto the stage with grace.

“Ah yes! I presume you are Mr. Michael?” Professor Keats asked. The boy inclined his head. “Good, good. This here is Miss Leah, our lovely pianist.”

He flicked his gaze down at her then back to the old man. Leah set her jaw. Mr. Michael seemed rather unsocial.

Once the professor had told him that he may warm up if he wished, Michael turned and walked to the opposite side of the stage. She felt herself gasp. From his case he produced a beautiful violin. A handsome boy with a handsome instrument. How fitting.

Within a few seconds a melody unfurled from him. Leah pretended not to notice, but her ears disobeyed her brain and soaked in the music. He was good. Brilliant.

She heard the creak of the door open and shut. In walked a small boy with large glasses and baggy clothes. He too cradled a violin case. Once on the stage, he tripped over his untied shoe laces, sniffled, then peered up at Professor Keats.

“Ah dear sir, and you are Mr. Laurence?” The professor smiled. The boy replied with a high voice. He could surely not be in high school, thought Leah. Unless he hadn’t hit puberty yet. Laurence shuffled over to stand by Michael, whom he gave a small peep of a greeting. Leah turned back to her piano. The music in front of her danced across the pages, tempting her to play. Without thinking her fingers coaxed a few notes out. She stole a glance at the violinists. They were staring back. What would she create? With a smile she started the song. Her song. The song.

She had fallen in love with it when she had first gotten the music. She had let her fingers stroke the ivories until they mastered every measure. She could play it flawlessly, but she never tired of the song. It was woven in her heart. She was the pulse. The foundation. She cradled the rest of the instruments in her palm, in her music. She had to press the beautiful notes into the audience and awaken them.

She was lost in the song when a spill of light from outside interrupted her. The arrival of the drummer, she guessed, because he did not appear the singing type. Her first thought was that he was a punk. Tattoos on his arms and ragged jeans, he skipped up onto the stage, two taped drumsticks in hand. He looked at Leah, winked, then turned to Professor Keats.

“Mr.. Ah.. Jared?” the old man asked.

Instead of replying, Jared reached out to high five Professor Keats, and as he didn’t know what to do, the drummer slapped his back instead. He then made his way to the drum set, seated himself, and launched into whamming the drums with his sticks. She couldn’t play now. The drums would swallow her music.

Minutes passed with no show of the singer. Michael gave up trying to practice with the hammering of the drums staining the air. He leaned against the wall, occasionally glaring at Jared or glancing at Leah. She showed no warm emotion towards him. Little Laurence was determined that the room could have a lovely sound if he and the drummer played, but no avail. Jared was ruthless. He never stopped. Sure, he was excellent, but he was mutating into annoyance.

Then she entered. The singer. The member they didn’t really need. She strutted onto the stage and Leah’s heart was thorned with envy. Of course she was beautiful. Beautiful with a beautiful voice. How fitting.

“The last of our members! Miss Alexandra.” Professor Keats beamed.

“Alex,” corrected the singer. Her voice was sharp. Alexandra to Alex. Chop the name in half, leaving a lifeless name behind.

“Pardon... Now!” Professor Keats cleared his throat, “For the next few minutes, please get to know each other, as you will be spending a great deal of time with one another the next few days.”

Leah slowly stood and trudged to the middle of the stage, where Alexandra was. The boys followed. Professor Keats mumbled something about his wife and disappeared.

The five teenagers stared at each other. The singer cut in the silence and announced, “Well, I don’t know about you, but this is a waste of time. Let’s just practice. Especially the part where I come in.”

Anger bubbled in Leah. Seeing that no one else was going to protest, she said,

“Shouldn’t we start at the beginning?”

Alexandra zapped her eyes on Leah. “Why? Only you play there. You should already know your part.”

“Same for you! Why do you want to start in the climax of the song? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“The climax is the most emotional,” Alexandra growled.

“But in order to get to that level of emotion, we need to start at the beginning and work our way up.” Leah returned.

“Don’t know ‘bout you guys, but I say beginning,” Jared said. With that he settled himself at his drums. Alexandra shot a death stare at him, but Jared winked back.

Silently Michael and Laurence went back to their stations. Leah seated herself at her piano, and began.

There was too much tension in the room. She could feel it. Her fingers felt it. Her music sensed it. It wasn’t lush as it had always been. The music was attacking the air, not enveloping it into a lullaby. Her confidence dwindled, but before she could pull out Michael came in with his violin. He was supposed to hold her up and amplify her. Instead it sounded as if he were fighting her. He was struggling for his sound to immerse hers. To balance it, she struck the keys harder. A voice cut them.

“STOP!” Professor Keats exclaimed. “What is that? You are supposed to be great! I’ve never heard such a thing in my life! Flow together! You are at peace, not raging in a war! Again!” Leah’s eyes wandered toward Alexandra. She was smirking at her.

Furious with herself, Leah focused in our her part. At too fast a tempo the strands of notes came barreling out. She heard Michael shyly enter, as he knew this wasn’t right but didn’t protest.

“Stop! Leah, come here.” Professor Keats ended gently. Humiliation burned her face. Trembling she went to him. She looked at Michael. He looked livid. “What’s wrong with you?” the violinist spat. “You played it well before! I heard you!”

Her anger boiled over. “In case you haven’t noticed, the atmosphere in this room isn’t exactly peaceful.”

“Now what Miss Leah is saying is true,” Keats remarked. “This is a beautiful song, and without its performers feeling the beautiful emotions that are supposed to flow with it, well, this isn’t the song, is it? Now why are you five not content?”

No one stirred. Exasperated, the professor sighed. “Come now. There is no point in practicing if you won’t cooperate.”

“To me, it seems as if the pianist isn’t cooperating,” injected Alexandra.

“Look guys,” said Jared, “Let’s just do this thing, okay?”

“I don’t mean to interrupt,” suddenly squeaked Laurence, “but time is almost up. This is our shortest rehearsal...”

“Mmm yes I see... Well you five get a goodnight’s sleep, and be fresh for tomorrow!” Professor Keats tried to end on a happy note.

Leah felt tears threatening to spring. She was ashamed. Since when had she not been able to play? Forgetting her music, she dashed off the stage and slipped out of the auditorium into the failing light.


She lie in her bed, body pounding. Slits of anger cut her, while a cloud of depression muted the intensity. A thousand questions jabbed at her mind, wondering why she had failed. Sleep was out of the question. Leah rolled out of bed and stared out the dormitory window. Ants with headlights filed down the interstate. A small light grasped her gaze; a lone star shone in the ink. Probably a satellite, she mused, as no other stars were present.

On a whim she turned and walked out of her room. She padded down the hall, making sure she wouldn’t disturb the fellow musicians. She stifled a chuckle. Some musician they thought she was.

Once in the auditorium, and abandoning caution, she settled herself at her piano. Maybe they would hear her and realize that she could play; she just had to be in her element. Not wanting to listen to a couple of warm up notes, she plunged into the song.

The melody started, a relentless strand that slowly grew and cleared the way for the violin, who drowned her after a few measures, but that was the beauty of it. The drums would then come in, supporting her, and the second violin would fly...

She restarted. The music was in her blood now and her fingers danced across the keys. Let everything out. Her pace quickened. The angry energy and thoughts from the afternoon poured onto the piano. The still air gulped her sound and became alive.

Once she was satisfied with her playing, and had probably woken everyone else, she let her fingers walk, playing whatever path they wished. Leah closed her eyes and listened to what was being created. She realized that she had started the song up again, only this time it sounded different. More passion? She opened her eyes and added her other hand. More. Grow. Build. The violin came in, and she let her heart fall onto the ivories.

The violin. She wasn’t imagining it. She whirled around. Michael stood staring at her, violin poised “Why did you stop?”

“W-Why are you here?” she mumbled.

“I heard you. It was like a dream, so beautiful.” he walked over to her. His hair was ruffled. “I had... to join you.”

She smiled at him and faced her piano. “Start from the top?”

“You don’t mind if I stand here, do you?”

“Not at all.” Leah whispered.

She stitched the air with the song, passion was the thread. After a few measures, Michael crept in with a crescendo. He flicked his bow, creating a counter melody that meshed with hers. He steadily grew louder until he was dominate and she was supporting him. The second violin soared in, lifting them to the skies. She and Michael kept rising, and Laurence reached as high as he could go. Leah blinked and found Laurence standing beside them, eyes closed and playing his heart out. She grinned and turned back to her hands. The drums suddenly started, a soft beat, helping her piano part keep afloat in the beautiful chaos. He eventually surpassed her however, as it was supposed to be. She listened to them leave her behind with a smile.

The unexpected voice slammed her down to earth, and with shock she watched Alexandra sing while staring at Leah. She kept playing the piano and stared back, determined to not drop her gaze first. She soon realized that it was a wasted effort, as Alexandra’s expression was gentle. Alex was gentle. Leah smiled, and the singer smiled back. Her voice took control of the song with Laurence backing her up. The voice smoothed a path in the midst of the music, allowing them to gush past into the non-existent audience.


When they finished, no one spoke. Echoes of the sound still hung in the air. Professor Keats had joined them with tears in his eyes. Leah’s heart was pounding; she had never experienced anything like this. Alex burst out into a joyful laugh. Leah followed. The two locked eyes and were branded by friendship.


The audience was a whisper. All eyes, including the judges, were on the five musicians. Leah sat behind the piano, hands on the keys, waiting. Someone she didn’t see announced who they were. Individual names were pointless, she thought, as the past days had formed a bond around them She tossed a glance at Michael, who nodded back at her. Jared winked, Laurence smiled nervously, and Alex beamed. They were whole.

They were ready. The people were ready. The hushes died into silence. Leah’s heart imitated a jackhammer. The spotlight was all on her. If she messed up...

She pressed down the keys. Her body started moving with the music. She coaxed the melody into the people; she had to break down their guard. Her pulse hopefully melted them away...

Michael eased in with her. With his bow he aided her into awing the audience. She and the violinist were flung into a deeper level of passion. His sound flooded hers; she had formed a crevice big enough for him to get into the audience’s minds. He streamed through.

Laurence’s part leaped over them, beauty tailing his notes. He surged by, widening the crevice into a gap. They were getting through. When Leah could be heard no more, Jared grasped her with his rhythm. He barged through the gap cracking it. Their sound flowed in. They grew. Unstoppable. Michael prepared for the voice. Breaching any resistance from their listeners, Alex pushed them all through. Leah and her part stood back listening. Their sound rushed by her, leaving her to pay her same melody. The same beautiful melody.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

random

She has nothing to say. Sometimes she moves as if she's in a movie. Trees were swaying with the wind yesterday. It made her want to dance, though she doesn't enjoy dancing. She was happy Sunday. All of Sunday. She helped a friend. She made honor band. she saw a massive group of birds dominate the sky. She thought it was magic. There is magic. One just has to look for it. Her thoughts are gushing out of her mind.

Why is she writing a blog post? She has nothing to say. Maybe a story should form here.
Maybe it shouldn't. She's going to rewrite Augustine and lengthen it.

There's her story.

Overall this post is pointless.

But she's well. Just not cultivated well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There is no time to write. Everything is tugging on her, demanding its attention before writing. One night she came up with a good first line for a story. Any story. And there it remains. Nothing added. Scream.

She also needs to read. She wants to plunge into an ocean of novels; but responsibilities are chaining her to the shore.

She sat in English class, staring at her score. Her friends fluffed themselves up with pride, as their grades were extremely good. Shouldn't she be extremely good? She normally was. Why today? Why on this test? Was she an idiot now? Anger burned inside her. Why couldn't she have done better? The room was silent except for the teacher's voice lulling the class to sleep, except her. Her body was tense and coiled. She wanted to bolt out of the room. She wanted to race down the hall and fall into nature's arms.

Her body remained in her still position, while her mind pulsed. Was she slipping? She had been steadily climbing a mountain of grades, defeating it with a smile. Had she lost her balance? Was she falling?

Falling...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

cookies

Click here.

By me.


In the car, the voices pounded into her ears, so she turned up the volume. Escape...

The sun fell, sucking all color with it, leaving silhouettes.

Friday, January 2, 2009

help Lord.

She stood in a white room. It was empty except a few paints in the corner. She felt placid and dull, staring at the walls. Nothing. She could go to sleep and dream to escape this drab confinement.

Her eyes wandered over to the paints. All the basic colors were there, untouched and brand new. Brushes and a glass of water stood by them. Her hand twitched. She crossed the room to the paints, mixed up a nice shade of green, dipped a brush in it, and stroked the wall. One trail of one color.

Nothing yet. Maybe she should just sleep.

Sighing the continued to paint. Maybe something would spark.

On one patch of the wall, she had made colors weave in and out of each other. A rusty gear in her mind began to turn. More colors. The gears were increasing their speed now, as was the amount of paints on the wall. She drew vines constricting trees, wind that whipped the rain to fall in a certain manner. A forest. A kingdom. A girl stood in the middle of it all, looking up at the clouded sky and tasting the drops on her lips.

One wall was done, three more to go.







She can't finish it. The room was supposed to be filled with thousands of things, thousands of ideas and thoughts. Thousands of ideas she can choose to write about, but it cannot be. Everything is hiding from her. She reaches her hand out to pick up an idea, but it shirks away. She is left with nothing. There is a hole in her mind.

She sat at her piano, trying out different keys. A few notes strung together, then died. No song would come.


She needs a story. Desperately.