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Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings May 11 2012 · 528 views

15-minutes vignette write-off

Another 15-minute write-off; the theme: Music. Enjoy.


The music resounded in my ears. The fluttering of the flutes, the whispering of violins like the winds; the pitch getting higher and higher to the point of near pain before suddenly ceasing, then whispering again.
..........It was beautiful.
..........The instruments played on ever furious, the intense melody still somehow soothing. When the last note played, the crowd erupted in applause, and I with them. I clapped loudly, even after all others had ceased. People looked my way, but I continued until the music started again, ignoring the glances and staring of others. Satisfied, I quieted, leaning back in my chair, closing my eyes, and letting the music fill my ears.
..........Again the music came, and I let it inebriate my being, filling my mind with the sweet melody. This was my high. The thrill I sought. To hear the instruments playing together, faster and faster in a crescendo until the climax was met. The clashing of the cymbals, the blasting of the trumpets. The winds, the strings. These were what I loved.
..........My glasses had slipped slightly and I pushed them back up with my index finger. I ran my finger and thumb across my nose, wiping away an itch.
..........I leaned forward, resting my chin on my hands. I stayed for a moment longer, listening to the sweet sound before I stood up from my chair.

~ :: ~

The gunshot reverberated throughout the small room as the man fell onto the now blood-stained carpet. The storage room was located directly beneath the large concert hall, and the glorious euphony could still be heard above.
..........The second man, on his knees, immediately began whimpering, begging for his life to be spared unlike his companion.
..........Most would want him silenced, but I did nothing, and ordered my men to do nothing, simply standing there as his sobs became more and more profound. It was music to my ears.
..........The music above us ceased, and I knew the concert was wrapping up. Too bad. I would’ve liked more time with him, I thought to myself as I put a bullet between his eyes.
..........I looked to the two men standing by the doorway. “Take care of the bodies,” I said simply. They nodded, and I walked out and back into the concert hall, clapping with the myriad of others at the talented musicians.

~ :: ~

~ Velox

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Jean Valjean
May 11 2012 10:54 PM
Music In Part

They say music is the most beautiful thing. I wouldn't know; I've never heard it.
..........That might sound odd to the normal person who is connected to time and space, but I have not had the luxury of experiencing those concepts in a while. My physical, emotional, and intellectual existence were stipped away from me at one point in time, and now I exist as a mere spirit. The beginning of this story is a bit hard to explain in intellectual terms, as it sounds as if it was someting that happened in time, yet it happened all at once and yet not at all. To best explain, it was an idea, and ideas never "happen".
..........My only company was perhaps the spirit named Jack. I would have felt bad except the concept of feeling had been taken away from me, for he was fortunate enough to experience Creation on a more wholesome level, for he knew both time and space.
.........."They are playing good music in the 19th century," he told me, referring to the works of Beethoveen and Wagner. Yes, I knew of that, except I couldn't remember what it was like. Music had so many dimensions, and I had not.
.........."It sounds like it would be a wonderful concept," I replied. "If only I could remember what it was like."
..........Jack leaned in and whispered my name. My name. As it happens, it is impossible to name a person, for they transcend words. It was not an act of sounds such language or music, nor was it a visual image that depicted my identity in regular terms. It was beyond the mundane experience of communication through the senses, for there was no sensation to rely on. Our communication took the purest form, for Jack was talking in the language of spirits. It was a deep and personal acknowledgment of exactly who I was, beyond the mere string of ideas that made me up and more of a comprehensive understanding of the singular idea that was Me. It rung throughout the spirit realm: I AM.
.........."I will bring you back to your world and I will show you music," said Jack.
..........And that was when I discovered what music truly was.
..........Unfortunately, since he delivered on his promise, it has been so very easy for my mind, accustomed to the reality of the lowly conscious, to forget it, but every once and a while it comes back to me when I see Mary and understand her beauty, and when we sing together. When we sing, I hear the old song again, the song of who I was, and then I see it in her and await the day that I can see it more clearly.

:kaukau: There's my fifteen minutes. Maybe I should post that in my blog later on. That's actually based off of a fictional character of mine, Monosmith, although he's a supporting character and my narrative is always in third person except for journal entries and in the curious case of Deleta, a particular character of mine.

But anyway, constructive criticism:
I find the subject matter a bit grim at the end and am not sure why it turned that way. Did you run out of ideas for describing the music and add a regular plot twist or were you randomly going through it without much thought? Either way, it didn't seem planned. This is a timed vignette, after all. I guess it's not the way I would have made a story, since even though you definitely set up a scene I felt that it lacked a distinct statement.

Perhaps that's me being the type of writer who goes for universally recognizable archetypes right away and tries to apply them to areas of life that will appeal to most readers. That includes my grandmothers, although one of them never reads fiction.

The second thing that stands out to me was what I supposed was the important part, which was the actual descriptions of music. I'm accustomed to trying to put the music of John Williams in words, since someday I'd love to direct a film and work intimately with a composer to create things with such distinct feels as Williams and classic composers such as Beethoveen, Bach, and Wagner. The thing is that I see so much in music. I often have music in my head, not so much the literal notes that compose it but the feelings behind those notes, and since I'm not the best of composers I try to explain it to people in terms of music, ad hopefully it will translate. In my mind it often does. Music has amazing power to direct, conduct, and narrate our perception of reality, and I suppose that I would have described it in those terms; that is to say, describe in detail the narrative created by the music. Otherwise, what I was getting was a description of instruments that lacked a real soul.

However, I imagined the music of Wagner while reading this to give me something to think about, since the initial beginning reminded me in a way of the short story A Wagner Matinee. It's really good and I would suggest it to anyone who reads this.

The final thought I had on the matter was that the villain (I think he was a villain) reminded me of Gary Oldman's character in The Professional. It's a really sick movie and I would not suggest it to anyone who reads this.

Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh
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Your story was very interesting with the idea of spirits existing like that. Spirits really are an interesting topic. Are they really not able to hear music? Who knows, really, but it's a cool thing to think about, what spirits can and can't do. I could go into further but it'd most likely get religious, haha. It definitely makes me want to know more, though, as I am slightly confused as to what exactly happened to him and where he is/what he is doing now. Still, though, you took an interesting perspective to something: people who can't hear music. I would've liked to have more of his thoughts about what it's like not being able to hear things, and then what it's like when he does hear the music, but I realize time limits things. Still, a good story here, definitely a very interesting concept as I said.

I think the main thing about my story for you is that I just didn’t have a theme for it – sometimes with these things you have a theme, sometimes it’s just a scene with no real point to it except entertainment and it being interesting (to some people, at least, hopefully =P). As it was a timed thing, I didn't really have time to plan, but there was still a reason for what I wrote it the way I did, why I made the ending as I did. For example I wanted to make the reader think: are the two sections about the same people? I never say they are, and I never say they aren’t; I left it up for the reader to decide (or for me to decide if I were to ever finish it – yes, I have my answer, but I don’t want to tell people, instead leaving it for them to decide for themselves). Obviously the guy in the second part (whether he's the same as the guy in the first or not) is some sort of mob boss and incredibly ruthless and evil. This was kind of born out of an idea I had for a serial killer, except that guy was even worse and it was about artwork rather than music. But anyway that's another thing entirely.

Basically, I wanted to show two different thoughts of music -- one is enjoying the music for what it is. Beautiful, classical music; something to be appreciated. The other part is a sick, twisted form of that -- enjoying the "music" of other people's suffering. It's supposed to be disturbing and grim, because obviously that is an incredibly sick thing. That's what I was trying to show. Either there are two different people, one who is respectable because of his fascination with classical music (but possibly slightly odd because of his over-fascination, but still by no means a bad person), and the other completely not respectable for his grotesquely twisted mind, or it shows how one single person can have two extreme views. He may seem like simply a lover of classical music on the outside, but on the inside there's something more -- something much worse, much more evil.

So what's the theme of this? As I said, nothing really except the fact that it shows there are horrible people. I think it would be a somewhat cool story to finish, because I could have the satisfaction of the guy receiving justice at the end, but as it is it's just a short vignette showing this one scene, not really meant to "say" anything but just a description of one or two very different people.

As for the description of the music itself, I see what you mean, but that's just not how I wanted this guy to perceive the music -- everyone, I think, enjoys music differently. Some enjoy the sounds of the instruments, some enjoy the sound of the music as a whole -- the way the notes are written and put together and stuff like that, some see the music as words, some may see the music as an image of something, it could be inspiring or it could be something people hate. Point is, perspectives are different; this was simply the perspective I chose for this character. He focused on the sounds of the actual instruments than anything else. It lacked soul for you because you don't think of music the way (and I don't completely, either -- yes I appreciate the sounds of the instruments, but not so extremely as this guy) this character does -- for him, it didn't lack soul at all, as that's exactly what he appreciated.

As always, I appreciate your comments; it's cool to see your perspective on things, and I'll definitely keep in mind the things you said for future stories.
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