Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Waiting Opus

I just entered this story in a writing contest. The prize for second place is a Barnes & Noble Nook. The prize for first place is a Nook, $500.00, and a professional review of the story. If I win second place, I think I will regret that I did not win the review, more than the money. Go figure.

     I began in Venice, when the old man happened to hear an accordionist playing on the streets. He was only a poor busker, not even very talented. But something in those jaunty rhythms inspired the old man. At that moment his search was over. Quickly, he departed for his home in Munich; and set to work on me.

     For years he labored, trying to shape me into what he knew would be his masterpiece. He would spend weeks at a time finding variations on my theme, or deciding that my fourth movement would be thematically similar to my first but tonally different. For the first year he concentrated mainly on my melody, fleshing it out to a total of six movements; for the next year, he focused more on my arrangement and instrumentality.. The remaining years I am not sure of, as the old man was not well.

     For a time it seemed as if I would never be finished, my strings seemed to defy the old man’s every attempt to make them swell in just the right way at the end of my second movement. But at last, four long years after that afternoon in Venice, I was complete, a monument to creativity and perseverance. But he was weak from working so long, and for some reason believed that no one would accept me, that they would laugh at him and reject him. Exhausted, depressed, and angry, he soon lost all his hope, and quietly passed away It seemed I was doomed to be a lost masterpiece, a pure idea that would be forgotten before I could be missed.

     However, this would not be the case. The old man's house went to his son, a talented pianist. He found me stuffed in a desk drawer, between other, scattered scribblings. His musical mind soon realized I was no half-finished project of his father's, and he began studying me.

     He got some paper, and began copying me down onto it, but on two lines instead of many. Sitting at his piano, he played various parts of me, which re-awoke the desire I had given up on, the desire to be, with nothing between me and the world.

     When he had finished, he flexed his fingers, and played me as a whole. Words cannot describe the feeling, to flow from his fingers, to the piano, and out into the room, spreading throughout the house, into every crack, every keyhole! It was, by nature, an imperfect arrangement, and I knew this was not my true form, but I was content.

     Anyhow, he was very pleased with me. He began including me in his performances, and soon I became a favorite among audiences. But still I felt incomplete, and was beginning to tire of this compressed existence when one afternoon, the young man met one of his friends in an art gallery. He said “That piece you've been playing, the new one? I really like it, and I was thinking, maybe you could get somebody to orchestrate it; I just think it might sound better. What do you think?” The young man smiled, and said he would see.

      About a month later it was time. The audience was gathered, the performers practiced, the instruments tuned. A few minutes ago a the directer made a speech regarding me and the old man, saying that “Who knows? One day this could be one of the great classics of music!” Well, perhaps so. It doesn't matter, nothing matters now except that the conductor is walking up to the podium, and my wait is over.


  1. Cool Tim, a neat little story. I thought that it was a statue that was being sclupted at first. Now I see it's a sheet of music with a mind of its own.I never thought of music have thought or feelings (that is for stories).

  2. Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked it. It's not exactly a piece of sheet music, it's more the piece itself,the idea. It's a small difference, and it is nitpicking to mention it, but I figured out a long time ago that I have OCD, otherwise I wouldn't play my Tin Whistle even when I'm not aware of it.
    Thank you for reading. Soupy Twist!