What is Your Music of the Night?

This morning whilst sorting laundry, I was treated to a rare concert. One of my house guest’s eight children is quite proficient at piano; as such, she was giving our lovely not-quite-as-prestigious-as-a-grand-piano some exercise.

Beginning with “The Phantom of the Opera,” she worked her way through to “The Music of the Night.” -At about an Allegro. I think Michael Crawford, wherever he is, felt a jolt. Heaven help me, I had to stop her.

First I exhorted her to slow down. Then I used words like, “hypnotic” and “seductive.” I finally pulled out YouTube and our portable speaker and let The Master explain it to her.

As a child I would lay next to the speakers in our family room and allow the entire 1986 original London cast to wash over me. Envelop me. Yes, even hypnotize and seduce me. My sister and I pored over the included playlist, read its stage notes, pictured in our minds what the music and speaking parts outlined.

I saw the daring, terrifying phantom descend into the masquerade. I trembled with pleasure at the image of his masked form waiting just behind Christine Daaé’s mirror. And I wept inside whenever I heard his echo to the romantic interchange between Christine and Raoul (skip to 4:03).

My poor visiting piano player didn’t know any of that, of course. How could she?

After I returned to my laundry, I thought about music. I thought about S. Chersis mentioning books as a craving and how that put me in mind of songs that I must listen to until satiation.

Phantom is not the only music I’ve loved. It’s not the only music I still love and still need to ingest periodically. I also cannot live without Chopin, The Pixies, Offenbach, Led Zeppelin, Book on Tape Worm, Evanescence, Weezer, Holst, Eminem, Prokoviev

When I use the word “love,” I do not exaggerate. These songs and others reach a part of me that nothing else can and help me to feel again.

Does anyone else ever get that way with music? What songs speak to you? Have you any that always have and always will?

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Plug into your favorites, and read what I wrote this past week:
Wednesday, June 26: Delved into our secret tastes with “Have You Any Guilty Pleasures?

Thursday, June 27: Re-blogged Lunch Break Fiction’s fantastic story, “Where the Wild Things Were.”

Friday, June 28: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bereaved Single Dad!

Saturday, June 29: Announced the 32nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is ‘Little Willie’ poems. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, June 30: Nothing. Still have house guests.

Monday, July 1: Re-blogged The Pale Rook‘s piece about self-value and creation. She’s an amazing writer and artist; check her out!

Tuesday, July 2: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Seven.”

Wednesday, July 3: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “A Return to the Dentist,” “A House Full of Kids is a House Full of Love,” and “A Very Short Parenting Poem.”

 

Photo Credit:
Mpumelelo Macu

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Smells Like Reanimated Spirits

You’re at a burial, dressed in shoes you didn’t have time to polish or lace up correctly. It’s a grey sort of day, overcast with rain coming soon. They’re lowering the casket into the ground and all you can do is stare at the stubborn knot in your shoelaces.

Someone lights up a cigarette after the service is over and you move away to avoid the smoke. Your heels slip into the soft ground and you get mud on the hemline of your clothes. You stop to catch your breath after a long day and close your eyes. You smell rain in the air.

There’s a piano you can hear in the nearby chapel playing a soft tune. You think they’re playing “Amazing Grace” and then it changes. A sudden thought strikes you: “I must get back into the car before the last note. Once the last note plays, it’ll start raining.”

You’re heading back to the car when you see a man standing at the fence. He’s dressed in overhauls and a flannel shirt, looking directly at you. You glance away but are drawn back by the man’s intense stare. He’s holding something in his hand. A letter? A book? You can’t tell. You feel you must find out, before the last piano note…

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Dodging headstones and mushy half-buried plots alike, you walk to the fence. And the man. Conveniently, they are both in the same direction. As you walk, you wonder at the prevalence of recently-turned earth. Just how many people have died lately?

The eerie piano playing from the chapel plays background beat to your even tread. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” will do that to a person, even if it’s a piano cover version and therefore lacks that awesome bass guitar.

Your attention draws back to the overall man who is fascinated with staring. Some people clearly need a hobby, especially since there are a lot more interesting things to stare at than a muddy-hemmed, sneaker-clad burial-crasher like you. You get closer and closer, noting his lack of blinking; his lack of attention on a bird that poops on his shoulder or on a passing dog that relieves itself on his trouser leg.

Just before you call out to him, his image blips and reloads. He is a clean, staring man again, proferring a flat object that is meant to look like a book. Thunder rumbles nearby, and he finally glances to the grey and heavy clouds. His gaze returns to you, who have stopped just before the projection of him.

“244224,” he says, monotone. “42,” he adds. Then, “2442.” He beeps.

You roll your humanoid eyes, reminded of how your familial assigners could not be happy with a short sequence like all the others. “Yes?”

“Precipitation imminent. Nirvana ending. Accept reanimation.” *Beep*

Your eyebrows raise. “Reanimation??”

“Affirmative.” He pauses, then remembers to *Beep!*

You look back and around at all the mounds of dirt, and swallow. It’s not easy considering the difficulties the body emulators had in transferring your normal shape to a humanoid form, but you manage. The sky growls again. A spot of earth near you seems to as well, but perhaps it’s the simulated imagination you’re equipped with.

Whipping back around to the hologram, you place your right forearm directly over the outstretched object in its hand image. The flat object glares a red light of warning. You realign. Still red. The growling from below ground is definitely not just your imagination now and you grit your teeth in frustration.

“Please align to shape,” the ‘man’ intones.

You try again and get the angry light again.

“Please align to shape,” he repeats.

Just as a very visible hand claws through the mud to your side and just as the final lingering notes of the piano are played, the tablet magically accepts your forearm’s outline and turns blue. “Code accepted.”

Your humanoid form releases a sigh of relief just before dematerializing. Your normal self, meanwhile, has a final, comforting thought. I am so glad that finally activated. Earth’s a real downer during a zombie apocalypse.

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From the story prompt beginning shared by the highly-imaginative, amazing, wonderful, and fantastic Peregrine Arc.

You can play, too! The submission window closes on April 12.

 

Photo Credits:
Daniel Jensen
Wendy Scofield