The Musical Love Affair

71DZbeuvLiL._SL1300_

Lights blare; the crowd hushes to silence; only my footsteps crack harshly in the deafening emptiness. Thousands of beady eyes focus intently on each and every square inch of my body. Somewhere out in the dark theatre, a cough echoes, seeming inexcusable and out-of-place. I am alone on the stage, the only center for the room’s attention. I raise my eyes to the loge and a roar explodes from the crowd. My arms are raised above me head as I smile lovingly at the audience. Sitting on the deep-black leather piano bench, the room hushes in an uncomfortable, anticipative silence. My fingers delicately rest on the keys, my eyes scanning the magnificent nine feet of strings constituting the Steinway, stretched out before me. Taking a deep breathe in through my nose, I begin to play, the sound filling the monstrous theatre, my mind becoming intoxicated with sonorous music. I feel comfortable in the song for a while; then it changes; I am no longer at home where I am; the music transitions to a place very far from where I began. Emotion drives expression onward into the cavernous abyss. I am focused intently on the music; yet when one is accustomed to playing music, one knows that sounds bring back memories wrapped in the silken gauze of emotions, rushing out through musical expression. The end approaches, I feel. A sense of longing for it to never end engulfs me and I am reminded of so many other nights just like this one, equally as perfect. And then the song is over. I’m sure the crowd is clapping; their hands are moving; but the roar of music in my head deafens me to the sounds of the outside world.

A group of musicians comes out on stage with me and I’m sure that I make some gracious speech to the audience, however subconscious my words seem to be. The next song is counted off; I play once more. But the music has no real beginning or end, only ephemeral constancy. The heavy black Steinway is resplendent in the purple hue of the stage lights and I am suddenly unaware of all tangible things in this world. The music is all. In the air surrounding the other musicians and me, a creative energy flows, water-like, torrential, and imperious.

Just as soon as it began, the concert ends. I bow and leave the stage, waving royally as I exit. Alone in my dressing room, the energy fades, the lights burn out, the world comes rushing back and the dressing room feels cold and isolated. Thoughts are turned to reality: I should get some more gas; I think I’m out of lettuce; I should really head to the office and finish up some work. The stage is gone. The concert fades away.

I am alone on the stage. Dim radiance glows from the work lights throughout the theatre. The air lies dormant, thick around me. I am nothing; I am nobody; I have no talent; I have no worth; it is all a lie, a repugnant untruth; my life, my dreams, and my reality are all inchoate, prone, strewn across the wretchedness of the stage; doubt turns to despair which in turn turns to self-loathing. I try to play, but the feeling is gone, the emotions- all snuffed out. In the dim glow, the piano seems decrepit, deterrent, disdainful even. Tears stream down my cheeks onto the keys that once passionately embraced my fingertips.

But the clouds lift; the lights return.

The theatre is quiet but alive. Breathing deeply, I step gingerly onto the stage I know so well. And the roar begins again. Beloved once more, I am weightless, significant, and unaware of the despair that lies just beneath the surface, at least for a little while.

The crowd hushes once more and I scan those nine feet of strings. A musical love affair begins anew.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Audrey Brooke

the-view-from-the-penthouse-at-dawn

Cool, crisp, blue-gray air buffeted Audrey as she slipped out the front doors of her apartment building. She walked quickly on the way to the subway, conscious-as-ever of the work that lay ahead of her. The office was just three subway stops south, and given that she was virtually alone on the train, it didn’t take long before she was strutting up the hard cement steps and into the cold, New York winter air.

It was 5:30 AM to the second as Audrey glided up the icy front steps in her red leather pumps and black fur coat. She was a very punctual person, and the fact that it was a cold winter day was no excuse for tardiness. The lobby was deserted and virtually silent except for the harsh click of her heels on the mosaicked floor. She greeted the doorman cordially and strutted on, eager for the day to begin. After a lengthy elevator ride, she stepped briskly out and, arm outstretched in anticipation, slid the key smoothly into the shining silver lock.

The warm office lighting glittered on, as if it had been excitedly awaiting her arrival. And for a woman like Audrey Brooke, things always awaited her arrival. The view was lovely as it always was in the early mornings, Manhattan at its finest, she liked to say. Her purse bounced gently and quickly found a comfortable resting place on the side table against the wall. Her office was spotless as usual, she liked it that way.

Audrey looked stunning as always, red leather pumps, a black Vuitton bag, a light-mint dress that met her perfectly at every curve (not that there were many), and a glistening sliver necklace with matching earrings and bracelets.

It was typical Monday morning, if that were a real thing in the office of one of the most powerful people on the planet. Editor-in-Chief was the official title inscribed on her door, but she was so much more than that.  The black leather furniture and imposing adornment of decorations in her office hinted at the level of her power.

She was an elegantly dazzling young woman with golden brown hair and piercing blue eyes. She was effortlessly tall, strikingly authoritative, and above all, poised and charismatic.

The largest publishing company in the world, Brookestone, lay in her hands and her hands only; she liked that- being in charge. But what went unsaid in this office was the fact that Audrey Brooke was about to become not only the most powerful woman in publishing, but also one of the most powerful women in the entire world.

Audrey had the check signed and everything was in place for one of the largest buyouts in history. Audrey Brooke, the woman whom so many had forgotten when she was young, was about to show the world that she ran the news, the magazines, the books, the internet, and so much more.

Audrey Brooke was finally going to get what she waited so long for, and everyone else, well, they would get what they had coming soon enough.

Audrey’s blue eyes seared through the glass as she felt the warmth of the immense power she was about to gain course through her veins. Nothing could stop her now, and nothing would. For beneath that saccharine veil lay a much darker personality, one that was willing to kill, one that would use any means possible to get its way.

This was what Audrey thought about as she stared out onto the world in the earliest hours of dawn.

Today was her day, hers, or no one’s.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Urban Decay: Lonesome Beauty

wallpapers-desktop-photography-landscape-city-urban-wallpaper-cities-wallwuzz-hd-wallpaper-20326

A Light Shining out over the glassy water can somehow be the most radiantly alluring corporeality when we are alone in the city. That light encompasses the longing feeling we experience sitting alone, the city living and breathing and pondering just as we do. There is something unbelievably exquisite about the cars whizzing wildly by on the freeway. In each car is another person, another story waiting to be observed. The connection everything seems to possess in the city is jarringly palpable. The magnetizing beauty of the city isn’t in the lights, or the cars, or the architecture though. The beauty is in how glamorously lonesome the city persists to be. The city lets us be alone; it lets us be together. But what the city accomplishes eminently is that it guides us to our inimitable selves and steers us to the lovely lonesome facets that make life unimaginably amiable.

All loneliness is forgotten in the lonesome beauty of the city. We become one with our feelings and we realize in the city that the times we are truly alone are the most productive and introspective that we experience. We remember most the times we are alone with nothing but our thoughts. These are the best times not only because we are alone with our thoughts, but because in the end, all of us must find salvation in no one else but ourselves. When we live and breathe and eat and touch the city, only then do we know the reality of the lonesome beauty it possesses. The cogent beauty speaks to us in a way that little else can.

The beauty of urban life is not in the extraordinary or the fame or the wealth though. The pulchritude of urbanity is in the ordinary, simple life. Meaning and inspiration are found only when living in the world of never-ending busyness. Alive all the time, the city divulges values of hard work, independence, respect and love.

I find solace and serenity in the lonesome beauty of the decaying urbanity because it is more real than most things in life these days and more transcendental than most things we call normalcy. Urban beauty is existentially relatable and yet also entirely consummate to everyday life.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones