• Josh Warriner

Ashes of My Shame - A Bloom Story

My most recent piece has tested my mettle, but it is complete. Yet another masterpiece, for which the world cannot be ready.

They have never accepted my brilliance. Thirty years of medium defining work down the drain. Their scraps make excellent tinder, the inky pages warming my tired bones. In time it will be the scraps of my critics that will make the tinder. In due time.

My mind yearns for those days of youthful ignorance. It yearns for such confidence that the world would understand the genius of my work. They never will. The world sees my work, and they see something they do not understand. It is beyond them to understand that which is beyond the traditional, beyond the ordinary. They laugh, they say it doesn't conform to their rules. Their rules are bullshit. But they will never see it.

The keys challenge me. Their ivory forms command me to play harder and harder, to prove myself. They have tested me more and more each day over many years. They mock me. You are worthless, they laugh. Thousands of songs, but nothing worth a second listen. But this composition will show them I am worthy.

This composition has challenged me, it must go appreciated. Art that is given effort must go appreciated, it is the rule. Perhaps soon they will understand my work.

It needs a name. All good pieces have a name. I've paced these cramped rooms, trying to find the right words. But what words could fit something beyond normal understanding? There are none. I must follow the name scheme of a countless number of my pieces.

I calmly press my pen to the top of the sheet. A single stroke. Another. Another. Gracefully, I repeat the stroke over and over, until the top of the page seeps with ink. Now it is perfect.

The first five bars have vanished beneath the title. Five bars that would change music as it is known. What was there? Why don't I remember? I fruitlessly rub at the ink, trying to restore the notation beneath. Such motifs were unheard of, such mastery of form. But I cannot remember what I wrote. My masterpiece is fractured.

A broken masterpiece, like many others. A broken masterpiece is worth nothing more than tinder. The keys roar with laughter as I tear my masterpiece. They knew better than I that this piece was not ready. Perhaps it is the next one. They laugh again, they know that the next one will meet the same fate.

The shredded remains of my work ignite at the stroke of a match. Such ruined work demands a proper return to the earth. I drop them to the floor, and they sink against the carpet.

I sit before the cruel ivory, my wooden stool warm to the touch. I begin to play, crafting a perfect melancholia. With effortless stroke I create my true masterpiece. The keys are silenced by my chords.

I knew it. This is all it took. I play loud, with the energy of youthful ignorance. The world will know my music. They will know it at last. The wood surrounding the keys begins to crackle, and fall. The strings behind these malicious keys begin to snap, adding their own voice into this piece. You win! It cries. Finally. They recognize the brilliance. I knew I could still make a pretty song.

The flames travel up my seat, the walls, and engulf the keys before me, but I play on. My final song will be the one I have been waiting for. I play with the carelessness of my youth, as my music falls silent, the ivory charring beneath my fingers. No more ruined songs, no more unheard masterpieces, no more dead ends.

I am free at last.

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