The contest closes Monday October 10th, 2011
|Ode to an Urn,oil on linen 24"x48"|
|Ode on an Urn 11"x8" watercolor on rives bfk|
Round #2 of Renovated Reputations will culminate in three shows. One show will be in December 2011 at the Art Museum of Los Gatos in California. Two others will be in February 2012 at Ohlone College in the Louie Meager Art Gallery in Fremont California and the Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento California.
The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.
The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words. Please post the story in the comment section, you will have to provide your name and an email address in order to be qualified to win or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your info. There is a problem with how many characters can post (only about 4,000) so if you cannot post it.
E-mail it to me at email@example.com
This is the second version of this show!
Round #2 of Renovated Reputations will culminate in a show at Ohlone College in Fremont, California at the Louie Meager Art Gallery in February 2012.
Stories will be published in a vintage style newspaper catalog and the gallery will be converted into a 1930 or 40's cabaret set and students will be acting the stories out as monologues at some of the events at the college in the art gallery.
These came in by e-mail:
More competitions posted on my website at:http://www.kenney-mencher.com/
These came in by e-mail:
Trouble Cliff by Patrick Nelson
Clifford stood leaning out over the precipice weighing his decision carefully. Literally over the precipice. Twenty floors up. He was surprised he could hear the noises from the street below as well as he could. At night like this, he assumed it was much easier to hear all the traffic than during the day. He had no previous experience on which to base this, he just thought it was awfully loud. He had never actually gone so far as to pry open the windows of his apartment before, even though he had thought about it often recently. It was her, egging him on, goading him into this action. It took quite a bit of resolve to cut through the layers of old paint which had sealed them shut for who knows how long. It actually took him most of the afternoon and a good part of the evening--seeing as how he wasn't very handy with tools of any kind.
Clifford was a gentleman and therefore, any strenuous work was usually delegated to another man in the building. Clifford had lived there fifteen years with his lovely wife, Geraldine, and of all the repairs--a leaky faucet, a running toilet--all such things were handled by good old trusty Ebenezer, the superintendent. Clifford decided to do this job himself, because he knew old Eb would have frowned on this suggestion and may have even realized why Clifford really wanted the widow open...
"Well, darling," he said as the cold Autumn air whipped past him "just like everything else in my life, you doubted I could do even this. Well, here I am."
A strong gust sucked the thin curtain out of the apartment and wrapped it tightly around his chest and face. He pulled one hand away from the window ledge and struggled to free himself and almost lost his balance. Even in his brief panic, he thought it funny that he was about to step out into nothingness a second before, but the drapes coiling around him kept him from it. He laughed as he thought that he had to free himself before he "freed himself."
If he went, it would be like everything else: on his own terms. He was a perfectionist, after all. It was what drove him to pursue and eventually win over his dear Geraldine, the perfect woman. It was what had propelled him to the top of the musical world on Broadway two streets over. Right now, at least seven marquees down below boasted musicals by the great composer Clifford LeRoi.
Yes, even his death would be the perfect orchestration he had envisioned when he sat down and contemplated it.
"You taunted me doggedly about my shortcomings and how you always knew when it came down to it, I 'wouldn't have it in me.' Here I am, ready to prove you wrong, once again! What have you to say to that, my sweet little day-lily!"
Her voice echoed through his head as if she were standing right there on the ledge with him, "Well, Mister Bigshot, do it. I don't see anyone trying to stop you..."
The wind now whipped his pant legs furiously, as if it too was urging him into action. A car horn blared on cue which he deemed the perfect note to which he should end his tortured existence. He would have written a death scene exactly this way. There would have been a cacophony of brass and drum which would have swelled up and come to a crescendo of musical violence signifying the torture in the soul of the hero. The final touch would be a clash of cymbals as the damned man leaped out into the air. But, no...
"This is what you want, is it not? You, my dear, would love to see the final act end this way, wouldn't you?" he said as he leaned back into the apartment. "You would be the maestro of this piece!"
A chill which did not come from the tunnel of wind outside, froze him to the bone. The realization that she was, in fact, the one responsible for this scene made him see things more clearly than he had in weeks. He stepped in from the ledge and chuckled deeply in his chest. This turned into a wild roar of laughter which echoed through his home. When it made it's way back to his own ears, it seemed as if another person was laughing at him. Was it her? How dare she laugh at his anguish? It furthered his resolve to not jump out of his window. It actually began to make him angry.
He stopped laughing and instead, bellowed with rage, "You dare mock me? I am the one who brought you up from nothing. I am the one who gave you everything and you repay me by laughing at my torture?"
"Oh, my dear, sweet, genius!" he heard her voice cooing in his ears. "How could I even dare to think you anything but the hero you told me you were. The man who would make my life a paradise on earth? You did bring me up from nothing, but in your childish attempt to control me, you just managed to push me away."
He covered his ears, but her voice still crashed inside his mind. Bouncing about and smashing any other thoughts, "You destroyed me. You destroyed what we had just so you could see me under your control. I was like a part in one of your petty little shows. I had to do what you wanted and say what you scripted. You did this to us, not I."
He raged around the room and began to smash things: the sculpture they had both brought back from Milan, the Tiffany lamp that she 'simply had to have,' and he even smashed the large Ivory ashtray they had picked up in Africa; the one she treasured so much.
The tirade continued for the better part of an hour and yet she laughed and goaded him tirelessly, "Yes! That's right! Destroy it all like you destroyed me, little man!"
Her laugh became a cackle which did not lessen even when he became so tired that he had to crawl to the piano stool and struggle to seat himself. Here, even, where all of the good things of his life sprang forth, could not lessen the anguish he felt.
He looked around the room and realized the extent of his destruction. The only things he had not destroyed were his beloved grand piano and the urn. Both remained without even a scratch. He thought it odd, but was too tired to do anything more.
"See, darling?" Geraldine's voice called, "You couldn't even bring yourself to destroy these things. The piano, your dear and only friend and me, your worst enemy--besides yourself, that is."
He just sat defeated. He knew she was right about it all. He had destroyed everything. He did the only thing he could when he was this tired, he wrote.
Despite his fatigue, he began to compose. He wrote all night and as the red and orange hues of daylight began to climb up the backdrop of the city, he finished. He penned his signature on the last page of the music, rose and stretched. He was spent fully, now. Yet he still knew he must bring forward the strength for one last deed. He went to the urn. He stood before it and lifted it to his chest. He caressed it and put his cheek against the cool marble. It seemed to hum from within.
He strode over to the window cradling the urn and took a deep breath of the city air. It was still early enough that the fumes of traffic were not too strong. He thought he could even smell the faint aroma of the trees in Central Park as they shed their foliage. They were turning themselves over to the grey and lonely eventuality of the long winter.
Clifford took one last look around his apartment and stepped out into nothing, still clutching the ashes of his sweet Geraldine.
Les fantômes du sonore
by Elisa Bandy
When the pianist had met the woman who was to become his wife, it'd been clear to him that she'd been crying. There was a handkerchief in her hand, well-worn and well-used, and her eyes were puffy and red as she thanked him for his performance of Tchaikovsky's most famous piano concerto. It was impossible to resist her when she asked in a broken accent accompanied by gentle tones, “Could you play the cadenza for me, one more time?” They'd waited until the lounge was cleared of its patrons, and the janitorial staff began its night's long haul.
Her slender hands were glued to her mouth while she listened with a fervour that he'd never seen in an audience before. From her chair just beyond the edge of the stage, she wept in silence, in spite of the visible tremors that shook her entire body. He'd stopped playing in the middle for fear of her well-being, but she had begged him to continue. “Please,” she whispered in between ragged, harsh breaths.
Years later, he finally understood the swell of pain she always got when she listened to the cadenza of the first movement. Typical anguish paled in comparison. The kind she'd felt was an icepick to the back of the throat, scratching at first, then stabbing. When it bled, all he could do was choke.
She'd always mention when he played it for her per request as she sat next to him on the bench in the lounge after-hours how it reminded her of her mémé, and how they would attend the theatre whenever Tchaikovsky's works were in performance. She would talk about the Opéra de Nice with its massive, sweeping staircase, and the hundreds of candelabras around it all glittering like stars. When she'd been a child, those trips to the opera were like excursions to the heavens themselves. “C'est comme les étoiles, n'est-ce pas?” she asked after adorning the piano with her collection of wax candles once. Her eyes glittered with the flickering reflection of the flames as he replied, “I agree.”
She used to ask him to repeat the cadenza over and over again. One night, she'd told him that if she just detached herself enough from the world, she could almost feel the marble of the opera house under her feet, and hear the rustling of her grandmother's silk dresses as she climbed the opulent staircase. That was a long time ago, back when life was simple and the opera was the only thing that had mattered.
Now if he closed his eyes, he could swear that he was able to smell her perfume linger on the air. Lilies, with rosewater. How quickly it had become his favourite despite the simplicity. Her voice would flutter throughout the lounge, echoing with her replies to his attempts at conversation. It was like a crystal so clear that he was always shocked to find her gone when he opened his eyes again.
It was like losing her over and over every night. And yet, he couldn't help himself. He insisted on keeping company with the ghosts of the past.
Maybe it was like she'd told him when they'd first met: within the music, they would always find each other.