As you may know, FVP’s new Anthology, Free-flowing Stories, will be released online and at our sale on Dec. 6th.
Here’s a teaser and a snippet from the first story:
Here’s what happens when those songs that get stuck in your head go bad.
Songs came to her.
Songs came to her without preface or forewarning.
Sometimes it was an eight-bar phrase, and nothing more.
Sometimes it was the same eight-bar phrase, over and over.
An earworm, her psychiatrist called it. Everybody gets them. If it worries you, we can increase your anti-anxiety meds.
Snort. Yeah, right.
Songs kept coming to her. They would start up while she was singing something else, startling her into stopping to listen—to find out what the new song had to say.
But they were never new. She listened and recognized them, every one of them. Some she had not heard or thought of in years. Bare melody, sometimes a simple harmony came along for the ride. A bit of a song, a few bars of a chorus, a snip of a verse.
But all were other people’s songs. Just like in college, when she’d failed composition three times and failed to get her bachelor of music degree because of it; there were no original songs in her head.
Gradually the orchestration improved—percussion, bass lines, harmonies, secondary themes—until it was as complete as any expert recording.
Then the music lengthened. It would still start anywhere in the piece, but longer bits came to her. Instead of eight bars she would hear an entire verse, or the chorus.
After four months, she no longer needed a stereo. But she still could not choose what to listen to, in what order, or when.
Concertos came. Operettas. Symphony movements. Elvis at his best with symphonic backup. The Moody Blues. The Grateful Dead. Frank Sinatra did it his way.
The songs kept coming, and she saw them as an opportunity to practice singing. The songs became louder and more insistent and she had to sing, she could not refuse.
People on the train were amused, but when she didn’t respond to their questions, they shrank away from her.
Customers and co-workers complained. Her boss told her to stop.
She tried to stop singing, but all she could do was to lower her volume, and not very much. The music was loud, and she had to participate.
She tried to control the dancing. That, too, was difficult.
The muzak in the store where she worked was just loud enough to keep the shoppers in a friendly, positive, purchasing sort of mood. The music in her head was louder. One day while making photocopies at the customer service counter she sang a hip-bumping New Orleans tune, throwing her head back and letting it all out….