The Edith Bunker Band

Story #22 for Story A Day Challenge May 2016

22 Edit Bunker Band s

The Edith Bunker Band

“So what are you going to do after you graduate?” Blech. Carol hated that question. People had been asking her some version of it forever, since she was, like, five.

“What do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?” Really? She was only five years old. Her professional options were limited to characters in cartoons and on cereal boxes. She didn’t know what work was.

If she only had a dollar for each time someone asked her that silly question. Once she started college, they changed it to “What are you going to do after you graduate?” It’s still the same stupid question, from the same stupid people.

Carol refrained from rolling her eyes. “I’m going to start a band.”

“Oh,” they would say, “I didn’t know you were a musician.”

“I’m not. Can’t play any instrument.” She baited them.

“So you sing?”

“Nope. Totally tone deaf. Can’t carry a tune to save my life.”

Carol waited until they paused, unsure of what to ask her next. “But I’m not going to let that stop me. I’ll find a couple of other people who are just as bad at playing their instruments as I am at singing. A guitar player and maybe a keyboardist. We’ll call ourselves The Edith Bunker Band. We will be terrible, me singing off key, the other two out of rhythm and fat fingered. We’ll play some oldies as well as current hits, mangling them as best we can. And having fun. Because having fun is what it’s about, right?”

Uncomfortable with her responses, people started to shift their weight from foot to foot, clearing their throats, looking around for some other young person to corner with their silly questions in hopes of not getting a silly answer in return.

She didn’t let them off so easy. “We’ll play in the early time slot. We won’t keep you up late. Promise you’ll come here us play?” It was only after she extorted a promise of attendance that she let her would-be captors escape.

For the umpteenth time, Carol wondered why so many people kept asking her that one question about the rest of her life and really expecting her to have a definitive answer. In a moment of insight, she thought maybe it was because they were still trying to answer it for themselves.

With thanks and apologies to Jean Stapleton who played Edith Bunker on All In The Family.

The Music Room: Fiction Friday

The Friday Fictioneer Challenge: Write a 100-word story based on the photo.

Photo copyright Jan Fields

Photo copyright Jan Fields

The Music Room
Lawrence thought his arms were going to fall off; they were so achy from carrying his son around. He just had to put him down, even if for a few minutes. The crib was in the bedroom where his wife was sleeping, exhausted. He couldn’t go back in there.

Opening the top of the cabinet, Lawrence gently lowered his son into it. Slowly, softly, he picked out a few notes of Praeludium No. 1 on the spinet. His son’s cries diminished. The more Lawrence played, the more his son relaxed. By the end of the piece, the baby was asleep.
To read other Friday Fictioneer stories based on this photo, select the smiley blue frog.

First Chair: Fiction Friday

The Friday Fictioneer Challenge: Write a 100-word story based on the photo.

Photo copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photo copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

First Chair

Graziella opened the windows, her gnarled hands aching with the effort. Each morning her downstairs neighbor practiced the violin. Upstairs, Graziella listened as much with her heart as with her ears.

Sitting under the open window, she held her old violin and bow motionless in her lap. With eyes closed, she remembered the Vienna State Opera, just after the war. Life was hard, so very hard. Music helped them heal.

She could still hear the conductor’s tap tap tap. On cue, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra began to play as one musical, magical creature, when hers was the First Chair Violin.

To read other Friday Fictioneer stories based on this photo, select the smiley blue frog.

Sgra-Snyan, Sketch 065

Sketch of the Sgra-Snyan

Sgra-Snyan; Tibet; 14th-16th Centuries; Wood, skin

Sgra-Snyan; Tibet; 14th-16th Centuries; Wood, skin

Description from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

The ancient “silk route”, running from the Mediterranean to Sian in east central China, made Central Asia a meeting place of many cultures. This lute, an extraordinary example of musical exchange between East and West, is similar to instruments played by angels depicted in seventh-century Buddhist cave paintings. It offers some insight into the development of the modern sgra-snyan. The body, with two skin-covered chambers, is a rare example of an archaic transitional form that seems to point to the Afghan robab, and various Himalayan lute types. Decorative elements, such as green-colored skins, like those of the damarn, and the portraits of Buddha and musicians, rendered on painted ivory with gold leaf, are typical of fifteenth-century Tibet. The back, fingerboard, and pegbox reveal cartouches and palmettes reminiscent of seventeenth-century Persia. Tin leafing shows through as a silvery underlayer in a worn section of the instrument. Painted gesso adheres to the surface, the result of an ancient gilding process known as adoratura. Originally, there were six strings attached to this instrument, but the pegbox was shortened to accommodate five, with a possible sixth string attached to a side peg. Despite the appearance of Buddha and his musicians, the sgra-snyan was not used in religious settings, but accompanied secular song.

Sketch 065: Sgra-Snyan, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 1989

Viola d’Amore, Sketch 064

What a nice name: Viola d’Amore.

Sketch of the Viola d'Amore

by Giovanni Grancino, 1710; Milan, Italy; Spruce, maple, ebony, bone

by Giovanni Grancino, 1710; Milan, Italy; Spruce, maple, ebony, bone

Description from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

The instrument represents the early form of the viola d’amore, which was strung already with metal strings but not yet with sympathetic strings. The oldest written evidence for the early viola d’amore is a remark by the English diarist John Evelyn, who in 1679 called it a new instrument, strung with five metal strings and “sweet” in its sound. The early viola d’amore was not standardized in form or in number of strings and tuning. Three other instruments of the same festoon shape survive from Grancino’s workshop, but each is a somewhat different size and has a different numbers of strings. The only instrument with its original neck has four strings, two others have five, and this one has been restored—apparently correctly—with six strings. Grancino is often considered the most renowned maker of his generation outside Cremona.

Sketch 064: Viola d’Amore by Giovanni Grancino, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Amati Gifts, 2008