Inspirational Fiction Contemporary

“Did you pre-order tickets when they got released a year ago?”

“Actually, I didn’t. I was gifted this ticket yesterday by a friend who is sick and had to miss out. She grabbed the ticket many months ago though, I think. I didn’t waste a second before snagging it up when she offered!”

“You know this symphony, though?”

“Know of them, more like. I’ve heard some of their stuff online but have never seen them live… until tonight anyway!”

“I have seen them a handful of times! I’m pretty sure I’ve shed tears at least once every concert.”

“You know, that doesn’t surprise me. Even in videos I’ve seen, the music is always moving. If I cry, it might be because it’ll make me reminisce about my high school choir days… some of the best days and years of my life.”

“Well, I truly hope so. Enjoy!”

“You too!”

“Everybody, take your seats in the next 5 minutes. We will begin shortly.”

“Excuse me, pardon me, so sorry…”

“No worries. Seating can be a bit tight in here.”

“Cozy for sure. I don’t mind. I just feel bad bumping people’s knees as I try to take a seat.”

“I love hearing them tuning up. I know it’s sort of a chaotic mess of tuneless dissonance, but they all find a beautiful unison eventually.”

“Like the calm before the storm, in a way.”

“Yeah, you get me.”

“Personally, I expect to be blown away. I don’t like being oversold on things, so I don’t want to oversell them, but I know enough about this group of musicians to expect anything less than excellence.”


“Oh! It must be starting.”

“Mm hmm!”


“That one choked me up.”

“Yeah, something about that one made me imagine I was a maiden in the 1800s, pursuing an unrequited love, and him dying before I could ever catch up with him.”

“Wow, you definitely imagine a whole movie, too, huh?”

“Ha, yep…”


“Sorry… we should try to restrain our comments, or at least whisper when it’s not dead silent in here.”

“Yeah, we’ll be careful.”

“This next piece is a more modern piece, at least compared to the ones played so far. It was written in Latin originally but has been written in at least 10 other languages that we know of. Tonight, we will be playing the piece with help from the Quartones, who will be singing in English, one of the 10 languages it has been translated to.”

“Have you heard this quartet before?”

“I don’t think so.”

“I think maybe they’re pretty new?”

Drink in… the downpouring wa-ters … for there … you find your peace… and if your heart must be released … may it be in life and death… Your tribulations might seem for naught … but prove your hope in pain…”


“I know.”

“Thank you Quartones for that exquisite addition. We’ll see them again during our last piece. But next we’ll be back to instruments only. For now, enjoy a 15-minute intermission.”


“O hey! You said you expected to be moved. Have you been moved yet?”

“Hi again! I think you know I have! It would be hard not to after that last one. It was my favorite so far. I never sang it in choir, but I imagined younger me singing it up there.”

“Honestly, this is one of the few times I don’t mind sitting for close to 3 hours. Mostly cuz we can stretch our legs in between.”

“Me too. It’s an escape for me. I can listen to the music without going to another appointment or errand, and without being interrupted by everyday things at home. I just get to soak it all up and feel.”

“I felt so many things so far, especially the last one since it had words about death and trials, but it also was about hope and seemed to not be final… ya know, something about how it was played made it seem like it wasn’t the end even though the words seemed to indicate endings. Does that make sense?”

“Kind of, not really fully, but it’s okay sometimes to not be able to adequately explain our thoughts on how music touches us. It’s part of why music is mysterious and wonderful.”

“Good point! Oh and remember in the second piece, the way the cello created color in the final movement after such tension?”

“I mostly just remember how dynamically diverse it was! The climax of the final movement faded so nicely into the longest resolution I’ve heard in a long time. Then they all played in unison on that final note. Pure bliss.”

“Oh yeah, definitely a memorable moment.”

“Time to take our seats I guess. There must be only a few minutes left with the lights dimming down again.”

“So glad I ran into you again.”



“Welcome back the lovely Quartones for our final piece, Lucem Stabilis, a Latin hymn meaning Steadfast Light.

“A negotio perambulante in tenebris… et humiliatus est sub me… sed tamen in proposito…Lumen firmum me tuum sustinet.”

“I didn’t understand the words, but I understood it.”

“I know what you mean.”


“Their shushing is louder than our whispering.”

“I know...”

“The piece you just heard, Lucem Stabilis, speaks of more hope amid pain or fear. You might sense a theme of contrasting feelings in all our songs from the night. It’s why we titled this presentation of music ‘Conflicting Gratitude.’ The words in the last verse of Steadfast Light translate in English loosely to ‘In darkness and mire the ground shakes beneath me, but even in my plight, Thy steadfast light sustains me.’ We thank you for spending your evening with us. We love presenting music to your ears and souls. It’s by listening we get to keep playing.”

“Wow, I wish it didn’t have to end.”

“Agreed. We could at least get a CD and get a glimpse of this serenity in our car rides home and between the busyness of life.”

“Yeah… though nothing beats the music flooding our ears after reaching our skin. Being in the same room as the players and singers adds to the goosebumps and pleasure. It’s like taking a photograph of the sunset… it could be gorgeous, but nothing beats gazing upon the sunset with our very eyes.”

February 17, 2023 18:57

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Charlie Murphy
17:31 Feb 27, 2023

Well done! i liked how the two girls really got into the music.


Sarah Martyn
18:20 Feb 27, 2023

Thanks, Charlie! It was very much taken from personal experience.


Charlie Murphy
18:45 Feb 27, 2023

That's cool! Personal experience always makes writing better. Can you read my story, The Wrath of Roachzilla?


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Elka Rae
17:20 Feb 25, 2023

The photograph of a sunset is so apt. You really captured the concert experience!


Sarah Martyn
18:02 Feb 25, 2023

Personal experience and actual nostalgia fueled this one 🥰 Thank you for sharing.


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Wendy Kaminski
01:51 Feb 18, 2023

This was lovely, Sarah: playful, and so well done! It was incredibly easy to follow even without names, which is a very neat trick. In fact, in a way, the lack of names made it feel more like strangers who'd met at a concert. They wouldn't know names, so it really fit! Loved it, great approach to the prompt!


Sarah Martyn
02:25 Feb 19, 2023

Wendy, I actually went back and forth about including names. I decided it felt more organic without. And ultimately, even if it wasn't clear to a reader who said what, it still communicated thoughts that occur in encounters like these. This was a huge confirmation that my choice to exclude names landed well. Thanks for reading!


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Penelope Conlon
10:49 Feb 25, 2023

I agree with Wendy, you really nailed it, Sarah. The lack of names was completely natural and it was very easy to follow the story. Well done!


Sarah Martyn
14:37 Feb 25, 2023

Thank you so much for the kudos!


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