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Literature

Things that I've written over the years.

  • Wordless WORDLESSbyJames WuFADE ININT. COZY FAMILY ROOM - EVENINGa PIANO sits in the corner.a CELLIST, male, post-teen, practices on their CELLO as the titles are ...
    Posted Jun 10, 2016, 11:53 PM by James Wu
  • Echoes of Schubert Yesterday, I saw the Hurdy-Gurdy man,Gingerly scraping away on a fiddle.To his feet were bound, one a castanet,The other, a lever which, upon depressionCleverly struck ...
    Posted Feb 9, 2015, 12:12 PM by James Wu
  • The Road Home When I came in from the outsidethe carefully fallen snow thathad powdered the sidewalk,which felt soft, likemother nature's teddy bear;it had been trampled by ...
    Posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:37 PM by James Wu
  • Mademoiselle Violon
    Posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:26 PM by James Wu
  • A Message to the Audience
    Posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:04 PM by James Wu
  • Dear Diary
    Posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:02 PM by James Wu
  • The Hero
    Posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:00 PM by James Wu
  • O Danny Boy
    Posted Jul 30, 2014, 12:57 PM by James Wu
Showing posts 1 - 8 of 8. View more »

Wordless

posted Jun 10, 2016, 11:50 PM by James Wu   [ updated Jun 10, 2016, 11:53 PM ]

WORDLESS
by
James Wu

FADE IN

INT. COZY FAMILY ROOM - EVENING

a PIANO sits in the corner.

a CELLIST, male, post-teen, practices on their CELLO as the titles are displayed. There is exasperation in his face and exhaustion in his fingers, but he presses on.

As the titles conclude, the CELLIST encounters a difficult shift. He repeats it over and over, slowly, then quickly, trying to analyze and perfect it with every method he can think of...

But he has become too exhausted and can no longer focus; he can no longer hear: as his mind pirouettes along the line between conscious and subconscious, nothing sounds in tune anymore; he can't hear what's wrong and what's right; it all sounds wrong to him.

The CELLIST's sweat-covered face grimaces. In uncontrollable exasperation, he lifts his right hand, clenched in a fist around his bow, to punch at something... at anything... because... there are no words.

As his fist comes downward, a hand catches it from below and holds firmly.

The hand belongs to the PIANIST, female, of similar age to the CELLIST. She looks at him, with a mixture of concern and compassion in her otherwise bright face. She stares into his eyes. A beat.

The CELLIST finally breaks away from her gaze, drops his hand onto his knee in despair and sighs heavily.

The PIANIST sighs too, but out of worry rather than exasperation. With a momentary look of knowing, she heads to the piano, pulls the bench out, and hammers repeatedly on the C below middle C. She gestures for him to play.

The CELLIST looks at her, quite annoyed. As she keeps gesturing, the annoyance in his face turns into incredulousness, and then eventually into reluctant agreement. He turns back to his instrument. A beat.

The CELLIST begins to play the C an octave above the lowest string. The sound is vibratoless, toneless, as if dead on the inside.

The PIANIST begins to play.

As the music continues, the CELLIST begins to play with more tone, with more heart.

And finally, he hears the calling, and resolves downward to B.

Then, closing his eyes, he begins to sing (on his cello)...

The mysterious harmony seems to bring him back from despair..

He finally understands, and begins to smile.

The CELLIST opens his eyes and looks toward the PIANIST, who then turns to look at him. They look into each other's eyes with a new connection that was not there before, smiling warmly.

FADE TO BLACK

Echoes of Schubert

posted Feb 9, 2015, 11:56 AM by James Wu   [ updated Feb 9, 2015, 12:12 PM ]

Yesterday, I saw the Hurdy-Gurdy man,
Gingerly scraping away on a fiddle.
To his feet were bound, one a castanet,
The other, a lever which, upon depression
Cleverly struck a small cymbal against
His worn, empty box of a seat.

It was plenty cold that day, and I
Had hurriedly arrived upon the
Opposite bank of the train tracks.
First I heard him, and I knew this was
No ordinary sound, for its loneliness
Was excruciating, yet in its isolation
Was somehow festive; as if a demented
Jester's parody of a fiddler on the roof.

I journeyed down the platform to see
For myself this delightful ghastliness.
What sort of band plays with such a
Ghastly sound yet tears at my heart so
That I cannot turn away! And then I saw
Him.

There was no band, no fiddler prancing
Maniacally in ghastly synchronization
With a herd of drummers. No, it was he;
A stoic old man with a wool cap perched
Atop his crooked head. With bare hands
He held his fiddle, and upon them were
Stocked winter's deathly fingers; they
Could barely move, yet the same haunting
Tune churned out time and time again to
The cemented, uncaring echoes of that
Underground crevasse we were at the moment
Inhabiting.

Passersby came and went. Trains arrived
And departed. No one heeded the lonely
Song of the Hurdy-Gurdy man. And as we
Sat, he kept on playing.

Suddenly I sprung up from my seat in a
Silent rage, for what did the Hurdy-Gurdy
Man have to sit on? Nothing! Nothing
Besides an old box... and what have I
Done to deserve a seat on my civilized
Bench? Nothing again!

Watching his bow tremolo across the
Strings of his fiddle, I once again
Noticed his cold deathly fingers. And
Feeling my gloves, I felt my anger
Rising again; for what did I do
To deserve the luxury of wearing them?
Nothing at all! Frantically I tore them
Off the warm, delicate flesh of my fingers
And flung them to the ground.

The Hurdy-Gurdy man keeps churning away
At his instrument.

A hand placed over my heart, aching
With pity.

From deep inside the depths of my mind,
A mysterious voice answered: "What did
he do to deserve his fate? Nothing again!"

And I quickly glanced at the end of the
Station, but the tracks were silent. And I
Hurried up the steps and crossed over
To the other bank where he sat, alone
And cold. With freezing fingers I pulled
From the warmth of my pocket, a single
Note of appreciation... and as I timidly
Approached and dropped it in the empty
Bucket at his side, an event so grotesquely
Magical thus took place: slowly, he turned
Toward me, moving only his head, while
His music making continued uninterrupted;
He looked at me with his beady, clouded
Blue eyes, and a smile that seemed so
Ancient, yet somehow possessed an
Unbelievable warmth; a warmth known only
To those who have witnessed the face of
Death itself and lived to tell the tale...

And as quickly as that incredible moment
Came, it had passed, and my train was
Arriving across that steel river at the
Opposite bank. As I rushed to secure a
Place for the journey back home, his music
drifted after me, still uninterrupted,
Still the same as it had always been...
And I realized that it really was music:
It was beautiful, because whatever we
Did or did not do in our lifetime to
Deserve what we have or do not have:
We are both alive, and that is something
To celebrate.

Hour after hour, the music of the
Hurdy-Gurdy man would continue.
Hour after hour, he would remain,
Unheeded.
But hour after hour, he still lives,
And being alive, I have come to realize,
Is a beautiful thing.

The Road Home

posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:36 PM by James Wu   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 1:37 PM ]


When I came in from the outside
the carefully fallen snow that
had powdered the sidewalk,
which felt soft, like
mother nature's teddy bear;

it had been trampled by many
a traveler on their way to
who knows where; taking on
the color of urban dirt, splashing
unpleasantly at my feet.

Yet when I finally returned to
that sloping lane of cement,
I discovered the river of
slush completely frozen over
by the deathly curfew of
winter, and in that moment I knew;

I knew that someone besides me
understood how it's like to cry
when tears are frozen before they
can perform their destined fate
of forming rivers of sadness
across cheeks for all to see;

Nature stings my face gently with
her bitterness and we both laugh, for
we cannot cry; the soft, gentle youth
of freshly fallen snow has all but
gone with the wind, leaving in its
place a rigid, lifeless shell which
seems suitable more for the errand
of slicing a heart in half than gently
cushioning its fall.

If this were a Schubertian song, then
all would call attention briefly to
its sadness and move on, leaving
the leiermann to
continue toiling
forever and

ever and

ever

until

one

feels

and

sees

and

hears

nothing


Mademoiselle Violon

posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:26 PM by James Wu

Mademoiselle Violon

A Message to the Audience

posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:04 PM by James Wu



A Letter

Dear Diary

posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:02 PM by James Wu



Diary entry

The Hero

posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:00 PM by James Wu







O Danny Boy

posted Jul 30, 2014, 12:53 PM by James Wu   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 12:57 PM ]



Danny Boy

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