He lived on the streets. His junkie parents couldn’t deal when the infection went to his ears. He could sign though. Well enough that petrified folks gave up their money to the frightening, grunting teen.

Today’s cold was numbing. He entered the church and spied the antique clavier. He found himself sitting, eyes glazed, watching his fingers fly over the keys. What the? And somehow, music filled his head. Loud, crashing crescendos of…

The cop’s shove knocked Ludwig off the stool. The angry gesture sent him sulking back outside. He stopped to listen, straining. Nothing. The mute world stared back.


Word Count: 100   Although it’s Wednesday, this piece of flash fiction is for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers. Photo Credit: Jan W. Fields.  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 to 1827) was almost totally deaf in the last decade of his life. Many of his most admired pieces were composed in that last decade. Would that a homeless young boy might have his talents and we would never know.

30 thoughts on “Channeling

  1. plaridel January 20, 2016 / 9:53 pm

    for all we know, he could be the reincarnation of the great composer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Melinda Kucsera January 21, 2016 / 12:05 am

    wow you captured Ludwig alright! I just listened to lectures my a musicologist about his life and music. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian January 21, 2016 / 6:23 am

      Can you imagine a composer of this magnitude and magnificence going deaf? I did google it and there is a very famous Japanes composer who had the same plight….and several others. For this poem….I just thought about the waste of talent within our homeless youth….and the idea of channeling as well. As always, Melinda, thanks for the read. Tipping my first cup of morning coffee to you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melinda Kucsera January 21, 2016 / 8:44 am

        You’re welcome. Though in Beethoven’s case, he might never have composed his ninth symphony had he not gone deaf. He reinvented himself compositionally after his deafness and wrote the most amazing music which influenced all the composers who came after him. Food for thought huh?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. patrickprinsloo January 21, 2016 / 4:28 am

    Powerful story. How will Ludwig fair over the long term. Does a beautiful aristocratic and sensitive young lady of means bespy him and despite the protestations of her family…

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian January 21, 2016 / 6:24 am

      Thanks for the read Patrick! Ah, your words have me thinking the coda to this musical tale! 🙂


  4. Claire Fuller January 21, 2016 / 4:30 am

    I like the mix of history and contemporary in this, and the kind of reincarnation idea, and that the boy can hear the music but nothing else. The only bit that jars for me is that he’s called Ludwig. I know you want to make a reference to the composer, but it seems to be such an unlikely name in present time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian January 21, 2016 / 6:30 am

      Thank you for the read — and your words here. Glad you liked the story.

      I do agree….Ludwig is there because of the photo (antique clavier) and the idea of channeling. I toyed with the idea of setting the story more in Beethoven’s time period….then thought about the jarring effect the homeless youth should have on us…the idea that some of them are runaways from the best of families and once on the street are lost…but that doesn’t fit with his background here. hmmmm almost like mixing metaphors, right?

      We did have a Ludwig in my daughter’s highschool class…but she’s 41 now….hard to believe! I do appreciate the comment — and agree — which is why it was hard to “place” the name within the story itself. I toyed with dropping the name in the beginning — but that takes away the surprise.And there you go, Claire. The sign of a good constructive criticism is that it gets the wheels turning in the writers’ brain! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Claire Fuller January 21, 2016 / 6:40 am

        I know. I could see what you were doing (and doing it well), and couldn’t come up with a solution myself – certainly not in 100 words.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lillian January 21, 2016 / 6:41 am

        So I think, after pondering into my second cup of coffee this morning, I’ll just leave it as it….and “Ludwig” will be the shocker that wakes folks up and makes them go…”say what?” 🙂 THANKS, Claire!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. rochellewisoff January 21, 2016 / 7:12 am

    Dear Lillian,

    On the other hand old names are being resurrected all the time. My granddaughter’s name is Olive. The modern world isn’t kind to the reincarnated Beethoven is it?
    Nicely imagined.



    PS I have a son who’s 41. How did that happen?

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian January 21, 2016 / 8:05 am

      There’s a line in Fiddler on the Roof when the father opens the door and sees his daughter in her wedding gown: “I don’t remember getting older. When did she?”
      Right? 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      • rochellewisoff January 21, 2016 / 8:07 am

        From Sunrise Sunset. You should never get me started on FOTR. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  6. gahlearner January 21, 2016 / 8:00 am

    Ludwig is a German name, old-fashioned but not unheard of. I like the way music enters his world (stupid policeman) through the channeling of Beethoven. I wonder how people who never could hear in their lives perceive the concept of music opposed to those who went deaf later. Beethoven could hear, so he knew what it was all about. I love the story, it raises so many ideas.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 22, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    Indeed how would the world treat a reincarnated composer of that kind (though I guess he would use another instrument today) I like the idea, and a challenging one to do. The name is a great hook to use…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dale January 25, 2016 / 10:26 pm

    I loved it too! Great mix of past and present meshing together. What if, indeed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 26, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      Thank you so much for the read and positive reply. Truly appreciated!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s