I live a much-envied life now. I have a spacious apartment atop one of the more expensive buildings in the city, on a road lined with tall windows which gape wide on hot summer nights as if to catch their breath. For a great deal of time I have spent every evening composing heady works about love at my piano. And as you may know, each night before I retire, I throw all of these compositions from my bedroom window. I never make copies, never keep anything. I watch the bound papers swirl and flutter and cascade down into the streets below, coming apart as they fall, caught in gusts of wind until they reach, like shoals of fish or migratory flocks of birds, the dirty veins of the town.
Every night the people of the city gather to receive my work. Ardently they pick up the scattered, dog-eared pages from gutters and windshields, studying every note. Often too they send letters of admiration, asking questions regarding my life or the secrets of my music. Some are even quite urgent in tone, and seek the answers to their various problems through my correspondence. Many people write successively, hoping for deeper interpretations of what they have seen. They pore over my compositions, developing theories and ever more complex methods of analyzing what it all could mean. But I never reply to any of the letters. At the end of the night, when I have finished my wine, as always, I bind their pages together with parcel string and throw them back into the swimming traffic below. I read them all first, of course, at my old wooden instrument, and though the letters often move me, sometimes making me laugh, sometimes even driving me to tears … in essence I never find them so different from one another.
It wasn’t always like this for me, though. I didn’t become so reputable and admired overnight. At first I was only able to produce a small amount of work - a short sentiment here, a waltz there. But as time went on, entire symphonies and romantic epics began to fall from my balcony each week. The work started to write itself. And as I accumulated ever larger masses of song, prose and poetry, yet greater numbers of people in the city came to know of me. Still now as I write, crowds of people continue to wait expectantly down in the streets for my compositions, more of them every night. And they ask me, in their letters, how I do it. How do I continue to come up with such magnificent ideas, such ever more vivid artforms, in such caliber and at so great a capacity? Personally I don’t think much to the quality of my work. I don’t consider myself a genius. I’m very self-critical, and I think I even preferred my music back when very few people payed attention to it. Either way, I think the night is soon coming when I stop throwing my compositions from the window, and, leaving the streets heavy with such melancholic men and women, and my piano silent, I board a train and leave this city forever.
Reece Marlowe is a bedroom musician currently living in Berlin. He has worked on and off in the humanitarian sector since 2015, and is currently composing a jazz-thesis on human rights activism for the Free University. Reece recommends the Mediterranean rescue organization Sea-Watch.