The sound of music

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The heavy toolbelt rode low on his hips, like a holster. His boots were thick-soled and sturdy, worn and well-used. He had gathered his blond hair with a rubber band, and the ponytail swayed against the back of his blue chambray shirt as he walked in front of us in the grocery store aisle. He was minding his own business, on his way to lunch, carrying a wrapped deli sandwich to the checkout.

And then, as he passed the neat rows of shelved soft drinks, he raised his right hand and strummed his fingernails along the glass bottles. Plink, plink, plink, plink. The sound was small, yet musically crisp, as if an invisible band of shelf elves was playing a delicate melody. The canned six-packs on the next segment of the shelf gave off a different sound, finishing the impromptu melody with the bell-like daintiness of tiny cymbals.

As far as we know, we were the only ones listening to the performance, and yet we had the impression the size of the audience was unimportant. The musical composer was not practicing his art for our benefit, but for his own. Perhaps he was simply, mindfully, taking an opportunity for a bit of fun. Perhaps he was thinking of a favorite song, or sparking ideas for a new creative venture.

Whatever his purpose, the music – the art – he created put a smile on our faces, and lightened our hearts. And isn’t creating an experience the purpose of the artist, no matter the medium? The audience need not be large to achieve that result.

So write, even when you think no one is listening. Walk through your days taking every opportunity to make music from the ordinary. Invite the shelf elves to play a song. Release your words, your creativity, and let the creating be enough.

How have you been touched by someone’s art? Let us know in the comments.


HL Carpenter

Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

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HL Carpenter
HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction suitable for your entire family. Visit for gift reads and the latest Carpenter Country news.

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