So, I was inspired to write what will hopefully be a novel by the painting “Young Man Playing a Cello” by Jo Koster. I’ll post the chapters as I finish them to my liking. 🙂
He’s known to the public here as Johann Koster, but simply Jo to me and his family. His family that was, as the emperor says, ‘unfortunately lost’ in the fires 10 years ago. He’s the greatest cellist, really the greatest musician, the world has ever known. Well, the only world we know, anyway.
When I was five and Jo was nine, a man known only to us as ‘The Emperor’ took control of all of Europe and North America, if not the whole world, crushing all freedom of speech, religion and expression in the interest of the ‘common good’ and helping each other out; supposedly not wanting us to outdo our fellow humans with our artistry.
That was 10 years ago, now it’s the year 2437 A.D. and we’ve been in ‘The Basement’ – a series of underground homes where any child, who had an artistic parent, especially if the parent disagreed with The Emperor, was sent – ever since. Jo remembers more about the free world then I do, of course, but really the only memories he has are of his family, his cello, and me, Heidi Sloas. He hasn’t honestly conversed for years with anybody but me. He plays his cello whenever we’re not talking, sleeping and eating only often enough to live so he can play. His cello is the only link he has to his family, freedom, and memories. Most people don’t even have a link like that, as almost all personal possessions were seized and burned in the ashes of our homes after the fires.
I don’t, for the life of me, know how he managed to get his cello down here to The Basement. I mean, the whole purpose of sending us down here was to repress our creativity so we wouldn’t end up like our parents, defying The Emperor by expressing our individuality through our art and faith. To be honest, I don’t think he knows, either. I really don’t think he cares, ya know? All he cares about is making his music; if he can’t lose himself in his music he goes crazy.
The real mystery, though, is how he’s managed to hold onto it for all these years, especially with the increase in guards the past few months. It’s truly a miracle. And not a miracle I’m going to question, not a miracle anybody dares to question. After all, Jo’s music is a gift to us all down here. The only beauty in a world of black, white, and the occasional flash of bright red from the high up mucky muck’s uniforms. His music is the only true life and color some of the little ones have ever known. I mean, expression is banned, individuality is banned, and all of what Jo and I were taught to stand for at an early age is banned. This world is any true human’s worst nightmare simply for that reason. His music, though, keeps us all in good spirit; it keeps us strong and alive.
We just hope and pray that he’s not found out like so many others have been in the past 10 years. Somehow those brilliantly talented individuals would smuggle in a piece of their life, their art, either under their clothes when they were first brought down here, or through a connection with the outside world and eventually, they were found out. Jo is the only one that dares express himself in front of God and everybody. Even this writing is strictly prohibited. We’re allowed to write only our name and the number that identifies us as Artist’s Children. If I’m found out, who knows what they’ll do to me.
Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? 🙂