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muted: a short story in verse by [Bell, Jessica]
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muted: a short story in verse Kindle Edition

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Length: 32 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

Note: This cyberpunk/dystopian short story is an experimental work of fiction written in verse. Page count: 30. Word count: 2000.

It's illegal to wear clothes. In some streets, it's also illegal to sing. Concetta, a famous Italian a capella singer from before "the change," breaks these laws. As punishment, her vocal chords are brutally slashed, and her eardrums surgically perforated. Unable to cope living a life without song, she resolves to drown herself in the river, clothed in a dress stained with performance memories. But Concetta's suicide attempt is deterred, when she is distracted by a busking harpist with gold eyes and teeth. Will he show her how to sing again, or will the LEO on the prowl for another offender to detain, arrest her before she has the chance?

About the Author

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a 30-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, award-winning poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written. Being the daughter of a semi-famous rock 'n' roll duo from Melbourne, she grew up surrounded by song. For a while it seemed logical to travel the musician's path, especially when her first band, spAnk, hit it off in the Melbourne indie music scene back in the late 90s. Although she spent her years writing and recording dozens of songs she decided she also had a love for the written word, and began to pursue a career as a writer. She started as a poet, drawing from her musical background and etching her thoughts and feelings into verse. Those stanzas soon turned into sentences and paragraphs, and eventually into published books. Her literary voice is said to overflow with "lyrical descriptions, unique metaphors, tight dialogue, and an abundance of sensory detail." She has also been told she has the ability to take a seemingly ordinary three-chord type story and turn it into a main stage event. In addition to her novels (STRING BRIDGE, THE BOOK), her poetry collections (TWISTED VELVET CHAINS, FABRIC which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her pocket writing guides (WRITING IN A NUTSHELL SERIES), she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia's Cordite Review, and the anthologies 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND and FROM STAGE DOOR SHADOWS, both released through Australia's, eMergent Publishing. Additionally, she is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and makes a living as an editor/writer for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning. Note: Check out the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop she annually runs. In 2012 she had Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest, next year, 2014, she has Katharine Sands, New York literary agent as the main instructor. Read more at

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 371 KB
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Vine Leaves Press (May 19 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa6158c00) out of 5 stars 23 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Amie McCracken - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Intensity and emotion blended with masterful wordage, a stunning story, and minimalist vocabulary. Every moment and word in this short story written in verse is filled with impact and strength. I savored reading through line after line, rereading some of my favorites, and cascading with the flow. I felt Concetta's pain. I wanted to belt out in song with her. I was frustrated by her inability. I was intoxicated when the harpist ran his hands over her. There was not one flaw in the world-building though this story is so quick. I could imagine it all; I was there. Amazing work, yet again, from Jessica Bell.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb3a80148) out of 5 stars Concentrated Passion and Intensity May 22 2013
By R. D. Hartwell - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
"Muted" follows the personal revelation of the maimed Concetta amid social critique of the sterility and arrogance of the futuristic state. I cannot add to the story description provided by the author without spoiling plot points and character development. I do not wish to mar a first reading; or subsequent readings that will uncover greater depth. As Amie McCracken noted, the melding of minimalist language, striking metaphor, and rapid yet measured pacing, all are superlative.

"Muted" would work as short fiction or short story. It would capture the reader's attention. It would provide residual thought long after finishing. It would be very good. However, by ennobling "Muted" to verse, Jessica Bell has elevated the agony and redemption of Concetta to literary art. Lines such as: "thriving on nude routine," underscoring plot as well as the emasculated distinctiveness central to the story; and such as "the note softens / into a vibrato / like the flutter of butterfly wings" provide acoustic and literary reinforcement. The care of craft is evident throughout. This works!

Finally, I cannot end this review without remarking on the necessity, no - the pleasure, of reading this twice, or thrice in my case. Multilayered, multifaceted, Jessica Bell's "Muted" provides far greater world building, emotional intensity, and psychological intrigue than works of far greater length or higher pretension. It is an inspiring and successfully aspired work to which I will return!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6189390) out of 5 stars Sci Fi Lyricism June 4 2013
By Melissa Smith - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Long story short, "muted" is, as the cover says, a short story in verse. Set in a dystopian future in which self-expression through art and dress and (as concerns the main character) music is strictly controlled, the story traces the crisis of Concetta, a singer who has ended up on the wrong side of the law.

"muted" is richly imagined. Jessica Bell doesn't hold back on gory detail - something I always admire. As a science fiction piece, the story has a lot going for it, opening a world's worth of weird and terrible in its short length. The main thing here is the language, though. This is poetry, written by a musician, about a musician. As a whole, "muted" is about art and sacrifice. If you are looking for something that takes sci fi lyricism to its logical extreme, you could do worse. I liked it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6189750) out of 5 stars When Voices are optional June 12 2013
By DG Hudson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
In this bleak future existence, very little is left for individualism, you must hide nothing from the police. To be unique is verboten, one must blend in, or rather, conform. As in Kafka's bleak landscapes, this short story in verse form will jolt your sensibilities, and make you clutch your robe about you.

How does one survive a trauma? Do we shut away that part of the pain? Lock it up? Try to forget about it? Or do we become numb to the pain? This is a thought provoking story in verse with the intensity of a crying soul, an entity who remembers before. . .

Jessica Bell has addressed the harsh realities which could be in a future time and place. A totalitarian existence, where one is always suspect.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6189834) out of 5 stars Corruption Grows like a Weed if left alone! May 19 2015
By Richard Carter - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I am an avid reader of science fiction for over 50 years. I am also a proponent and advocate of helping people to protect themselves and carry it on. I also have taught so many things to so many people in business and privately. Why I love this is perhaps it will open one's eyes so they can see! Our society is heading in this direction .. look at NSA and down to local cops. They manipulate the truth to promote themselves or hide their increasing corruption! I can personally attest to this and yet we don't push or can't. This could be the future if we continue to be self centered and fail to look up and around us before it is too late.