Saturday, April 27, 2013

A-Z Blog Challenge: X is for Xylophones by J M Gallagher

It's that time again!!!  Unwritten and some 1000 other blogs participated last year, and this year looks to be even bigger! Just like last year, I've opened up the blog to host 26 fabulous writers, with each day of the challenge representing the letters of the alphabet from A-Z. I've asked each writer to focus on something that is personal to them, so we can learn more about each other. 

Please check out some of the other blogs in the challenge here: 


X is for Xylophones

by J M Gallagher

My freshman summer in college, several friends and I took a road trip to the beach. On the way, we played a game where we had to come up with a title for the letters of the alphabet. Amanda got X. After a pregnant pause, she dramatically said, “Xylophones: The Untold Story.”

The xylophone is probably one of the most underappreciated instruments. On the surface, it seems kind of boring and unnecessary. It’s almost never in the spotlight. No one brags about being first chair xylophonist (no offense, percussionists). You don’t hear critics lauding the xylophone solo in the third movement. Would you even notice its absence from a symphony?

My mother and I once saw Richard Wright in concert at the local university. Among other things, he played vibraphone (a relative of the xylophone) for Pink Floyd. I remember thinking how weird that
was—not the first (or second or third) instrument that comes to mind with a group like that.

But when he played, I could see why they used it. Plus, his skillful control of four mallets was fascinating to watch. I had a hard enough time using two in elementary school music class.

Xylophones are included in a piece of music because they play an important role. They add a distinctive sound that enhances the entire experience. Much like friends in life.

My first introduction to Amanda was actually two years after she moved next door. We attended different high schools, and I was moody enough to not care about making a new friend. Then we both transferred to the local high school. But while she rode the bus, friends drove me, so our paths still didn’t cross. One day, I was walking through the hall and heard this chipper voice say, “Oh! There’s my neighbor. Hi, neighbor!”

Who can resist that?

Over the next few years, we became good friends. Her zany sense of humor hit me between the eyes. Like the time she played chicken with our parked car, sprawling herself across the hood. Or the time she drew dripping globs under the sealed flap of an envelope. Another time it was a magnifying glass
in one of her letters—she then “zoomed in” on a word by writing it in large letters.

Eventually, she moved out of state, and we grew busy with our own lives. I’ve never forgotten her impact, though. She was a refreshing breeze on a sunny day, a skillful brushstroke that added to the masterpiece of my life.

And yes, I would sorely miss the absence of her well-placed notes from my symphony.


J M Gallagher fancies herself a xylophone—not in the spotlight much but delivering just the right note at the right time. While music is in her blood, writing is her passion. She writes contemporary romantic fantasy for the adult market. She knows fairytales come true because Prince Charming swept her off her feet, and he came with his own wheeled coach. Find out more about her adventures on her Blog Facebook and Twitter.


  1. I loved this story. I have friends like Amanda, friends that added so much to my symphony. Thank you for reminding us of the under-appreciated xylophone.

  2. Sweet tale JM -- There's a fantastic vibraphone player in my town's community band and when her playing is given an opportunity to be in the spotlight, the hush properly reflects the magic filling the room.


  3. Thank you, Von. Friends certainly do enrich life so much, don't they?

    Thank you, Judy. It very much is like magic. Such a rich and beautiful sound. Mom was a music teacher for over 14 years, so I spent many afternoons in her room playing the Orff instruments. The metallophones were my favorite.

  4. There's got to be a reason why a toddlers first toy is a xylophone. Even at that age, they seem to know the tones are different.

    I think these friends appear when we need them most. They are definitely music to our lives.

    I enjoyed your post.

  5. Love this, Jen. And I played the xylophone in Junior High. Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" was never the same!

  6. What a wonderful story Jenn. This was a joy to read and something new I did not know! Love ya girl.

  7. Hello, Jenni... This is the Amanda, rather Aman-duh you wrote about!!! Talk about heart-melting :) Love you!!!!!!


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