Well, dear readers, I see no reason to keep you dear readers in the dark anymore, book-wise. Normally, I don’t say anything until about a month later, just because we know there are prying eyes around these here parts, but since this isn’t a book that can be ripped off in any way, shape, or form, I feel fine about revealing what it is. Almost from the time I finished Murder at the Magic Castle, I began thinking what book twenty would be. Like book ten, which was my first memoir, I wanted it to be something uniquely me and non-fiction. Given those parameters, the idea came pretty quickly, actually. And somewhere in April, I wrote about six pages of an introduction, just to see how I’d get into it, what the style might be, and that sort of thing. I really enjoyed doing the six pages, and a few months later I wrote a few more. Then, in December I wrote twenty additional pages and felt I’d pretty much figured it all out.
I began on January 1, and that first day I was almost sixty pages into the book, with new pages and the ones I’d already done, which I’d also futzed and finessed. I know there was some astonishment about that, just as there was when I was doing forty pages a day and when, after thirteen days, I’d finished 622 double-spaced manuscript pages. I’m fast and all that, but that’s a lot of pages in thirteen days. And I said all along that once you dear readers knew what it was that you’d understand instantly how that could happen. And so, the title of the new book is: Simply – A Lifetime of Lyrics. From that title you’ll probably glean that it is a book of my lyrics and that would be correct. Not my complete body of lyrics, that would take another many hundreds of pages. But it’s most of the lyrics from all my shows and films, plus lots of standalone things, too, some very early stuff that no one has ever seen, and even a few snippets from my first attempt at writing a musical, Atticus, a musical of To Kill a Mockingbird. There are lots of anecdotes and histories along the way – that was the new stuff. I had to do a lot of typing of lyrics up until about 2004 – after that, most of what I needed was on the computer and so could be cut and pasted in.
Back in the summer, I’d pulled all my notebooks and every scrap of paper with scribbles on it that I could find, dating all the way back to the mid-1960s. I found so many interesting things, and yes, Virginia, the book will have fun photographs and images. It was, at times, completely overwhelming – not merely whelming, mind you, but OVERwhelming – and very emotional to see all this stuff and to put it all down in one document. As they say in the show business: I laughed, I cried, I ate fish. A few of the really old things really surprised me. And remembering how all those musicals came to be was really fun. I do mention most of them in the first memoir, but really only in passing. Here you get the juicy details. We’re in the proofing phase now and there are style and design details to figure out, so I’m not sure how fast this will get out there, but I’m hoping April or May at the latest. A lot of that will depend on Grant and his schedule. So, there you have it. Muse Margaret happily loved it all, save for one sentence, which I figured she wouldn’t like, because it kind of opened a can of worms, so I just removed it. That was her only note in 622 pages.
I’m not sure who’ll care about the book, but I’d hope it would be of some interest to theater folks and to you dear readers. One of the reasons I wanted to do it is because as happens all too often, someone will hear a song of mine and say, “I had no idea you were a composer/lyricist.” I was originally going to call the book Music and Lyrics by… but the minute I thought about Simply, that became the obvious title for me. So, there you have it.
Yesterday was a day of relaxation for the likes of me. I slept over eight hours but under nine hours. Once up, I listened to music, loafed, answered e-mails, got two Kritzerland Encore releases ready to announce (they’ll be live by the time you read these here notes), I decided not to leave the home environment, so rustled up some Wacky Noodles, ate them all up, and then started writing the concert commentary and actually got all of act one done and the first selection of act two, so that’s good. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I watched a motion picture entitled Séance on a Wet Afternoon, which is about a séance on a wet afternoon. It’s quite an excellent motion picture, and Kim Stanley’s performance is quite brilliant, and Richard Attenborough is also great. I don’t always care for the films of Bryan Forbes, but this one’s is just terrific. And John Barry’s score is great. After it was over, I watched the 2003 interview with Bryan Forbes that’s included.
After that, I listened to more music and that was that.
Today, I can sleep until eleven, I’ll hopefully have a LOT of orders for our two Encore CDs, which have become really rare and REALLY pricey since going out of print. Here are the covers.
I’ll eat, proof, hopefully finish the concert commentary, then at six I’m having a private work session with Peyton, just to go over her lines a bit. Then we have a run-through and I’m hoping everyone used their off days to get solid on the script, although they were pretty solid on Saturday.
The rest of the week is play rehearsals, concert rehearsals, two concert performances and more run-throughs.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep until eleven, hopefully have a LOT of orders, eat, proof, have a private work session, and do a run-through. Today’s topic of discussion: What are the best hot dogs you’ve ever had? What brand do you use when making them at home and how do you make them? What do you like on them? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have revealed the new book.