13. Mean Streets

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

So I had made a really good connection with Warner Brothers Publishing. The work was plentiful and it paid well, for a while....

After a honeymoon period, I started having trouble collecting payments from Warner Brothers and had to keep sending reminders to their chief editor. I'm not sure why this happened. Maybe they found someone who would do the work for less money. But as the urgency of my reminders increased, the work started to correspondingly decrease. I couldn't get the editor on the phone so I checked with an associate editor who was a friend of mine, but he either couldn't or wouldn't shed any light on the issue.

I used some of my free time composing the first four of my Five Piano Preludes Based on Books, but money was getting tight, so I had to get another job to pay the bills. The first one was spending my days on the streets and subways of Manhattan hand delivering messages until that literally made me sick. I followed that with a job driving a cab 12 hours a day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sounds romantic doesn't it? Not quite. One day I had two junkies in the backseat playing with their knives while they looked for their dealer somewhere on 4th Ave. in Brooklyn. Another time a cabdriver did not return to the office after his shift because he had been murdered. And I eventually learned that the cab company I worked for was run by a convicted rapist.

I supplemented this with teaching piano at a local music store and continued pursuing additional music ventures as a piano soloist and accompanist. Perhaps the biggest long term benefit of this period was that I was getting so depressed that I started writing my first musical, The Skyladder out of the need to create a friendlier alternate reality for myself.

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