When: Dec. 1963.
Where: Parade Magazine, Youth Beat column.
What: Postage stamp-sized photo.
Who: Four English musicians.
Why: Causing a musical sensation in Europe.
How: Playing rock & roll music.
Result: Seeing is believing. Never having heard a note of their music, simply a 13 year old seeing their look, I instinctively knew, “Well, whatever this is, this is it.” I absolutely knew it. And it was. They being, of course, The Beatles.
Determination: Not quite sure yet.
Ambition: To be a rock & roll star.
Problem: Limited vocabulary on guitar. Very.
Interim: 1967. High School junior by appointment with guidance counselor Ed Kustra. Studying the form I had filled out, Mr. Kustra offered two bits of wisdom: the word “writer” is not spelled with two t’s and your middle name ends “l-e-y” not “l-y.” Both valuable things to know.
Interim: Spring 1971. St. Lawrence University. Phi Sig living room. Writing a play at the request of Don Kilpatrick for use in his directing class project.
Result: Marvels of Modern Man is staged at the Black Box Theater at St. Lawrence. Great success, held over for additional performances. Attendance approaching 1,500. Even a bit of frenzy.
Observation: “Not bad. Not bad at all.”
Interim: Spring 1972. A reading of play #2, Amid Planetary Music, at Black Box Theater.
Result: Disappointing. Can’t reheat a soufflé. (Jean Paul Sartre or somebody.)
Interim: 1973—1988. Cold, cruel, wonderfully happy world, NYC.
Result: Many plays are written, few are chosen. Best of them, Honor Luck, gets some attention, arouses some interest, receives a reading.
Question: “What’s it all about?”
Answer: “All I did was write it. The characters speak for themselves. Or not. As the case may be.” Play guitar professionally (i.e. for loose change) on the streets of Manhattan.
Interim: 1989 – 2012. Olean, NY. Life does begin at forty! Wife, children, house, maps, book, lectures, articles.
Sudden illumination: rock and roll ambitions overlooked too long to be viable.
Result: In his own right hand writing—haphazardly at first, seriously at last—Sidereal Days, The History of Rock & Roll, A Romance.
Observation: TBA, ASAP.