Hilltop Diary, September 7, 2021

There is not a great deal to report from the Hilltop this time, but that’s probably a good thing for my peace of mind. Foremost, though possibly least interesting to write or read about, has been working in the garden and on the lawn. Our period of extreme dry heat was followed by a little monsoon season of rain, due to the Hurricane down south, but now we are settling into a moderate fall. At last it is perfect to enjoy reading a bit in the garden.

Crystal has been burning the candle at both ends but is staying well, as she teaches by day and rehearses for The Music Man by night. This is now her “tech week,” and the show opens in all its splendor this Friday with her playing the female lead role of Marian the librarian. I cannot wait to see it and already have my ticket for every performance. Hearing her practice those beautiful songs at home has been a real treat.

As for me, my article on the late, great Burl Ives was published in The Epoch Times, and I have submitted the next new one to them, soon to appear, on the amazing musical instrument collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. They have tons of fabulous old instruments, many of which look like they came right out of a Dr. Seuss book. I found many HD photos in the public domain to illustrate these exotic instruments. Here are two of them, the “serpent” (left) and the “sea dragon” (right).

Serpent and Dragon

The time finally came (or rather, became available) to dust off my recently written fiction novel, Tales from the Realm of Faerie. This is an 81-thousand word adult fantasy novel I wrote last year about a classical composer who gets sucked into his own score, something like a musical version of Alice in Wonderland meets Lord of the Rings. It is also a companion to my Symphony No. 2, whose subtitle is the same as this book’s title, and they will be marketed together.

I began looking for publishers and after one rejection I picked out another publisher that seems a good match. I submitted the idea to them with part of the book and quickly received a very nice reply, inviting me to begin the next step in their process, submission of a formal proposal and the book manuscript. That’s like getting to second base! The proposal had guidelines, including asking me for a one-sentence synopsis, a three-paragraph synopsis, and a three-page synopsis, also a marketing plan, a biography, and more.

The ball is now in their court!  My last book, The Sound of Beauty, was rejected by three publishers before being accepted by a very fine one. Someone told me that the Harry Potter books were rejected by eleven publishers before finally being accepted by one! So I just embrace this process and will let you know what happens. I’m mainly concerned with being a composer, after all.

My show, Dear Miss Barrett, is still circulating, and I’m giving people time to view the DVD before writing them again.

Yesterday, I did a one-hour interview by phone on the Christopher Laurence show on Catholic radio, which was fun, and we talked about all things musical. Finally, I have revised the page on this site called “My Aesthetic Philosophy” (link at top of this page) about why I compose in a radically (to the ivory tower folks) traditional style of classical music instead of the Modernist/ Avant-garde style normally expected of professors of composition. It’s there if anyone cares to know about that.

Wishing you a mellow bit of fall for a while, and condolences if any of your loved ones have been suffering the effects of the hurricane or other floods that may have been coming your way.

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