For hundreds of years people have talked about artists having inspiration, but often, some persons would say, write us a symphony or write us a song, on commission. The artists would come up with a masterpiece without waiting to have their muse inspire them.
I have a great interest in a number of things, perhaps too many. I admire people who seem to concentrate on only one fixed discipline to the exclusion of almost everything else.
When people ask me what I do, strangers on a plane, perhaps, I tell them that I think. Thinking is excellent exercise, as much as swimming or jogging.
With sincere modesty, if there is such a thing, I have never thought of legacy at all. I am always grateful if people like what I have done. A legacy is something no one can forsee.
I wrote the Brotherhood song for no money out of my deep feelings about humanity, and because I was flattered that whatever talents I had, had been recognized.
I obtained a job at the Library of Congress. I loved books, so I felt at home. I was going to end up, I thought, majoring in English and teach at the college level.
I ended up performing on a full time basis and I never got to Julliard at all.
Technically, I've been retired for some time now. All I ever do is occasionally write songs for friends, such as one, for a friend who had just turned 80. I wrote a song for him called, The First 80 Years are The Hardest.
Music was around in my family in two ways. My mother would occasionally sing to me, but I was mostly stimulated by the classical music my father had left behind. I had an ear for music, I suppose, so that's what began my interest in music.
Just this morning, out of a large memory for songs, and having been obsessed by them since childhood, suddenly, at the age of 84, I thought of a song I hadn't thought of in over 50 years. It came into my head unbidden.
My Dad died during the flu epidemic in 1918 when I was 4 years old. He left a lot of classical recordings behind that I began listening to at an early age, so he must have been a music lover.
As I grew up, I was interested in other areas, too, especially literature. It became a major love of mine. Later, it became a difficult choice for me as to whether to major in music or literature. It wasn't until my 30s that I began a profession in music.
Things are forgotten and then perhaps picked up again, if we're lucky, it lasts... if not, then it's in the lap of the gods. The important thing was to do some work that I liked and hopefully that some others might also like, whether for a minute, a week, a month, a year.
I was asked by a group to write a song on the theme of brotherhood. This was before women's liberation, when brotherhood meant men and women both, so I wrote the song. Since I had always been very fond of the Passion Chorale, I wrote words to that great piece.
When I became more involved in music, I had to give up some of my writing in the literary sense. However, on occasion, I would write something for my own pleasure or I would write notes and introductory remarks in the songbooks I put together.