It was the day when I chanced upon the alternate approach to Whipple Hill in Lexington. I did not then stop, for I had no time, then, to saunter among the trees, more is the pity. The path has never been plainly laid out, and I do not see the end. Yet the fact that I do not know the end, does not dissuade me from continuing on the path with all my determination and strength. Frequently it seems that most of the experience, of trying to make one’s way as a composer, is the lack of responses when I send a message, or the form-letter rejections to a score I have sent in to a call. If I were succeeding in finding material sustenance by other means, the rejections and the silence would be less onerous.
But the more important fact is, that there have always been friends who support and believe in both the character and quality of my work. For a composer who is not connected to a school, nor to a well-established musical organization, I have been arguably successful in getting my work out to even a small audience, on a consistent basis, year after year.
My work has not yet been befriended in musically high places, and that, too, is a path which is not clearly marked. Many composers work in and near this town. And as with the general population, there are people, and there are people. There are those who befriend you and try to help, to the degree that they can. And there are those who, preoccupied with their own scramble to the top, push you aside as not merely an irrelevance, but as a possible obstacle, if they give you the time of day. And these last, it will no surprise you, think no ill of what they do, of how they do it.
The rain has stopped for the moment, and my spirit walks abroad in the fresh autumn air. To do work of surpassing excellence, is not only the primary goal, but in the deepest sense, is its own reward.
And, as if as a reminder of perspective, I am losing a friend, at far too young an age. It is a few years since last we met, over tea on Tremont Street. I have long wondered if we should take tea again; and in sorrow, I reflect on its extreme unlikelihood now.