Writing to a Score

Paul Richardson

My sophomore year in high school found me volunteering for the school newspaper. I would stay after school and sit at an IBM Selectric Typewriter and transfer other people’s words to print by punching out a mimeograph stencil. All the while, someone, maybe one of the junior or senior members of the staff or one of the teachers who either sponsored the newspaper or monitored the typing classroom, would supply the tunes. Since they possessed Moody Blues’ albums, that was what we listened to. Over and over and over we listened to the Moody Blues sing about the goings on for a given afternoon, how lovely it was to see us again, invitations to ride their seesaw, and many other poetic interpretations. This group of musicians and song writers were poets at heart and had found a wonderful way to present their poetry. As you can tell, I was and still am a huge Moody Blues fan, especially their work up through the 1970’s at which point I became somewhat disconnected to new productions through the 1980’s and 1990’s. After the turn of the century, I returned to those lost decades and retrieved some of the music that I had cherished in my past.

These articles have been written in vacuum, a world of silence, with only the ambient sounds of life surrounding me. When these memories of almost one-half of a century surfaced, I began to wonder what it would be like if I was to return to those days of working and writing to a score. Would I be more productive or less productive? Would I be inspired or simply start incorporating more song lyrics into my writing, striking the keys that would recreate the words that I was hearing? I seem to incorporate song lyrics or references to songs already and hopefully always give credit where credit is due. Do my readers appreciate or even more, understand my collaboration with these artists?

As this plays out in my head, I keep stroking the keys and producing this article with only the sounds of the fans that move the air throughout the house droning away as a white noise in the background. When I get set on a task I prefer to keep pushing forward until completed. As I was preparing to search out and push play in order to flood the room with the Moody Blues renderings, the phone rang. When the goodwife answered the phone call, it wasn’t long before she passed the call off to me. The call was from my eccentric daughter who calls every day.

These calls often last from a half-hour to three times that long. The experiment with writing to a score will have to wait as these conversations are a daily intellectual ritual, usually stimulating, and highly cathartic. This will be the background as I try not to incorporate the dialog into the script. Maybe next time I will get to write to a score. The Moody Blues sounds like a good selection!

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing. He also writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.