The Comeback Kid was a made-for-TV film from 1980 directed by Peter Levin starring John Ritter, of Three’s Company fame. The IMDB synopsis of the film is as follows: “A down and out former minor league ballplayer finds romance and a renewed zest for life when he takes a job coaching a group of underprivileged kids.” Doesn’t that just warm your heart? I had titled this post with “The Comeback Kid,” but I hadn’t heard of this movie, but once I read that synopsis, it just seemed appropriate given my warm fuzzy feelings about resuscitating this blog after several months.

As you can guess, it’s been a long time. I looked back and saw that I haven’t written since January. My apologies, dear readers, I hope you didn’t hold your breath. When I last wrote, I was still struggling with deciding how to go on from the first movement. I’m happy to report that at least I have made some progress on my commissioned piece. In other news, I curated an off-season concert for The Festival of New Trumpet with my friend and trumpeter Aaron Shragge. (Check this link for more details.) I’m very proud of this first curatorial effort for FONT, and I hope for more good things to come in the future.

It feels good to be back in the composing saddle. At this point I’m on to the sixth movement, so things have changed! Most of that time I wasn’t working too heavily on the piece, but I did manage to get drafts of several movements finished.  I thought it would be fun to go back and look at what I have written so far, and compare what I threw away to what I think I will actually use and see if I can come up with a “batting average” of how I’ve done so far.

I now have 7 movements drafted. In addition to those I also wrote 6 other beginnings of movements that I didn’t use. So, out of 13 starts, I’ve got 6 usable ideas. That comes out to roughly 46%, which ain’t too bad. If that were a batting average, (.460) then I’m doing well, but if it was a grade in school I’d be failing. So, I’ll stick with the sports analogy for now. I’d say writing music is closer to hitting a fastball than it is to taking a test. Anyway, it makes me feel better to say so.

I’ve been using sports analogies throughout this whole blogging project, and I haven’t given any thought to it until now. I suppose that this kind of Freudian slip, of using sports language without thinking about it, like the keeping score in the game of Detrick versus Music on every post, actually shows a bit more of what the process is actually like for me. I’m sure that if it actually felt like a more romantic interaction, a coaxing of the notes as with wine, roses and candlelight, then I never would have started keeping score. But that’s not what its like, at least for me.

It’s a bit more like when I was on the wrestling team in middle school. I was never very good, and wrestling often felt like I was fighting for my life. I remember my first meet, a “practice” meet where all the newcomers would get to wrestle with kids from other schools, assuming that we were all beginners in the sport. I was paired with some kind of Junior Wrestling Champion kid who threw me all around the mat, literally. I remember him having large muscles and a mustache, but I suppose that could just be a little extra drama. Anyway, I would have to say that writing a long, unified piece like this, the most ambitious work of my career to date, has been a bit like that, so I will have to give myself the following score:

Detrick: 5

Music: 0

One point for each movement drafted, and zero points for music because I think I deserve to have some glory don’t I?