More Adventures in Hoarding

Having emptied out our storage unit, we are now faced with dealing with the boxes of personal papers that we stuck out-of-sight-out-of-mind for twenty years. (There’s also a bunch of furniture as well, but that is not my concern at the moment.)

You will recall that I came across a box of materials from our 2007 William Blake’s Inn workshops, and I actually took that to a meeting on Friday with potential collaborators to show exactly what I mean by workshopping the world premiere.

There were also two boxes/tubs of empty three-ring binders, and given that we now live in the space science future I’m having a hard time re-homing them. But look at these:

These held the scripts for some of the very first shows I directed in Newnan. (Time’s Wingéd Chariot alert: The first show I directed was Georges Feydeau’s Hotel Paradiso, in the summer of 1975. I will spare you the mental math — that was 50 years ago.) Of the actors involved in these shows, several are still doing theatre, and one ended up on Broadway.

Then there was this:

It was attached to the script for the “Epilogue” of William Blake’s Inn, and I know it had nothing to do with my magnum opus. But I have absolutely no clue what I was working on that I would need this quodlibet of songs — and what’s with the ? on p. 12?

In the storage tub of music that I was surprised to discover in the back of the storage unit, there were all these notebooks:

BACK IN MY DAY, WE HAD TO SCRIBBLE OUR MUSIC ON ACTUAL PAPER AND JUST HOPE IT SOUNDED RIGHT. I actually had a music pen, a fountain pen with a broad nib that allowed me to write noteheads and staves and flags and rests that looked almost like real music.

Eventually, though, I used pencil and paper to scribble ABORTIVE ATTEMPTS before transcribing them into Finale and beating them into shape. Here’s the sketch for “Wise Cow Makes Way, Room, and Believe,” from William Blake’s Inn:

What else was in those notebooks?


The real treasure trove?

My manuscript copies of William Blake’s Inn. I’ve put them in a portfolio binder, and I seem to be missing “A Rabbit Reveals My Room,” “The Man in the Marmalade Hat Arrives,” “Two Sunflowers Move Into the Yellow Room,” and the above-mentioned “Make Way.” I don’t know whether I ever created an actual manuscript for those pieces; they may be in that tub or in the study somewhere.

Just look at what is still in the tub:

I see at least three never-finished projects there, and there are scraps of ABORTIVE ATTEMPTS littered throughout. My current plan is to take this tub with me on the Lichtenbergian Retreat in a couple of weeks and go through all of them, transcribing bits that are still only on paper and cataloging them all. And then?

I don’t know. Put them back in the tub. Store it in the basement or something. Wait for the biographers to show up.

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