We Are About to Hit a Speed Bump

We hope you like the early photo of Broadway in the featured image. We had planned to spend the week getting to know more about George Gershwin and the incredible output of classical and Broadway music that he wrote during the 1924/1925 period. We will certainly cover this material, but it will take longer than we had expected. The problem is that I have over-committed my time, and I need to rebalance my writing assignments. As they say on the airplane loudspeaker when your Boston-bound flight is diverted to Buffalo, we are sorry for the inconvenience.

As I have mentioned from time to time, I have been writing a book. This is a book that I promised my parents I would write, and I am in the process of fulfilling that promise. As the saying goes, better late than never.

As this project has developed, I have decided to write a series of books, called A Spiritual Journey through Musicals and Movies, which will discuss the spiritual or metaphysical value of exceptional Broadway shows and movies.

The first book of the series is titled, The Formative Years of Oscar Hammerstein II and focuses on his work through Oklahoma! This book consists of several discussion chapters and thirteen appendices, five of which cover the more esoteric philosophical concepts, including spiritual sense, consciousness, natural manifestation and moral foundations. Several of the appendices are devoted to a review of writers, such as Robert Frost and William Shakespeare, who wrote works of a metaphysical nature.

The draft of the first book is nearing completion, and I am in the process of assessing alternatives for publication. One alternative is an academic publisher, such as the Oxford University Press; a second alternative is to self-publish on Amazon. The current draft is approximately 300 pages and 100,000 words.

This book was difficult to write because as the first in the series, it needs to contain an explanation of how philosophy, especially metaphysics and ontology, tries to uncover an understanding about the “why” of things; for example, it tries to explain why we react the way we do to very special musicals and movies. We know we are moved to tears or to joy; but we don’t always know why.

As I wrote this book, I have conducted in-depth research in order to provide the reader with a broad understanding of a musical’s significance and its contribution to the world of Broadway. This is exemplified by the several chapters and appendices dedicated to a discussion of Show Boat.

In order to discuss the musical comprehensively, I found it necessary to explore Edna Ferber’s novel by the same name in order to understand fully her points of view. Inasmuch as spirituals are such an integral part of her novel (we looked at this when we saw Jess Lee Brooks performing “Go Down, Moses” in a previous FB post), I needed to explore three terms that are key to deciphering spirituals—the rock, the river and the tree. The modern-day importance and significance of these three spiritual symbols was shown by Maya Angelou who included them in a poem she wrote for Bill Clinton’s Presidential Inauguration. Maya explained the importance of the symbols in her interview with Charlie Rose shortly after the Inauguration.

In this book I include many quotations from highly regarded people in order to drive home key points and substantiate my discussion; included in this group are Jack Viertel, who runs Encores! in New York, and author, Krista Tippett, who has a show on National Public Radio (NPR).

During my research I have been amazed by the range of thinkers who have written on the subject of metaphysics, including journalists like Cass Sunstein. I also have been impressed with the number of authors who have written fictional works that depend on philosophical concepts for their power; in this category, we can include classical poets, playwrights and novelists, such as Homer, Shakespeare and Hugo, but we should also include more modern writers, such as George Lucas and David Mamet.

I am convinced that I have written a book that has value; but I recognize that some material may not be easy to read or immediately understand. I fully recognize that I had a choice: I could either write a book so simplistic that all philosophical significance is eliminated; or I could write a book that is accurate but more difficult to absorb. I chose the latter course.

I am an optimist, which means that I see everything with a predisposition of hope and a willingness to endure the hard times while waiting for things to improve. I recognize that not everyone will agree with me; some people don’t believe in hope.

For those of you who have read these posts for the last year or more, you know that I have always made the same decision when I tackle very difficult topics. I try my very best to express my thoughts with both candor and clarity. I have written my first book with similar goals. I think the second book will be much easier to write and to read.

My editor has informed me that my book drafts are ready to be “polished” into a final document and readied for publication; I am putting quotes around the word “polished” because the amount of work is substantial.

From this point on, more of my time will be consumed with doing what is needed to publish the first book. Thus, I need to return to a two-day set of posts for a given week. I will see you all again on Thursday as we look at Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

I will provide more updates on the status of the first book, as we wait for the chance to return to a full week of posts.