The year of musical thinking

In a recent interview, American writer Philip Roth told a story about his Romanian friend Norman Manea.

“Under Ceausescu, Norman went to an older writer from the Party to complain about his readership. The man said, ‘Norman, all a writer needs are eight readers. Think about it. Why do you need more than eight readers? That's enough.


You, unfortunately, have only three.’”

Cringe. I told myself nearly the same thing when I started blogging about music for WXXI. Eight readers would be great. One would suffice.

A year ago, I began writing about music and ideas in playful, bloggy-style prose. Most of my chosen subjects were under the radar of mainstream culture. I covered concerts drawing fewer than fifty people and music that required time, space, and mindful attention. Blogging also gave me the chance to reveal a veiled sense of who I am, a somewhat bookish, introverted band geek who tends to over think just about everything. I’m passionate about classical music. Jim Undercoefler, the outgoing CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, once said that he was enslaved by it. I totally understand.

Friends, writers, and musicians have taken the time to post comments on this blog during the past year. I’m delighted. Composer Steve Reich responded, as did violist John Graham. The only negative literary criticism I’ve received has been from one of my supervisors who said, “I don’t get why you post pictures of your cat.”

Soon, this blog and those of my colleagues will get more exposure: WXXI is revamping its website. What happens down the road is unexplored territory.

For now, I’m just happy with my eight readers.

I’m happy with you.