Luminous Muse


Massachusetts, USA
September 20
Retired composer, music publisher and producer. Writer.
Manchester Music Library
My memoir "Escaping the Giant" and my thriller "You Can't Write About Me" are both finished and with an agent. If he can't sell them I will self-publish, so one way or another they will be available soon. This blog and my memoir have enjoyed a vibrant relationship: I've repurposed bits of the memoir, which have then found their way into later drafts of the book. I didn't plan it that way, but it's a nice way to work.


Editor’s Pick
MAY 14, 2012 9:10AM


Mitt Romney, 1965 and today 

Mitt Romney in 1965, and today. 

I try to steer clear of politics on this blog. With all the political discussion raging online, I’m afraid all I have to contribute is heat, and not much light.

But the recent revelation that Mitt Romney was a bully in prep school –Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 13, 2012 8:54AM

Hidden San Francisco



 “I Left a 'Piece of My Heart' in San Francisco”

No, it’s not some gruesome song mash-up, the ghost of dear Janis Joplin scrreaming over a poor crooning Tony Bennett, scaring him so badly that he’s losing that genial smile.

 It’s a simple stat… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 8, 2012 8:21AM


the path out 

The ophthalmologist who diagnosed me with a retinal stroke called it “the canary in the mine” -early warning of worse things that might come, like a brain stoke. Last Wednesday I had an MRI to investigate what danger might be lurking down the tunnels of my arteries.

&n… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 1, 2012 8:59AM

Tuba Times


Japanese war tubas 

 Three short Preludes and an Impromptu for Tubas, Piano, Violin, Pianist, Recording Engineer, Golden Girl, Razor Blade, Sex Toys, Editor of Sex Film (off stage), Orgasm Loop (faked; off stage), Fender Rhodes and Celeste.

 PRELUDE I - SoCal Tuba TragedRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 9, 2012 1:25PM

Stephen King and my dad (Part 1)



I was reading Stephen King’s latest – 11/2/63, an alternate history of JFK’s assassination - when I ran into my father. I was using the Kindle app on my iPad, so I can’t say which page it was on, only that it was location 1071, 8% through the book.Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 23, 2011 10:54AM

Authenticity and the 60s

“Teach your children well. Their father’s hell did slowly go by. And feed them on their dreams….” –Graham Nash


Frank Sinatra is haunting Mrs. Muse and me. Not our house. We don’t wake to the sound of a ghostly rat pack stumbling around in the attic,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 15, 2011 12:32PM

Just a Man




camping snake river

My father and I on the Snake River in 1980 

Seven years ago early in the morning of June 1st, my father’s nurse woke me to say,  “Your father has passed.” I sat vigil, alone, at the foot of his bed, periodically glancing at his face, then… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 31, 2011 11:23AM

Convertible Dreams



Toyota Solara 

We bounced up the mountain on the dirt road, the undercarriage of our car clunking from time to time on one of the bigger bumps.  I was following the directions Alec had given me the first time we came to visit, thirty years ago – “Just/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 8, 2011 9:34AM

The Byrds - Eight Miles High

I was fifteen in early 1966 when I heard Dylan sing, “Something’s happening, and you don’t know what it is…”  He sang with an authority and conviction that convinced me he possessed some Great Secret. I didn’t know what was happening, but wanted to find ou/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 28, 2011 1:17PM

Three Fine Scores

As promised here  I spent Christmas with Jewish Friends watching a movie and going out for Chinese.  The movie, True Grit, was the first of three very good films I’ve seen in the last month. Each of them was enhanced by a fine score.

 True Grit

 I had my… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 12, 2011 11:08AM

What Does a Music Publisher Do?

Tin Pan Alley (Photo By Ranveig)

Your picture of a music publisher, if you have one at all, might be of some fat guy on tin pan alley sitting behind a desk, smoking a fat cigar, grinning a shark’s grin at the skinny songwriter sitting across from him.… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 4, 2011 9:27AM

Best New Artist of the 00s

Nerina Pallot at Cornbury music festival (Photo by Steve Jones) 
You’d think that after the Beatles we Americans would pay attention when someone starts making wonderful sounds across the pond.  Not so. 

Nerina Pallot (pronounced with a silent T) has been… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 22, 2010 10:41AM

The Deal with Christmas Music

When it came to music my father and I had little in common. He couldn’t abide the rock music I played for a living.  I had no use for the idol of his youth, Bix Biederbeck. Or any other jazz for that matter.  We briefly agreed on liking/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 17, 2010 7:51AM

Three Christmas Readings


It's coming on Christmas

 They're cutting down trees

 They're putting up reindeer

 And singing songs of joy and peace

 Oh I wish I had a river

 I could skate away on

 -Joni Mitchell


 My father loved Christmas. From the time I was very small in the daRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 19, 2010 9:10AM

Plug-in musicians

My dreams often come true. Not those little passing fancies, but the ones I dream with passion and duration. But there’s no guarantee as to when. Dreams can come true, but they’re often late. I imagine that’s because the dream fulfillment department is swamped with back orders. The… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 4, 2010 10:28AM

I was a teenage Beatle


 One afternoon in January of 1964 I went to my best friend Bobby’s house after school.

I heard a racket coming from upstairs, a sound unlike anything I’d ever heard.  “What’s that?” He shook his head, little sisters. “Abby. She’s beenRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 25, 2010 9:32AM

Brain in a Jar


My father forbade me to see horror movies, Twilight Zone, or Outer Limits. When he came home from a screening of “Psycho” he said, “I’ll never let you watch it” then proceeded to describe in gory detail everything from the famous shower s

Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 21, 2010 2:47PM

Elgar and My Dad

“There are places I remember…All my life, though some have changed

Some forever not for better, Some have gone and some remain

All those places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living In my life I’ve loved them… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 12, 2010 11:28AM

Satisfaction and Mad Men

Like many, I’m a big fan of AMC’s “Mad Men.”  I have long been disappointed by all the  books and movies that fail to capture the spirit of the 1960’s. It’s one of my motivations for writing, to try to do that myself.

From the first episode Mad Men evoked… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 11:15AM

Hidden Classical Gems


 (Mario Sarto)

If you already know the classical repertoire, none of these are hidden.

If you hate classical music, “You’re in the wrong place my friend, you better leave.” (B. Dylan, a classicist of another sort.)

But if you’ve heard some classical st… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 2:25PM

My Affair with Ms. Ambien

“I started out on Burgundy, but soon hit the harder stuff” –B. Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb Blues


 Johannessen - Femme Fatale

 We met in the dark days after my father’s death. The devil insomnia had plagued most of my nights since I was 12. It had stolen… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 26, 2010 8:06PM

Song of the Century

What’s the greatest song of the 20th century?

Rolling Stone says it’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Many days I’m inclined to agree. But it depends on the day, on my mood.

 When I’m down and want commiseration it’s “A Case of You.” When I&rsq

Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 11, 2010 7:02AM

Nothing's Good Enough

 I quit. I give up.

Nothing's good enough for anybody else

it seems.

 -Edie Brickell, “Circle of Friends.”

 Everyday just as I was getting to work composing my boss came in and started ragging on me. “Listen to this piece of shit.” “I Don’t kno… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 2, 2010 1:52PM

Music Maker

We are the music makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams - O'Shaughnessy, Elgar

 When I was young I burned with desire to make things with my hands. I wanted my father to teach me to hammer and saw but he showed me his big hands and said, “All… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 26, 2010 6:57AM


     My father announced,  “We’re taking a whole month’s vacation!” It was the summer of 1960, the year he won his Guggenheim grant. With the money he got we could afford to rent a cabin on Mount Desert Island for August. He saw the promise of a very well-d/… Read full post »