Jen and I are super excited about the summer musical, The Brementown Musicians. Jen wrote an awesome script, based on the classic Grimm brothers tale, but with a unique, Jen twist. It goes something like this:
A group of aging animals, who have outlived their usefulness, start to suspect their impending forced retirement. Put out to pasture, so to speak. Only farm animals that don’t earn their keep aren’t put “out” to pasture, so much as they’re put “under” the pasture, courtesy of an executioners bullet. Yes, the Grimm boys wrote some dark stuff.
But these animals are smart, and/or resourceful, and or fortunate, because with the help of someone in the family, who helps them escape or they escape themselves or they just get lucky and affect their manumission through varied means, and the road story begins.
So they band together like the yellow-roaders in the Wizard of Oz and set about finding a new life.
Walking through the woods and they come upon a house and in the house are these robbers and in the Grimm’s version, the animals come up with plan to scare the robbers out of the house so the trekking animals can eat the robbers’ food. Jen wrote such a cool scene here - the details of which I’ll save for opening night - but then it fell to me to write the music. I knew what the feel needed to be: The Robbers Tango. A sultry, wicked song for these wicked men. I could see them singing the tune as they made their meal and admired their freshly-stolen booty of meats and cheese and breads and spirits and gold.
I knew what the show needed and I knew how I wanted the tune play out, but the muse was stingy today and no opening notes volunteered. The wellspring was not pouring fourth as it sometimes does. It wasn’t even dripping. It was dry. Just totally dry.
My go-to, creative fix-all in cases like this is simple: panic, existential despair and the purchase of a hammer and chisel to begin carving the epitaph of my music career.
The muse is, in all cases, smarter than I. I’ll explain:
Panic and despair makes me hungry. Having just experienced the end of my music career, I moved on to the next order of business in my life on that day. Lunch. And after that mid-day meal, I just laid down on my couch and took a little nap. And I had a little dream. A little dream that brought back the music.
I woke with this dream still fresh and vivid in my mind. It was a dream about dollar signs and an array of numbers. Like a Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey light speed tunnel of dollar signs, and I thought, “oh, wow! That is a great image for this song.” And the lyrics began to flow again. My epitaph would have to wait, because the muse was back!
She had never left, of course.