Fallout

The following was posted to NewMusicBox, and speaks of music matters and some topics specific to the magazine. The original is no longer on the website, but has been reproduced here (the final entry on the bottom).

11/4/2004@1:18:29 PM

Since I have young children (or the children have me, what an expression), I know families. I know families who left New York City since September 11. I know a family that left and came back. And I know a family that fell apart. Mine.

It was impossible for me to return to work, to return to normal, or at least to use what was previously normal as an escape, because I had the dumb luck of taking a job in emergency management and security enhancement three years prior to September 11, and so I returned to a job where September 11 was all I could think of, all I was required to think of. I didn't burn out, but the importance of September 11 did make the politics, which is all about where the money and attention is, that much more intense. Before September 11, I had to fight to convince others that what I was working on was important. After September 11, I had to fight off others who were convinced that what I was working on was too important.

I resigned into the worst economy that New York City had seen during my working life. I couldn't find full-time employment, and have since given up looking. When my marriage broke up and I lost custody of my children, freelance work gave me the flexibility to accommodate visitation. Visitation has also made it impossible for me to consider moving, or to take a job that involves too much travel. My children are simply too important to me. And I hope that my children think that I am too important to them, as well.

After September 11, I wasn't sure whether I would ever compose again. I did find that music, and by that I must admit to meaning music that I already loved, was an escape and a comfort to me. I've discovered the work of some composer-performers that I've fallen in love with, too. I did compose again, as part of the trial-by-fire that is David Rodwin and Patrick Mellen's Raw Impressions Music Theatre. The last thing I wrote for them became the musical source material for the fourth and final "September 11 Song."

I premiered the first "September 11 Song" live on Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, a week after my resignation. The joy of that appearance gave me the strength to complete the second. The third still awaits completion, as self-imposed deadlines pass. After the divorce, I did write a song, which I could perform along with the four "September 11 Songs," assuming I ever complete them, which I hope I do, as I also hope that I have the emotional strength to perform them.

At the end of the month after my resignation, I got sick of the constant harrassment on the NewMusicBox Forum. Richard Kessler vowed to establish what he called a "Terms of Service," but it was months before it was implemented. The only posting I have made to NewMusicBox since June 2003 was a brief update to my April 2001 hyper-history of American music theatre. Due to the new format, it is banished to a separate page.

I found safe haven for a spell on MPR's American Mavericks chat pages, and, of course, within the moderated C-Opera listserv and my own website. I continue to promote, and to attend, NewOp. I write regularly for New Music Connoisseur now, was even honored at their recent gala and in the current issue, and have been concentrating on my book, and on using Finale, which I had purchased around the time of my resignation. But I was mainly concentrating on finding income to pay my bills, and on the divorce, and on surviving in its aftermath. Using the Jewish or academic year, which is also the concert season and anniversary of September 11, last year was really bad in about every way one could possibly imagine.

I haven't really been reading NewMusicBox much; I'm sure I have missed several entire issues. I kept my private life a secret from most of my music colleagues, even as I attended meetings, parties, and concerts. I talked to my lawyer, probably too much at one point, which ran up my bill considerably. She had a baby, she's a family in my neighborhood now, and we have remained friends, although I am grateful to be off the clock.

In this day and age, we are a patchwork quilt of multiple identities, and just about every single one of mine has gone through a traumatic shift. I'm laughing out loud again, but when I encounter anything that makes me cry, I turn it off. I cry enough on my own, thank you.

I don't blame September 11. I certainly don't mean to imply that it's an excuse. There have been plenty of other contributors - did the Great Blackout of August 2003 have to occur on my 9th wedding anniversary? But September 11 has been, and continues to be, a backdrop for my life, and not a pleasant one. According to my computer, I actually started on my book, which is quite optimistic and looks to the future, three months prior to September 11, 2001. I estimate that the first draft is about 95% complete, and I just started making the rounds of literary agents.

The final "September 11 Song" is titled "Hope." I worry about myself, I worry about my children. And I continue to think a lot about hope.

Barry Drogin
Not Nice Music

Link back to My Personal September 11 Page.

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Last Updated: September 12, 2007