Keeping Score In America: Chapter One
By Michael Moriarty
I had thought of unfolding this saga in chronological order.
That whole idea makes my eyes lid.
I'm not really here on earth to make life easier for historians, not that many such might be interested in this ole, increasingly cantankerous American exile.
This book is just to introduce myself as I am now to those people who might not only survive my death but actually be alive and raising hell thousands of years from now.
Tucked away in some corner of a space ship's library, Keeping Score In America, might strike some young astronaut as a mild amusement to while away the days, months, weeks and years he is destined to spend in some remote corner of the Universe. A flying sanctuary where America seems like an old love song that brings tears to your eyes. Not that the United States has been that forgotten. By then, America's chapter in history will have grown so small and distant yet so reminiscent of Ancient Greece that names like Abraham Lincoln and John Wayne… well… that's something, someday… a time lapse… we might want to meditate on occasionally.
Right now I'm too busy trying to write this.
When did I first learn how to "keep score"?
Not sure how old I was. Pretty young then. But like most things, my impatient father wanted me to know everything before I even had a chance to know why he had to be my father.
That is not a question that would interest my father. He was, as he once announced to me, an "agnostic".
He considered himself a "learn-éd" man.
He expected me to be the same.
I don't know what this all has to do with "keeping score" of a baseball game. Tiger Stadium in Detroit is where he tried to teach me how "keep score".
Much later in my life I would read about the columnist, George Will, and how he shares his own obsession with statistics and score-keeping at a Washington Nationals game.
Statistics tell you almost everything!
That's basically how George Will looks at almost all of life.
I can't do that.
Computers and the soul of a computer don't fit with my personal software.
Oh, I use computers!
They took my typewriter away.
I still don't know much about computers. Thank God my wife Irene is here! She helps drag me out of all these computer dead-ends I keep running into.
I know enough about the incredibly complex software FINALE to complete a score. I need Irene's help however when we break the score down into parts. Dividing it all up not only frightens me, it depresses me. It all looks so much better and undeniably complete when all the instruments can be seen at the same time.
However, once Irene has helped me break the score into parts, I can then put the performing details into those parts, the all-important "lead-ins" that keep the players accurate about entrances and exits.
I still look at music as if it were a play with different characters, which, in the case of an opera, it is.
These scores, however, are much more ruthlessly accurate than in the theater.
The actor, rather like a jazz musician, becomes the composer for his role. Creates the melody line for his dialogue.
I've never been patient long enough to learn how to immediately sight-read music. Too many of my own melodies going on in my head to pin myself down with someone else's.
Oh, I wallow in Puccini's La Boheme and Rachmaninoff's finger-crunching piano concertos, studying their architecture repeatedly, but now that I have been free to compose daily since my retirement, the priority is getting my musical conceptions and creations down on the computer screen.
The power and ability to instantly hear them played back, albeit with perfect accuracy but rather mechanical deliveries, has afforded me the equivalent of years with a symphony orchestra.
Presently my weekly Etudes available here are exercises that widen the variety of my daily dreams for the future.
Meanwhile, with my gift for sudden admissions and confessions, I've grown fat in recent years and I feel increasingly at home in the "politically incorrect" disgrace of "pudginess". This thumb to the nose for fat-obsessed First Lady Michelle Obama is particularly gratifying. She and her husband's hatred for Winston Churchill's soul and his portly profile? May their ideé fix over the great knight's eternally permanent fame and legend come to haunt that couple throughout their own, endless infamy.
As for my leading man days in a brief spotlight, they ended many years ago. Why I took this long to let go and fatten up? Everything takes the time it takes.
Despite appearances and some of the feelings we experience, life is Perfect!
"Really?!" you might exclaim with a late mortgage payment in your hand, your job at risk and the wife about to leave you!!
My belief in Life's Perfection is the 24 hours-a-day exercise of my faith.
When Life is toughest, that's the only time Real Faith can be tested.
Faced with Crucifixion, my Lord said, "Thy will, not mine."
If you don't know the importance of faith to me, there would really be no point in reading or even writing this book.
What additional cornerstone of my life is important for you to be told about before we begin the memories of my pilgrimage?
That's enough for now.
"Despite appearances, life is perfect?!?!"
That's more than enough for Chapter One.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.