Feeling sentimental. Forty-one years ago today my plane touched down at LaGuardia and I embarked on my new life in Manhattan. As my taxi whisked me over the Triborough Bridge to an uncertain future, with my head full of dreams and my heart full of hope, I thought about my immediate “to do” list: Find a job, an apartment and the love of my life. I somehow knew they were all waiting for me in Emerald City. It’s been a twisted and sometimes mysterious road, but it eventually led me to all three.
WAM: Do you not just adore it when dreams come true? I enjoyed the same experience when I moved from Salzburg to Vienna over 200 years ago.
MM: Yes, my dear Mozart, but you accomplished your dreams much faster than I. And in fact, I’m still working on some of them.
WAM: You do procrastinate, my dear.
MM: No, my dear Mozart, I multi-task. You applied yourself to your music full-time. After quitting my job as an advertising writer, I pursued many outlets for self-expression: Non-fiction, fiction, songwriting, singing, and serious composition. And yes, sometimes I became side-tracked, as in traveling the world with my late husband while he performed with the Original Blues Brothers Band.
WAM: In my day, we might have called you a dilettante
MM: I’ll ignore that. Point is, I’ve been working on a memoir about my unconventional life, and when I heard about the New York Table 4 Writers Foundation 2014 Grant Competition I extracted 2,500 words from it, entitled it “Lullaby of Broadway,” and entered. It’s a three-part story that opens with that young woman looking down from the plane at the be-jeweled city waiting to welcome her and fulfill her dreams; then it segues into the reality of her NY life, as she snorts heroin with her piano teacher during her lunch break; and concludes with a nightmarish experience of playing piano bar in a Broadway dive, entertaining hookers and tourists.
WAM: Vastly different from our Sunday afternoon soirees at Baron van Swieten’s library.
MM: Vastly. But worth living through because it provided me with so much material to write about. And best of all, it won me a grant from the Foundation.
WAM: My heartiest congratulations, Madame.
MM: Thank you, Amadé. I received my award last night at the Table 4 Gala at the Metropolitan Club — exactly on the eve of when my New York story begins. Doesn’t that just feel…mystical?
WAM: A gala, you say. And you did not invite mois?
MM: I didn’t think you would have the appropriate attire.