Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Meeting Leroy Cooper - memoir of conversations
The great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, "If you come to a fork in the road take it." I had come to that fork. I have written a book that is near completion was not taking the right course. I had almost decided to ditch the book and close my business. I make a decent living writing articles and I thought that maybe I should stick to that for now.
Last week I had an epiphany. I saw my friend, Ernest Vantrease, keyboard player for B.B. King. The band was in town for a show. After visiting with Ernie and feeling the strong bond we share I considred our history and how we got to know each other. When I traced my steps back to our meeting I realized that I was taking the wrong approach to the book. My original plan had been to write Leroy Cooper's memoir. In fact, that project took on a life of its own during the 2-1/2 years that I worked with Leroy. I met many people who knew him, did interviews with a variety of people, many of whom played with Ray Charles when Leroy was his bandleader, and even had one of them visit and stay in my home in order to attend Leroy's funeral.
After seeing Ernie I realized that what I should be writing is my brief memoir describing the experiences since I met Leroy Cooper and how that first meeting led me to where I am today. Of course, Leroy's stories are a large part of my story but each one took me in a direction that I chose to pursue in tracking down old friends of his and forming some new relationships. And therein lies the story.
I have a new plan and will follow this path right up until the present. I have heard the expression, "Write about what you know." Well, there is nothing I know better than my own experiences told from my point of view. I was never intended to be a ghost writer on the project and I am not a ghost. I am a writer and have decided to start from the beginning, about 3 years ago and bring it forward.