March 26, 2020
It all started with a direct message on Facebook.
A very nice lady asked me if I would call her relative to a writing project. I was intrigued. The nice lady was named Judie Worrell. I didn’t make any immediate connections.
I returned the DM. “Sure, I’d love to talk about it. I am on the verge of starting my second and third books as I prepare to retire from my day job,” I said. “But I’m always interested in hearing about other things.” My tone was pretty casual, and I wasn’t thinking all that deeply about it. And in the process, I nearly torpedoed myself.
Clearly, I was busy. Judie took that to mean I wouldn’t want to take on another project. Then she let the cat out of the bag. “I’m looking for someone to write a biography on my husband, Bernie Worrell. But it seems like you’re too busy …”
It would seem Judie had been aware of or had been made aware of my writing, which led her to contact me. I have been saying for a couple of years that one of my goals was to get my writing in front of the right set of eyes, which could lead to bigger (and more widely seen) things than my own personal musical adventures. It would seem this has actually happened.
I assured her I was interested. Bernie Worrell is, after all, a legendary musician! How could I pass up a chance like this? I agreed to call and talk to her, which I did from my patrol car near the end of an afternoon watch.
Our conversation was quite pleasant, and it almost sounded like Judie was ready to offer me the gig then and there. And I was ready to take it! Instead, she asked me to “sell myself” via a brief proposal explaining why I thought I was qualified, and where I would take this body of work. And that’s what I did. It appears to have paid off.
There were negotiations, of course, but no real sticking points. Judie and I have been on the same page since our very first conversation. But there were a couple of details to iron out. That has been taken care of.
Shortly after, I was over the moon to put these words on my social medial pages:
“Bernie Worrell is a legend. His work with Parliament/Funkadelic in the 1970’s, and the impact it had on funk, rock and R&B music, cannot be overstated. He was a prodigy, an A-list keyboardist, a brilliant composer, a sound innovator, and one of the biggest influences in the history of music. Bernie passed away in 2016, but his work continues to resonate, and will for years to come.
And I am his biographer.
With the blessing of the Worrell estate, I have been commissioned to write Bernie’s life story. I can’t begin to express how honored and humbled I am. My first #semiretirement project will keep me very busy, indeed. I’ll still be doing my CirdecSongs work, but I’ll have to get a LOT better with my time management.
Thank you to everyone who made this possible. I won’t let you down.”
And with that, my semi-retired life — which I refer to as #ChapterTwo — officially had a purpose.
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