The WOO Chronicles: The Highest Regard

Some writing projects are easier than others.

I’ve been writing on various levels for a very long time. More often than not, I have been able to approach my subject with enough enthusiasm to make my writing relatively easy once all the source material is in place. This is usually the direct result of the subject(s) being interesting, or the source material offering up the kind of information that makes writing the facts and the thought processes behind them relatively simple. I can just sit at the keyboard and watch the words flow.

Now and then, there is a subject I find myself less than enthusiastic about. Naturally, this causes the words to flow a bit more slowly, like molasses running uphill in January. Rarely do I find the writing process tortuous. But it happens every now and again.

My first book was nothing but a study in enthusiasm. I loved my subject matter, and even when I had to write something negative, I knew it served a purpose toward the overall narrative. Throughout the course of typing a 606-page manuscript (translated to 450 pages in print), I cannot recall a specific instance where I found myself stuck or searching for the right words. Some subjects were more fun than others, but none of them were approached with a sense of dread. That makes things much easier.

When I took on the Bernie Worrell project, I did so with a high degree of enthusiasm. Here is a musician who’s song has never been properly sung. To be recruited for such a project is an honor for which I will forever be grateful. I have every intention of earning this commission, despite having already been awarded same.

I was enthusiastic about my subject to the point where it never dawned on me that my subject might be difficult to write about. Maybe he wasn’t a good person. Maybe he did horrible things. Maybe nobody really liked him. What would I do then? There’s nothing worse than pushing molasses against a deadline.

Thankfully, I had no need to worry whatsoever.

I’m about hip-deep in articles and interviews conducted by myself and others. There was nothing in the works of other journalists that told me I was in for rough sledding. That was good. What’s even better is the consistent vibe I’m getting from the musicians and others who knew, hung around with, or shared the bandstand and studio with Bernie Worrell. I cannot recall ever writing about a subject being held in such incredibly high regard. It seems quite evident that to know Bernie was to LOVE Bernie, period.

My interview subjects can’t wait to tell me about him! They gush over his abilities as a keyboardist. They praise his influence, telling me how Bernie made them better players. They marvel at his innovations. They regale me with stories. And they laugh through almost all of it. Most importantly, every single interview subject I’ve spoken to simply cannot wait to tell me what an incredible human being Bernie was.

I only wish I could have met him.

Something else I’ve noticed: everyone I talk to wants to ensure Bernie gets his just due on multiple levels. The topic has been brought up by everyone I have interviewed so far. That may not seem like a big deal, but here’s the thing: I never ASKED anyone about it! Yet they found it necessary to bring it up all the same. It will make for a fascinating chapter. As for the subject, well … you’re just gonna have to wait.

My ultimate point is this: the subject of Bernie Worrell has opened up a geyser of writing possibilities, any one of which can be approached with a carefree joy and enthusiasm an author can only dream about. I’m writing about a great guy, and it’s going to show.

This is gonna be a lot of fun.


You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

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