Oh gee. This is the part where I have to talk about myself. (And let me tell you, those who think this is easy have never tried it as a serious proposition.) What do I say? My life is pretty normal in many ways. I live and breathe. I sleep. I eat just a bit too much, and I exercise a bit too little. I have a few hobbies and have had others that have fallen by the wayside. All this is usual.

I could tell you about my childhood, about the schools I went to, or the kids I ran with, but what fun would that be? The schools were good and bad and indifferent. The kids were kids. We did kid things, like form goofy bicycle gangs with three members, stave off hordes of invading bad guys (Soviets when I was little, Nazis later on), and prod at dead cats with sticks, but none of this is really all that interesting. Even if it isn't quite identical to what you did as a kid (maybe you grew up in Russia, and just fought the Nazis all along) it's probably pretty similar. Different species, same genus. That kind of thing.

So I won't talk about that. Or at least not very much. Instead I'll tell you who I am now, and I'll try to give you a brief overview of how I got here. As we earlier established. I'm a composer, but that's not paying the bills yet so obviously I do other things as well. And how exactly did I get here?

First other things, ordered from least to most related (since the most related stuff is a part of the composerly trail.) I'm also a stagehand. I have been a sound guy and, at times, a rigger. (We're the folks that put all that stuff that hangs over rock concerts in the air. All the lights and speakers and flying gizmos and doodads. And isn't it funny that lights came first in the sentence about a music show? Maybe some of those musicians are compensating for something, huh?)

Where was I? Oh yes. Who am I. I was trying to tell the story of my life in under five thousand years, or words rather. I'm a stagehand. I am also a musician. About fifteen years ago, when I realized that I wasn't having so much fun with the theatre thing anymore, and it wasn't putting as much food on the table as I wanted, I decided I'd go into a REALY lucrative profession: I'd become a music teacher! I could make money and save the world by teaching kids about Beethoven! (This is important, don't you see? Everybody should learn the glories that are Beethoven, and a host of other composers besides. And if I have a soft spot for particular dead German guys, you'll have to forgive me. My first address preordained it.) (A hint. It was in a German part of an old town where they have streets named after assorted German writers, like Schiller and Goethe, and perhaps a composer or two.)

So I went back to school. (I'd dropped out my first time around the block, thanks to working too many shows and attending too few classes.) And I studied music. I'd always wanted to do that anyway, along with wanting to be a scientist and an engineer (of the locomotive operating type.) . . . (And a minister, but I forget about that one these days, as it was shorter lived than the others.) Right. Back to school. And there I discovered that I could indeed write music. (I'd sat at the piano as a small child banging things out that had lots of notes and little structure, and of course a constant depression of the damper or "loud" pedal. I found it much more rewarding than playing the stuff that my mother wanted me to learn. And in the end, it turns out that in this one instance of my life, she may have been wrong, and I may have been right. Well okay, we may both have been right. We'll have to wait and see a little longer to be certain

And so here I am. I still wish I could be a scientist and a locomotive engineer every now and then, but I am most assuredly a musician. I taught music theory and music appreciation and a few other odds and ends at a small college in central Missouri. I'm back in stagecraft again now, though I still lecture about music when I have the chance. And whence from here? Why interesting that you should ask that. Certainly some place where I'll pester people into listening to more of my music, and playing it more often, but beyond that, who can say?

So that's me, and that's my life, and I hope that you enjoyed the telling. If you really want to hear the stuff about the schoolyard fights and the dead cats, well, I'll try and write that story another day.





D. M. Ackerman