October 29, 2010


I traveled down to my local big book store this morning to purchase a book that their web site said was there.  Then their in-store puter said it wasn't but when I turned around two copies were out on the table behind me.  Sometimes one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.

No matter, it was worth the journey so long as I could use my 40% coupon.  I usually don't buy coffee table books but I had to have Finishing the Hat...Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes  by Stephen Sondheim and so far, having read about 25 pages, I have not been disappointed.  
What has struck me the most is his preface in which he says something that applies, I believe, to all writing:

"There are only three principles necessary for a lyric writer, all of them familiar truisms....they underlie everything I've ever written.  In no particular order, and to be written in stone:

Content Dictates Form

Less Is More

God is in the Details

all in the service of


without which nothing else matters."

Thank you Mr. Sondheim.  I'm going to enjoy reading this and savoring your lyrics and listening to your music in my head.

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