I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember. I started playing jazz piano professionally at age 15. In my book I describe my “rite of passage” when I joined the Danbury, Connecticut Musicians’ Union in 1957, as probably their youngest member ever, and certainly their youngest female member. I played in different kinds of groups, usually trios or quartets, sometimes solo, for many years until I created my 10-piece band, Brass Tacks, in 1985.
So how did I end up working as a journalist for twelve years? I had never taken a journalism course, and I hadn’t even graduated from college. This was back in the middle 70s, and I was living in Boston. I had separated from my husband and was trying to raise two daughters on my own. I’d already gotten a few jobs at the Christian Science Center, as an office worker, a security guard and a gardener, and I was in the habit of going to their personnel department whenever I needed work.
Well, one fine day I trekked over there, asked them what they had, and they offered me a job as a copy kid in The Christian Science Monitor newsroom. Even though I was only in my thirties, I was probably the oldest copy kid they’d ever had. I took the job and enjoyed it…I liked the atmosphere of the newsroom with all the bustling, noise and deadlines, and one day it occurred to me that I could write something for the paper, maybe a record review. With some trepidation I approached the Arts and Entertainment editor, and to my surprise he said, “Sure, go ahead,” but with no guarantee that it would be published. Well, it was published, and then I wrote another, and another, and another…and that led to writing an article and another, and another…and before I knew it, I was the popular music critic for The Christian Science Monitor.