Monthly Archives: February 2024


As said, I had some time when getting a trade publisher proved problematical. Then illustrator and friend, Holly Sullo, advised me that as the owner of the copyright to “Intimate Conversations,” I could publish that book privately without undercutting my chances of obtaining a publisher later because there was no agent, and no middleman. I had not been aware of that. Why not do that?

So, I set my sails, and embarked on what became an odyssey, one which proved by turns to be joyful, nasty, difficult, tortuous, creative, educational, and collaborative. Over the months I learned how a book is produced and comes to life. As you can imagine, when I finally held in my hands for the first time the printed book created by me and my ‘friends,” I felt great pride and accomplishment. An odyssey is described as “searching” for something. Indeed, I had searched, and had realized the culmination of those deep and personal conversations with twenty-one world class musicians.

Along the way the added experience had polished my writing style. Like how to start and end chapters, how to present the subject in the best way to tell of the depth of that person, when and where to switch to the third person to inject necessary and interesting background. I became fully confident in my own style, which Jordan describes as a “stream of consciousness,” It is true that I write in one feel swoop, trying to reach the reader by using ordinary vernacular in a mind catching way, usually only requiring the first draft copy-edited by myself after some thought to reach final form. Lucky am I to never have writer’s block using this approach in which the words flow once I start.

Who were my friends? Well, my longtime legal assistant, Cathy Jenness, transcribed all those interviews. Without them there is no book. My longtime formatter and collaborator, Susan Worst, to whom the book is dedicated, aided me every step of the way. Holly Sullo converted my idea for the front and back covers into reality, and created a logo of the hydra-headed monster known as Larry Ruttman, if you will. Susan and Holly have continued to help me on my memoir, “A Life Lived Backwards,” as you will hear. The indexer I chose went beyond my expectations to the point where the comprehensive index added a new dimension to the book, making it useful in the halls of academia wherever. Noted Professor of Music, John Graziano, added a Foreword that spoke of the permanence the book would attain. The permissions required for many of the striking full-page illustrations in the book were generously obtained from their creators without fee solely on the promise to provide each with a copy of the book. The final touches to the book were accomplished in the most intense twelve-day period of my life with Janice Tsai, a Harvard trained collaborator serendipitously brought to my attention, with whom I exchanged hundreds of e-mails over that short period as we combined intro the wee hours to copy edit and put the final touches on the book before printing. Janice assisted me in solving the enigma of the elusive last chapter to be completed!

We finished this podcast with me mouthing a vulgarism to describe how I was able to meet with all those musicians. You’ll hear it when you listen. Anyway, it finally got me to the hybrid publisher of my dreams.

People always people.