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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:138
  • eBook ISBN:9781620951781

Luminous Soda Drops

Thoughts & Stuff Composed by Mike Bitterman 1966-'68

by Mike Bitterman

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The year was 1966. Mike Bitterman was 16 years old and in the 10th grade at Great Neck North Senior High. As one of the first kids to have long hair he was considered an outcast. School, he found, a great bore and was tagged a rebel for not conforming to the system. Often, to kill time, he wrote his thoughts in and on anything he could find. Luminous Soda Drops is an extraordinary compilation of those inspired thoughts in the form of poems, rants, short stories, and musings. All of them were written during classes, detention, and daydreaming moments during the years 1966-1968. There was no era like the 60’s and these works speak highly of the times and frustrations that he, and thousands of others, shared.


A little about me and this book… I was 16 years old in 1966. I don’t recall being the typical “peace and love” hippie the 60’s is known for. I actually hated the term “hippies”, a word the media invented. Honestly, I felt more like an individual, an angry one, since I was hassled wherever I was, and even beaten up several times. I was considered by many as something of an outcast, mainly because I was one of the first kids in school to have long hair. You see, I was a musician by that time and had started a band a year earlier called, The Long Island Sounds. I was the rhythm guitarist. I was a rhythm guitarist because John Lennon was a rhythm guitarist. If John Lennon played the Tuba, then I, and thousands of others, would be playing.......... the Tuba. During this time, I spent quite a bit of time in detention for going against school policy; I wore dungarees (‘jeans’) which was not part of the dress code, but I wore them because I liked wearing them. I loved detention because all I would do there is write. School became boring to me and I started skipping classes usually going to the city and hanging out around Times Square seeing movies and playing in the arcades. I spent all of my time writing. I wrote all kinds of thoughts and stuff which I compiled into a book called, Luminous Soda Drops. I’d say about 90% of it was written at Great Neck North Senior High - either in classes or detention. In the beginning it was just to pass time, but it soon became a passion and a fantastic outlet for my frustrations and longings. In ‘67 I started a new book called, The Significance of a Pink Balloon is That I’m Satisfied With Second Best, and that contained more stories than just my wandering thoughts. Several selections from that project are included within this 2011 version of Luminous Soda Drops. I have not read any of these works since I wrote them 44 years ago. Looking at it now, I am amazed that I am the same person that wrote this. Much of it will be looked at as the rantings and ravings of a teenager in the 60s, and quite honestly I understand, because that is how a lot of it looks to me. I look upon these words now as if I’m a different person and I have to say I am impressed with my sheer, unabashed honesty. There is much here that I no longer believe and would have loved to change history by doing some deleting - but I did not. For the sake of the era and just plain truth I felt everything should stay just as it was originally written.

About the author

Michael Bitterman is a multi-talented and avant-garde composer, producer, lyricist, playwright, musician, performer, and writer. He began writing musicals and Twilight Zone scripts in 1961, when he was just 11 years old. Although Rod Serling (Creator of Twilight Zone) sent him letters of encouragement, nothing materialized on TV, but they lived on in his dreams. Inspired by John Lennon in 1964, Michael became a rhythm guitarist, forming one of the premier bands in Great Neck, The Long Island Sounds. Ostracized by the conventions of normal society, he found solace in Greenwich Village in the mid 60’s. Eventually, in 1968, he was writing songs and performing at the Gaslight Cafe on MacDougal Street. By 1969 others were noticing Michael’s burgeoning talents as well, Albert Grossman (manager for Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Janis Joplin, and The Band) offered him an exclusive song writing contract. John Hammond offered him a contract with Columbia Records for his band, Midnight. It seems, though, that composing scores for musicals was the calling for Michael Bitterman. A true, lifelong passion that has yielded nine in all. Some career highlights are, Five After Eight, an off-Broadway production in 1979 in which he produced and wrote the score and lyrics for. More recently, Forlorn Hope -The Donner Party Musical, a work he composed in 2003. Today, Michael Bitterman continues his creative journey by helping others have their creative visions realized by recording their music. Since 1973 he has owned and operated Midnight Modulation recording studio in Saugerties, New York.

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