After an incredible slump in creativity, caused by MS interference, I am pleased to report that my muses seem to be nudging me to write again. Composing a new song or two would be a huge breakthrough for me.
Here’s the rub : How to compose music when the very process of listening to music makes me run from the room ?
My guitar work is still super, my voice and 3 octave range still intact (just ask my cat) and my love for lyrical writing is alive and well.
What took me off the stage and made me put all music aside was the effect that Multiple Sclerosis has had on my brain’s ability to “translate” incoming music and rhythm. When you listen to music you enjoy it, yes ?
Sure there are forms of music, musicians and singers you don’t care for but, if you asked most people, everyone would say they “enjoy” music.
I don’t enjoy music or repetitive sounds, it is maddening, I can’t stand it and I have to be where there isn’t music playing. Multiple Sclerosis attacked the wiring in my brain that deciphers music and rhythm. Consequently, most incoming sound translates as wrenching metal or garbled pounding. Oddly, sometimes I get a shift in brain function that means I can tolerate old music that I know by heart, usually music from 1920’s to 1960’s, but only one song at a time, perhaps once a week. After one song I have to turn the music off.
It is the worst thing to have happened to anyone, let alone a professional musician who’s been entertaining people since the age of 14.
There is an excellent book about this kind of brain damage by Dr. Sachs entitled “Musicophilia” wherein he describes several cases of musicians who lost their ability to listen to music.
My MS specialist said that my brain cannot take the stimuli of sound and, in an attempt to limit the coming seizure, takes over and has me react before I even know what I’ve done. This started in 1993 when I would suddenly go around turning off the tvs, radios and stereos in the house even though someone else was listening to them.
Those of us with MS often talk about having to adjust to new realities as we go along. It really is like something out of a the Twilight Zone. Reality just shifts suddenly, as if time and space have taken a slight step to the left, and we have to feel out this new reality and find a way to get comfortable with it because it is not going to shift back.
These shifts may happen a few times a year or, for some, only very rarely.
Occasionally, the “new reality” stays in place long enough for brain communications to settle down and reroute themselves. A window opens and there is a tiny slit of opportunity that presents itself.
I know that this is what has happened to me and my window opened, ever so slightly, in June of this year. I started knitting and the colors looked good from one day to the next, I went into my fiber stash and organized the colors to start spinning wool again for projects AND I began singing around the house.
Knowing that this window can slam shut at any time has me enjoying creative play in every moment, creating little art pieces for friends and recording bits and pieces of new tunes.
I don’t know how long this new reality will last but I wanted to let you all know that I have never given up the idea of recording fresh albums and publishing all my lyrics in an illustrated book through all these stagnant years.
The Sci-Fi and Fantasy communities have stayed with me all this time, keeping me company and writing encouraging letters and emails. I really hope I can give something back to you…. before the dark window closes again.
Be well, be happy,