I had an odd interaction yesterday. A person wrote me out of the blue, looking for the version of Rorschach which used to get played on Big Monkey Comics’ Superhero Radio. See, I had first met Scipio, the proprietor of Big Monkey, when he was outside with his dog on Wisconsin Avenue. We chatted a bit, and I mentioned that my band did geek rock, and he mentioned that he did Internet radio, so I quickly got him a few early mixes from the sessions that would become To the Rescue!. Well, it turns out, and I had forgotten this, that I had given Scipio a version of Rorschach which had Anna singing on it rather than Noah (which ended up on the album), and this fellow liked Anna’s version better. So a trip down memory lane reminded me of why I couldn’t help him out: I lost all those originals to a spectacular hard drive crash. We had had to re-record Conception in B, Rorschach, and I had to pretty much re-create the electronica for Seven Layer Cake. So no file for him.
I have a sensation like the image which lingers after seeing a bright light: translucent and elusive – it’s a constricting narrowness, to look at the younger me, who wrote and played with abandon, and not remember what it’s like to feel that way.
I tried playing guitar last week. I made it about 15 minutes before my wrists rebelled. Perhaps it’s just a matter of de-conditioning, or perhaps something else, but it didn’t feel natural. I might force myself for a while: like making a kid sit through lessons, the discipline could bring enjoyment back. Or maybe it won’t.
I expect this to be a week of high emotional stress – part of me wishes I could lose myself in playing for a bit, but another part sees that as escapism. Then again, is escapism really so bad?
For as bad as my health trouble is (and I certainly don’t recommend it), I know several peers who have it a lot worse than I do – I don’t know whether they escape or not, or whether they have their version of the Bene Gesserit Litany on Fear:
I must not fear
Fear is the mind-killer
Fear is the little death that brings total annihilation
I will face my fear
I will permit it to pass over me and through me
And when it has gone I will turn to see fear’s path
Where it has gone there will be nothing
Only I shall remain.
I think Herbert was on to something when he wrote that – fear of pain is for me worse than pain. And yet the fear is such an insubstantial thing, but it has a way of focusing attention and capturing imagination which isn’t quite like anything else. It’s almost like a mental hard-drive crash, and that brings me back to where I started, except I’m perhaps a bit more aware of the cost of a crash.