Archive for October, 2009

Looking for My Lost Bass Clef, on Celtic Moon

2009-10-28

I love music.  I’ve played the piano since I was seven.  The last time I tried to play, I discovered that I wasn’t able to read the bass clef on a sheet of music.  Also, my left hand had lost its musical memory for the bass clef.  I visualized playing the saxophone, which is treble clef, and my left hand remembered the notes.

I could not remember the most fundamental things:  notes. Like almost everyone who learns to play the piano when they are young, your piano teacher encourages you to make up funny lines to remember the name of each key and letters on the clef.  As I sat in front of my piano, my mind was blank.  I longed for those phrases I tossed aside long ago.  I opened the lid of my piano bench where I use to store trinkets, such as an an apple green spiral notebook with crazy white notes scattered on the cover, that contained my first six months of music theory.  Then, I remembered that I had put what was left of my beginning piano music in a file drawer.  Three rows of steel cabinets were downstairs in the basement.  There was no way I would be able to navigate the stairs.

When I was a girl, my teacher use to give me plastic busts of composers each year.  My favorite bust was given to me by my mother.  It was as larger bust of a handsome young Chopin with blue eyes and cornflower blond hair.  Once, when I was eight, I was having a difficult time playing a piece and I took the bust outside, placed in on the grass and danced around it.  I was wearing a sunny yellow dress then, in Texas.  But as I sat there at the piano that day, I pictured myself going outside in my house dress and dancing a jig with the crazy old Turkish woman who lived across the street.  No inspiration there.  No bass clef.

Now as I sit here typing, those childhood phrases are flooding my mind.  Every Good Boy Does Fine Always, FACE Good Boys, Bad Girls Eat Candy All Fall, All Funny Black Geese Eat.  My piano is in storage now.  But, down the hall in a small room there sits my childhood piano, terribly out of tune, its legs gnawed from a crazy dog and sticky keys from a gaggle of young nieces trying to play Heart and Soul.  Maybe it’s time two old friends got together.  Maybe I can find my lost bass clef.

Right now I’m listening to Live365 radio on the internet.  One of my favorite stations is Celtic Moon.  If you are a fan of Loreena McKennitt‘s style of music, then you should tune into this station.

What I love about Live365 radio, is they provide so many small radio stations that play different types of music.  My brother listens to it when he gets home from work.  He is also a fan of Celtic music.  But, his tastes have always been more eclectic.  I will never forget the timeless melody of Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road which he played over and over again on his turntable.  He is the only person I know that has the entire musical collection of Focus, a yodeling foreign rock band founded by a classically trained flautist.

It’s time for me to go to an on-line support group meeting, so goodbye for now.

FTD Brain Neuron Growth as well as Death?

2009-10-26

I came across this in an article in the NY Times about FTD, and the unexpected effect of the brain’s rewiring itself to adapt to the death of frontotemporal neurons:

“In 2000, she suddenly had a little trouble finding words,” her husband said. “Although she was gifted in mathematics, she could no longer add single digit numbers. She was aware of what was happening to her. She would stamp her foot in frustration.”

By then, the circuits in Dr. Adams’s brain had reorganized. Her left frontal language areas showed atrophy. Meanwhile, areas in the back of her brain on the right side, devoted to visual and spatial processing, appeared to have thickened.

When artists suffer damage to the right posterior brain, they lose the ability to be creative, Dr. Miller said. Dr. Adams’s story is the opposite. Her case and others suggest that artists in general exhibit more right posterior brain dominance. In a healthy brain, these areas help integrate multisensory perception. Colors, sounds, touch and space are intertwined in novel ways. But these posterior regions are usually inhibited by the dominant frontal cortex, he said. When they are released, creativity emerges.

Maybe this means that I may have some areas grow and increase in ability, while the other areas are deteriorating.

Does anyone out there have any experience with this phenomenon?

The Beginning of the End

2009-10-25

I am dying.  This is a simple statement of fact.  Mature people should be able to accept this at face value, and react accordingly.  So one would think.  Instead one gets the queerest reactions.  Most deny the obvious, and say — quite without evidence or justification — that I’ll live at least ten years or more.  How convenient for them, not to have to confront anything real or unpleasant in the immediate future.

My husband set up this blog for me.  I’ll try to learn how to work it.  It will be difficult.  The interface between my spirit and my body is slowly going out.  As my brain is dying, there are episodes of “static” or storms of uncontrolled thoughts, that I have to fight hard to control.  It takes a lot of energy, just to appear normal.  I am not.  My disease is mostly invisible.  Recently, I have started to add stuttering sounds, at the end of my words, like da-da da da, or pa-pa-pa-pa-pa… for minutes on end.  Very embarrassing.   And very uncomfortable for those who want to believe the convenient lie that I’ll be around for the foreseeable future.

This won’t just be about dying.  I’m also writing a novel and consulting with an incipient start-up company to develop automated medical diagnosis software for the web.  I have opinions on politics, life, and how to improve the medical system.  I am a spiritual being, and so I don’t always have the human perspective of the world.  The spiritual view is usually quite different.   Sometimes poetry blurts out, unbidden, silly sometimes.

Selchietracker has written this to prime my blogging pump.   Channeling me.