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Here but not really

I don’t know what came over me last night, but I had a strange experience at the piano.

When I sat down to it and put my fingers to the keys, the sound that came out of the instrument took me by unpleasant surprise.  At first it seemed to me as though somehow every note on the piano had gone flat by a whole step since the last time I’d played.  Then, as I moved through more bars, it felt like I was hearing the music I was playing for the first time.  It was unfamiliar.  After a while longer, I had a sensation like there was something between me and the music, some kind of membrane preventing full contact, forcing a layer of removal. I became overly fixated on the process of making the music, because the music itself was out of reach.  And in such a state, the process itself came to feel very awkward and mechanical indeed.

I have a sneaking, unpleasant feeling that I’ve been in this place before.  That this is where I was in the years just before my diagnosis, right before I had a nervous breakdown and failed out of school one semester short of my degree.  That it may be why I gave up on music for so many years.  I’m suddenly reminded of how much it hurt me when Lucas said to Danielle, “Sometimes you just stop hearing it.”  I don’t want to stop hearing it.  Without art, without music, without the creative instinct, I’m not Alyssa.  I’m not even alive.

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5 thoughts on “Here but not really

  1. I see this has been superseded, but I wanted to say (a) hugs and (b) you have to do what you can to try to overcome this — even if it’s just by making yourself sad about the brokenness — do not let go.

    • Thanks, Serv. I wrote this in my morning pages a couple of days ago but had the sense that I didn’t want to leave a sentiment of this character just hanging on the blog with no follow-up. Equal parts storytelling instinct and fear of my overall tone being too negative.

      I fought too hard to get my music back to let it go without a fight. *All* of my art as an adult has been a battle, and I’ve finally come to a place where I recognize that it is a necessary one. So there’s no chance I’d ever just let it go.

      • OK. Didn’t want you feel unencouraged 🙂

        I struggle with the whole, is it okay to leave my blog on a negative note? question a lot. Especially since it’s easier to access my negative emotions than my positive ones …

  2. Blogging is always something I’ve struggled with in general, as a concept. For years I maintained a private blog, because it seemed like anything worth writing about would be too personal to make public. But I rarely updated it because I ended up feeling that the only words I have that are worth sharing are my stories, and those aren’t finished and are too long for blog form anyway. I’ve never really been able to accept that anything I have to say about myself could be of interest to anyone else, and while I do have many thoughts about the world around me, those are rarely anything I want to offer to the internet. So that has always left me in the position of just not seeing a point for me to have a blog presence at all.

    Add in the fact that I tend to be melancholic in tone at the very best of times. So in the struggle to know what to say, I usually say nothing. This new, revitalized blog is me attempting to explore the shape of the kind of presence I can viably maintain online. I have to say that your candor in your blog has been an inspiration. I know you’re using a pen name (so am I, after a fashion) so it’s not *exactly* the same, but I’m not being *completely* transparent either.

    Still, writing about my despair and leaving it to stand on its own seemed. Well. Unmarketably gloomy. And in the end, whether I like it or not, I’m trying to accept the fact that if I want people to be interested in buying my books, I have to participate in the presentation of Alyssa Bethancourt as a buyable brand. Even if it makes me feel dirty to say that.

    • Thanks. That pseudonym is one of my biggest issues with my blog. i really wish I could get rid of it. OTOH I’ve recently thought, perhaps the pseudonym is really me and I should abandon my actual name and become Michaela Servetus. And not everything makes the blog, even though I am more transparent there than anywhere else in my life.

      I don’t know about how much melancholy is too much melancholy for writing. I suspect the market could bear more than we realize 🙂

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