[NetBehaviour] Body issues

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Nov 26 16:00:45 CET 2019

Body issues


1 Last night, awake with pain similar to a 'charley horse' - but
originating, it seemed, not in muscle, but in nerves. A thin pain
that traveled from the end of my left foot, up through my leg,
chest, shoulder, and down my left arm to my fingertips. It felt
almost like a knife-cut, something I've never experienced before.
But what as strange - and mind you, I was completely awake - it was
accompanied by a clear vision of thin illuminated bright yellow
'arcs' that seemed to be created by the pain as it traveled, until
the arcs reached up through the entire left-hand side of my body,
fading out at the lower end, until they disappeared. This is of
course an impossible hallucination, but I was completely awake and
in pain through it. The event lasted maybe five to ten minutes. I
slept poorly after that. I should say I was asleep for an hour or
so before this happened, and in this sense, the timing was similar
to that of a charley horse. In the morning I remembered everything
clearly, my disbelief countered by the clarity of the event, which,
again, was unlike anything I'd experienced before.

2 The problem with the ferocity of playing. I play as fast as
possible, my left hand taut across a number of frets for example;
my hand perhaps reaching the fretboard from above, creating a chord
reaching across an octave up the neck. I move as fast as possible
from above to below; the result is a 'jerking' of the hand and
fingers. Now I've developed a slight tremor in my left index finger
at times; I think my left-hand fingers in general are under stress.
My right hand is better adapted to fast plucking using a variety of
techniques that allow me to substitute fingers or fingering if one
or more begin to cramp up; however, my wrist tends to vibrate
laterally now, as if it, too, is compensating for the somewhat
difficult activity. This kind of playing is a form of athleticism
which is taking its toll; I've begun to exercise and massage my
hands apart from the instruments, but I'm increasingly concerned
that the damage may be permanent.

3 A general lassitude inspired by the news. It's difficult when the
violence of the world permeates everywhere, undermining core values
one has taken for granted as far back as one remembers. The success
of violence is far more than symbolic acts (for example, swastikas
in cemeteries); it can sever connections with the past, replace
them with an almost uncanny fear that appears both related to the
means of production and the target - but no longer related to the
root, which is stripped of all being. One becomes a wasteland; what
remains is that fear, especially if the intensity of the violence
appears implacable. It is this, the implacability, that undercuts
the body itself, becomes an alien replacement with its insistence
on subservience. This is what many of us approach against our will,
a will which, itself, appears close to veering into vacancy. We are
becoming close to occupiers of our own psyche, fearing total
annihilation, absence of memories, bodies, thoughts, this.

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