hey guys,

I guess it's kinda unfair of me to monopolize an entire thread for my own selfish reasons, but I feel I have come to grips finally with an experience of mine, and I wish to share that with everyone of you here because I feel it may be relevant to some of you...

the regulars may have noticed that I was pretty inactive on the forums this year since Februrary... the reason pretty much is that I had a very serious accident the end of January.

Me and my friends were getting ready to go see a show (Rubblebucket Orchestra - I'll find an appropriate thread to write about them!) - and while trying to get into my friend's car, I slipped into a nightmare. My bass player was trying to get into the car with me at the same time (he was getting into the back seat, while I was trying to slide into the front) - as he opened the back door...

the index finger of my left hand, got snagged on the door hinges. don't ask me why or how on earth that happened but it did - it was like some cosmic retribution that only the hand of some god could've altered. I heard the flesh ripping as I wrenched my hand out by reflex - and what was amazing about this was all this while, my left hand was actually in my coat pocket!!!! (try to visualize that if you will, it's bizzare).

but once I took out my hand outta my pocket, the decision to be rushed to the hospital came naturally, my left index finger looked like a gorefest.

to cut it short, at the hospital, it was revealed to me that I had suffered a laceration that began from under the nail bed, and wrapped around the entire top part of my left index finger, which means that had it not been for the fact that my hand itself had been inside the coat pocket, I would have essentially lost the tip of my finger. otherwise, I had also suffered a fracture right at the very tip of the finger.

it took a shot of morphine and 14 stitches around the TIP of my left index finger, cos otherwise that **** was ready to fall off.

and then came the hard part...
for the first time in 5 years I realized that I could potentially never play guitar again. yes I heard everyone encourage me and speak to the contrary, that it was really a localized injury that would heal with time - but at first nothing could shake of this vision of doom, that for all practical purposes, I was f.u.c.k.t fo life.

I was washed in waves of depression, and fell into severe identity crises at times - if I wasn't a guitar player or musician, who was I? and this was followed by the very real torture of just being unable to play or even think about music - it became a pain to even listen to music at points - at times it would seem my mental and physical pain were competing with each other...

the only way I got thru this trying time was through the constant support and love of my closest friends, fellow musicians, my girlfriend and my parents, and the doctors.

in effect, I ended up not being able to play AT ALL for a month and a half straight. by the end of 2 months, I was brave enough to use my other fingers to play in open D tuning. finally after 3 months, I was able to start using my index finger, bit by bit.

Today, I am back at 95% of my playing ability. It still feels a lil' awkward doing slides on the higher strings (b and e) and certain chords are a lil' tougher to play, but in all I know now it's going to be OK.

It is only because I'm more or less back to playing normally that I've been able to share this story with you guys. One of the reasons I avoided the forums, was because I wouldn't have been able to deal with the amazing discussions that go on in here, only to realize I couldn't apply anything in practice, cos I COULD NOT PLAY. I shut out a lot of people from my life because I was in the deepest kind of rotten funk.

But this is where the story gets interesting - throughtout that whole period of time, even though I sometimes bordered on acertaining that I would never be able to play again - nevertheless, I was determined to heal and get back to playing. it seemed all the other **** that life throws at you, grades, jobs, money, relationships, and all that - just became irrelevant. I just needed to be healed and get back and kick some proverbial ass again.

I never even entertained the notion that I could simply just give it up, and not fight. I would sit in deep mediation for hours on end sometimes, just envisioning the fretboard, and imagining the notes and the sounds, and my fingers making the connection. I got into sequencing and carrying on my experiments with electronic music production. And I dedicated most of the semester to my senior project for my degree - an Aritificial Intelligence based composer for solo piano (based on 12 tone music). And throughout all of it, I was focused on getting back to playing.

the thing is, I realized the irony was that, music could do without me. But I needed music in order to survive. Once you speak that language, and have made it your own through the processes of mimicry, interpretation, analysis and expression, it becomes like a 6th sense, and an essential extention of your being in space-time. To stop for us, would be akin to dying. It was a lesson in understanding something of the will to survive through pain and struggle and turn that into beauty...

and today, I feel like I'm playing better than ever before - I'm cautious and always grateful, and I understand the value of a single note a helluva lot more now. I have shared this experience with you guys today, so that if anyone out there is suffering from any kind of physical handicap that is limiting your playing to any degree, it is not the end - we are unaware of unlimited potential that the brain has for working around such obstacles, we just have to fight it out to find that zone. for others, respect your body - it is a temple of grace and beauty, and we trash it with all kinds of junk (metaphorically and sometimes literally), but we need to realize that we can only play at our best and express ourselves most honestly when the physical body is tuned at 100% efficiency.

on my worst days, when I thought that I just wanted to fade away lying in my own bed, and not face another morning and go through the day without being able to play, I remembered Djano, and I remembered Jason.

jah bless ya'll, may ya'll find peace, love and protection on earth.
Glad to hear you're back to playing. I'd make a joke about your bass player, but it would probably be in bad taste and I don't really know any, lol.
"Notes are expensive. . .use them wisely"-B.B. King

"It's been very important throughout my career that I've met all the guys I've copied, because at each stage they've said, 'Don't play like me, play like you."-Eric Clapton