Hold My Elbow

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Mix 08-21-10


Sensitive Artist Explanation

Please Crawl Back Through your Window

This is a response to Bob Dylan's 'Can you Please Crawl out your Window.' Mon and I went hiking the week-end before my stroke. I wrote most of this song a couple months ago, but the 'twist' at the end came to me after the stroke. It's a strange song, switching narrative voice, etc. But it stresses how independent I was before the stroke. Did I need anyone? I didn't think so. I had never tested love. This was about to change.
Muni The morning of August 11th, I took Muni to the Microsoft office at 835 Market. This is my ode to the public transit of San Francisco! This is a kids song, and I wanted to show a clear break from my life right before the stroke and what came after. You can even hear a kids song melody in there somewhere. Before August 11th, I worried about where the K Train went and 'sippin' lattes' on 24th street. After August 11th, things got less silly real quick.
Falling down a Hole With the images in this song, I try to convey what a stroke feels like. Like plastic cups on the highway: you see it, you think it's something, but it turns out to be something different, something horrible and disturbing. If you think 'what the hell?' during the song, then I achieved my goal. A stroke moves you from 'nice slow life' to 'what the hell?' in seconds. You also hear that kids melody fading.

Bright Lights are Low

Serotonin levels in the brain dramatically decrease after a stroke. Things simply aren't that much fun anymore. This song is about feeling dizzy, not understanding why, feeling down, not understanding why, feeling tired and sleeping all the time, stumbling down the hall and being sick of it all.
Waiting for my Brain The process of researching and waiting for doctors' opinions often tired me out. For most of my five months off, I felt like I was firing a 12 cylinder engine on 2 cylinders. Everything seemed important and only 1/2 understood. Every conclusion we came to ended with 'until there's a better way.'

Fog Rolls Away

The only song to be written entirely before my stroke. Actually, I changed one small lyric, but this song was 99.9% done months ago. The whole tune had new meaning to me now, so I re-arranged it.  I could feel myself getting better. I would do something that I couldn't do the week before and feel fantastic. The drums kick in and the feeling is 'oh yeah, here we go...'  The stroke risk is always there for me (it's the fog, sitting off the beach) but it does roll away, eventually.  The song is joyous, but ends with a warning: Don't get too cocky; don't be too happy.  It's sunny where you are now, but the fog is sitting off the edge of the beach, waiting.
Last Friday I wrote this song on the 'last Friday' of my five-month time off.  It's one of those things that has to end and you know it, but it's bittersweet.

I Love you Sunshine

This song was written and recorded two days after my stroke. I include the original recording of me in the backyard with my portable mic (for those who care). You can hear the wind chimes from our neighbor's yard, and you can hear Mon say "Yeah" when I ask about the song. The 'studio' recording was made two days later (Friday).  I imagined myself as two people, one before the stroke, one after. The two met on the street and talked. These lyrics came to me in about 2 minutes. Everything was so strange. My voice sounds so frail. At this point, I knew two things:
- I still had Mon
- I was happy to be alive

These two things were the first and most important things I realized right after my stroke.  And after all the analysis, doctors meetings, travel to Cleveland, etc , these are the two most important things I know.

I Love you Sunshine (first recording)  


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