Dave’s blog: It doesn’t go away (completely)

I started playing guitar again.

Just a little over four years ago I woke up to find my head filled with a pressure I had never experienced. I stumbled from the room, in considerable pain, and spent a sleepless night poring over medical websites and inhaling steam, trying to figure out a way to get the balloon in my head to pop.

That was the beginning of miserable weeks visiting doctors, heaving from sudden vertigo attacks and swallowing painkillers. My hearing had become a distorted electric buzz.

Over time I recovered, but my hearing never made it all the way home. My eardrums still crack and pop constantly, loud music is scary and there’s a sensation of pressure that never goes away. I’ve been to a few specialists and none had any idea of how this resulted from a simple sinus infection.

This is not a tale of woe. At the time, I was terrified I was going deaf. Now I really appreciate the ability to work and carry on conversations and enjoy music. Life really hasn’t changed.

But I stopped playing guitar. Once or twice I picked one up, thumbed the low E string, and put it back down when I couldn’t hear anything. My voice no longer resonates in my head the same way, so I can’t sing. I used to be a pretty accomplished amateur musician. Now it didn’t seem worth it.

A couple of months ago, I changed the strings on an old guitar we were thinking of selling. I polished it, worked the strings into something resembling proper tuning, and found I was able to hear the chords and individual notes. I fixed up a couple of other guitars, and soon found I was reaching for one almost every night, playing for 20 or 30 minutes before my son’s bedtime.

I remembered songs and scales. Muscle memory took care of a lot of the details, and I have moments when it feels like the instrument is a part of me again.

My playing’s pretty weak. I can’t hear the subtleties I once could. Twenty years ago I would have retched at the video above. That’s partly the hearing thing, partly the fact that I had stopped playing regularly 10 years before the sinus attack.

But it reminds me how important it is to seek something in life that’s creative and beautiful. I try to make videos for people that express what they love, and look for projects with musicians and dancers and artists and creators. I think that’s why I started Capture.

And really, it’s damn nice to have something where I can leave the urge to be perfect behind, and just play whether I’m any good or not!

More blog posts on the home page at davecaptures.com.

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