Behind My Eyelids

from Cello Noodles, Vol. II by Betsy Tinney

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This track is based on a recent experience I had with emergency eye surgery. (I'm fine now.) One day, I noticed flashes in my right peripheral vision: a column of brilliant yellow-white lights that blinked on and off when I moved my eye. I also suddenly developed floaters in my right eye: several diaphanous smoky-grey ribbons that wafted gracefully about between me and the outside world. All these vision changes were really kind of pretty, if one didn't think too hard about the clinical implications. (Flashes and floaters can signal a retinal tear, which if untreated can quickly progress to retinal detachment and blindness.) Fortunately, I immediately saw my ophthalmologist, who informed me that there was indeed a tear in my retina, and that laser surgery was immediately required. Dr. Bassett routinely performs such surgeries, so I went across the hall into his Awesome High-Tech Laser Surgery Room, trustingly put my face into his laser cannon's face bracket, and tried not to flinch while a series of 49 agonizingly-bright laser bursts "riveted" down the edges of the tear.

February's noodle, Behind My Eyelids, is a musical painting of this experience. It begins with what I normally see behind closed eyelids: dark, slowly swirling colors with occasional brighter spots. Then the flashes appear on the right: a glitter of sound (from a string of tiny bronze bells that normally hangs in my studio - not from the cello :). The floaters, represented by two swirling cello melodies, and the 49 laser bursts (which really do sound like the laser bursts felt, though not nearly as loud) follow soon after. When the surgery is complete, the floaters swirl quietly on for a little while, and then finally disappear.

While I can't recommend eye surgery as an ideal source of artistic inspiration, I'm happy to take inspiration wherever I can find it. (I am also very happy that my vision is still fine. Thanks, Dr Bassett!)

credits

from Cello Noodles, Vol. II, released March 3, 2016
cello: Betsy Tinney
laser eye surgery: Dr Bassett

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Betsy Tinney Seattle, Washington

I will be donating 100% of all my Bandcamp proceeds for the ENTIRE MONTH of June. (Half will go to Black Lives Matter and the other half to The Bail Project.)

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