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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: brilliant yellow-white sparkles 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 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). My ophthalmologist, Dr Basset, confirmed that there was indeed a tear in my retina, and that laser surgery was immediately required. He routinely performs such surgeries in his office, so I 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.
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 far right: a glitter of tiny bronze bells. The floaters, represented by two swirling cello melodies, and the 49 pizzicato 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 disappear.
While I can't recommend eye surgery as an ideal source of artistic inspiration, I'm grateful for inspiration wherever I find it. (I am also grateful that my vision is still fine. Thanks, Dr Bassett!)
Betsy is a cello storyteller. Using her cello and an electronic looper, she weaves rich, complex and varied tapestries of
sound; her original cello compositions paint pictures and tell tales, from thunderstorms and skeletal mice to dancing elephants and humpback whales....more