Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, composer

CURRENTS

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Jessica on Norco (not the original title)

Perhaps it was the Norco . . . I preserved this article because it is so full of itself. I was in a lot of pain and trying too hard not to show it. I must have been really loaded, also . . . on strong Hydocodone which really blows. And let's not forget — I'm happily Autistic. And my Spectrum was flashing like crazy after my back surgery! PTSD is like "Stress" Autism because it makes you feel dopey and it plays games with your memory. A little like senile dementia, but with a huge amount of knowledge stored up! Not all the time. Just during heavy stress. And having my body reassembled, becoming partially bionic, and dying three times during surgery, well, it was stressful . . . later the surgeon, a brilliant man, was locked up for fraud and tax evasion. And selling guns to Afghan soldiers. But's that's another article!

Procedures Completed:

Post Surgical

An Existential Account of my Recent 3-Level Lumbar Back Fusion or "What to do when you fall off your horse"

(Oh, come off it already . . . )

Go here to read a more physically-medically based account, or to donate to my recovery fund

This experience of the physical - psychological turbulence and searing pain that this operation confronted me with has changed me, admittedly. But the unusual, the radically unexpected results of this voyage through pain teach me lessons within lessons.

Often, events are set in motion by unavoidable circumstance. My organic systems, most notably renal and cardiovascular functions, were shutting down as the skeletal compression increased. This is yet another case of absolute necessity over choice. Often, even WILL will bow to FATE. At those times, we adjust our FATE to compliment our WILL, just as we may adjust our WILL to materialize our FATE. Got that?

Often, the results of traumatic intervention are other than one expects. An example: I don't remember being this happy for many many years. I have been in spinal pain since my early twenties. Born with genetic variance that affected my skeletal development, it was first noticed by medical 'professionals' in my inability to bend my legs or arms in certain common directions, and an incredible talent of flexion and speed focused in my fingers. By the time I reached 35, unable to walk, confined for over a year to bed, and taken care of by local friends and fans — and (morally and financially) supported by an the entire city of Sacramento CA — including then-mayor Anne Rudin — I had to have a laminectomy, that is, an operation on the spinal lumbar region (in my case, L5, S1) to remove a ruptured disk. The surgeon(s) removed much of the disk, the nucleus pulposa between S1 and L5. Dr John Yen performed that operation and arranged the subsequent 5-day hospital stay gratis, as I then had no health coverage.

Dr John Yen. He performed a critical operation so many years ago, motivated by love and concern. Not money. And he gave me back my life THEN.

Fortunately I had full insurance coverage for my recent — and my final, thank you — back surgery. The technologies used to perform the amazing process of "fixing me" did not exist in 1983, nor had the disease progressed that far. Dr Yen gave me nearly 30 years of relative freedom to pursue my Golden Path (music, art, creativity) without too much interference by disabling pain. But the pain never quite went away, as it almost never does when we speak of spinal surgery. There were plenty of times that, as I was playing, I was in discomfort, pain, or outright agony. But the show, as they say, must go on. And on, and on. My attitude is and was that it is NO show, folks, but the real me doing what the real me was born to do. I was not going to let pain stop me.

But now I am 65 years old, with a little less resilience. And the spinal system just went and collapsed on me in late 2011. Lordosis. Scoliosis. Radiculopathy. Stenosis. Degenerative Disc Disease. Postural kyphosis deformity.

So, as I was stopped from my progress along my Path back in '83, I am again stopped (just temporarily, remember), here in '13.

The natural response to any mention of impending back surgery, since it is such a large part of the CNS (Central Nervous System) is to, quite properly, avoid it whenever one can. Not even money-hungry neurosurgeons will admit to themselves that this is a positive or completely efficacious treatment for back pain. When, however, there is structural, skeletal, purely physical and VISIBLE damage to load-bearing systems (I speak also, tangentially, of electricity, tau, life-force, chi, ka, and spirit as much as I do of weight and muscle) then most GOOD neurosurgeons will ACT.

Dr Richard Rooney acted, and literally saved my life with radical fusions, osteotomies, and corrections for lordosis and stenosis and a host of problems, many from a previous back surgery (Laminectomy L5 S1). He even resorted to a Smith-Peterson Osteotomy, something not often even attempted in modern surgical experience. He went into my body expecting a 1.5 hour operation and left the OR 4 hours later. Dr Rooney took chances and walked a fine line to achieve this radicalization of reality. His success is only now becoming clear. He wanted me to play again, relatively pain-free. He has achieved this goal. I am only 7.5 months out of surgery, and bone infusions and morselized grafts may take 18 months or more to fully solidify. So I wait and do what I can to learn more. I write music. I practice on my Motif 88 Synth with its weighted keys. I have their "touch" cranked up to "stiff". NOW I have a piano. I drink lots of water, eat organic, unprocessed food, love my life, and watch the three movies that Mike Meyers made as "Austin Powers"new window when I need too. I avoid the news ("Lies, all LIES!"), and have no TV. Just a movie here and there, and a LOT of reading.

And my future, the future of my Golden Path?

ALL future is uncertain, and my prescience is woefully under-developed, but my 'mind's eye' HAS SEEN my own "life" in trance, and it arches over many years. The Golden Path stretches before me, and some of the best and most personal artistic visions are yet to be created. Exciting!

And vaster than words.

(And here I go, folks, rambling away. It actually makes some sense. But I surely wouldn't write this way with a clear head . . . - JW, Sep 23, 2013, and off the drugs forever! Marijuana is my only medicinal go-to, and bless the holy weed!

The mind-body connection is a reality that our allopathic sick-care system rarely admits to.

To the true allopath, we are little parts, stuck together with super-glue, with a specialist at the ready to "fix" each separate part. This is a fractured view of reality. It is not consistent with the world we know and live in, where all things are connected, and all actions create change and substantive movement in the Universal ecosystem.

We are not little pieces of stuff thrown together without rhyme or reason. The Universe fosters duality, but in regard to healthy, vigorous, living organisms the duality is of a whole, a pure singularity made dualistic only by its infinite futures. Living systems — men and women, dogs and gorillas, giraffes and penguins — all are of a WHOLE. The Universe itself is a living system. Its content, behavior, and time-space properties are all related, unified in ONE field concept. When galaxies collide, we call it superimposition. When people fall in love, we can see that as a microcosm of a larger, galactic, superimposition.

So my experience of this event — an event perceived by many as entirely negative — is now superimposed by new and unforeseen events, both physical and paraphysical, as both, in the end, are the same. Body is mind — and mind, body. I gain strength, wisdom, clarity, motivation, a bit of wisdom, and a LOT of possible futures to choose from. Thus the acts of my WILL control my FATE, even in the "worst" of "uncontrolled" situations, because the Universe responds to acts of WILL. Fate is chaos without sentience. If I am sentient, and the Universe is malleable, then I exert force (energy) that results in change. To the degree that I control the change by my will, I experience an entirely different and unique scenario from the one that on-lookers may assume. Assume nothing, for nothing is as it appears in this or any possible future that is controlled or observed by sentience.

These short snippets of awareness are simple truths to me now. They are not difficult analysis, but show that mass (matter) and force (will, energy) are interchangeable and therefor unpredictable and undetectable to the on-looker.

It has formed an equation of sorts in my life:

I am in the Universe. The Universe is in me.

(So glad you could make it! - JW, much farther in the future and off these silly painkillers)

 

(WARNING: Hysteria ahead . . . JW, Sep 23, 2013)

There are those that believe we are personally responsible for ALL of our illnesses. We get cancer because somewhere deep down inside, we are evil. I don't ascribe to such mean generalities. Sure, you can sit and stew and make yourself sick, but what of the healthy organism that gets sick? Is that the fault of the self? Was my little dog Sherlock inherently evil, because he went and died at five years? Get a life, California Dreamers, members of the Cult of Personal Responsibility. The Russians, the Chinese, the Italians, and even the New Yorkers do not believe such treacherous mysticism.

It is a sneaky way to blame the victim.

That's a political trick of governments. It was not meant for individual attacks.

It is not truth-based.

So what led me to these (now past) surgical events? Was it just a laminectomy 30 years ago? Was it a genetic bone disorder that started at birth? Or was it anger? Pain on other levels? Was it my lack of postural self-study when it came to playing the piano in the physically ambitious ways that I did? Was it that fall out of a tree when I was seven? Was it all about losing that four-leaf clover my Daddy gave me? When we ask the 'why' of a thing, we seek to categorize and explain a thing . . . often without regard for the individual structure of each life. We reduce people to things, and we reduce our awareness of our true selves. We reduce our very self in this way.

All we can say for sure is that a disease or syndrome or imperfection is always multifactorial. A big statement, but it's a big Universe.

My music has saved my life innumerable times. But beyond the causation in this back disaster, what comes of it now? What new permutations of reality will be made real by my assimilation of the experiences or by the mere act of their occurrence? What already HAS occurred, and what WILL occur as the result of this or any experience, painful or not?

In 'street' terms, how will I play? What will I play? What new melodies, crafts, skills, and journeys will I embark upon? Is the best within me "over with"?

Not in the Universe in which I live.

Most importantly, how do I come to positive awareness through the assimilation of negative experience? I explained it above, but I'll come at it from a different angle.

I always remember that it is my ATTITUDE when I ASSIMILATE a thing that will determine the eventual future meaning and feeling of a thing. How will I remember this agony? How will I store it away? How will I choose to COLLATE these experiences of negative content? This is a thing I always apply and always remember:

COLLATE: New Oxford American Dictionary defines the word.

collate |kəˈlāt, ˈkōˌlāt, ˈkälˌāt|
verb [ with obj. ]
• collect and combine (texts, information, or sets of figures) in proper order.
• compare and analyze (texts or other data): these accounts he collated with his own experience.
• Printing verify the order of (sheets of a book) by their signatures.

The Jewish man who chose to collate his experience with The Holocaust in a negative, angry, fearful, defeated way was seen vividly portrayed by Rod Steiger in The Pawnbrokernew window, a powerful movie that depicts just such a man after just such an experience. A Jewish pawnbroker, victim of Nazi persecution, he loses all faith in his fellow man until he realizes too late the tragedy of his OWN actions, the awful disaster of the SHAPE, FEEL, and MEANING of his memories.

He has no control over the Nazi experience. Certainly not. The ONLY THING he can possibly control is his MEMORY of it, and how he decides to make it FIT into a part of his own self. We all must absorb horrible shocks. WE must learn to FIT these experiences together in ways that are rational, wise, transcendant, even forgiving. Otherwise our experiences cause our WILL to whither, and we become victims of FATE. Always a victim. THAT is the mortal tragedy, the full force of atrocity, of improper collation of negative experience. It is not the experience per se. I can only imagine that the Nazi experience may have been (or may be again) a not-so-subtle rebuke to my theory. The Universe is exceptional in that it allows for exceptions.

However . . .

Standing next to the Jewish pawnbroker on this stage is the real-life Victor Franklnew window, a Jewish man who, after the occupation during which he was a captive in a Nazi camp, after losing his entire family (including his pregnant wife) and bearing full witness to these horrific events, chose to collate his experiences with compassion, grace, wit, and personal power. He wrote the masterful book Man's Search for Meaningnew window which has become a classic in Western Literature, a monument to the human spirit and its ability to survive, heal, and flourish under even the grossest of circumstances. He started a school of psychology he called Logotherapynew window, which helped many people find meaning in the chaos and a certain peace in the atrocity of war... and his life-work continues to bring hope and peace to us still.

Ah, Victor. His final masterpiece is his own SELF.

So we ponder the duality: one madman who creates as great a tragedy as the one which he survives, and another man who suffered equivalent circumstances, standing with purity of purpose and pride after so much pain and defeat. And, in wonder, we realize the true tragedy is not only that which is heaped upon unwitting individuals by enormous movements of autocratic states and empires and planetary wars and cold bureaucracies and masters of finance: it is the giving up, the giving in, the feelings that fate is stronger than will, the admission that the self is irreparably damaged by these events that are totally BEYOND ONE'S CONTROL.

This is the fatal mistake.

I believe that Will is stronger than Fate. One can argue that Will is Fate. There is choice here, and I make the choice of life over death, love over fear, joy over defeat, smiles over tears, health over illness, and music over silence.

And so my Golden Path continues. No mysteries there. The application of forces and energies on matter and mass are creative or destructive. Mine, fortunately, are creative, and filled with love. My Golden Path is love, and its goal is to foster love. That pain and hardship exist is a given, beyond my scope of control. No amounts of enlightenment, money, or hard work will make it evaporate. It is as much a part of life as a hurricane is part of Nature.

(AHA! Finally I am making some sense! - JW, in the here and now) - JW Apr 16, 2017

Sorry, but absolutely no. I swear to this on my dead mother's eyes. (Yes. She is definitely loaded.) I am down to 10 mg of Hydrocodone a day, which is the equivalent of 4 Tylenol (but safernew window, paradoxically). On good days, I do not take them at all.

The value of pain-killers is great, and I don't mean to imply that they are a bad thing. They prevent neural pathways from permanently forming that make temporal pain a chronic condition. Nerves grow, and they can grow into a neural net of pain. Yet if what I speak of here sounds like 'visions or dreams', it is NOT because of opioid "pain killers" which are also "mind killers" and "love killers". They are, as a class of drugs, effective only to a limited extent. They dull pain but do not treat the cause. They confuse and muddle awareness. They enable humans to bear unimaginable pain, in volumes such that their non-use would be criminal, a medical-metaphysical atrocity. They are a necessity, but have analog counterparts that are infinitely more effective and less toxic.

I speak here of a place that we stand that we only reach through the years we accumulate, the decisions we make, the love we make, the things we create, and the joyful ripples we cause in the lives of others. This awareness/vision may come early or late in life. In many humans, it never comes at all. In me it has come.

I speak of the "positive" conscious sentience that would rather laugh than cry, rather stand than fall, rather get up and 'get back on the horse' than just lay there in the dust and give up.

I would see people happy and have a hand in making them happy.

I would be a part of the greatest solutions rather than the greatest problems of life.

I speak for LIFE above money, power, or control. I speak for freedom above strict governance, ghastly wealth, and predatory gain. I speak for WISDOM in our treatings of each other and our mother Earth. Our ecology is not merely around us. It is wholly within us. If we do not gain this knowledge our doom is already written.

I speak for the path of noble intent, the path that leads to smiles and birth and joyous abandon, pleasure above pain, awareness above ignorance, sense above nonsense, truth above lies, peace above conflict. Always will conflict remain: I speak for the seeking of the best possible outcomes.

I speak for most men and women of Earth, when I hope that they are to enjoy life, freedom, wisdom, happiness, and love.

This (to me, sublime) awareness is powered deep in the roots of my spine, my being, my physical stature and the flow of my tau. It is of great intrinsic value to me, bringing me an understanding of the pure and vividly precious nature of my entire life. Also revealed is the profound and inexplicably beauteous Universe around us and WITHIN us.

I learn too that the only constant thing in the Universe, as in our lives, is change. Pain comes, and sorrow follows. Despair and sadness are not to be easily avoided. They are part of our "reactive mind". The Novice Buddhist seeks to have as few possessions as possible so that he may be safe from loss. But loss will follow him, just as joy will follow the Master who knows that we must enjoy what there is to enjoy and suffer what there is to suffer.

When I entered the operating theatre, it was with the full knowledge that my life would end without the intervention I was about to receive. Organ failure, unbearable pain, and renal failure were already upon me. This, however, is now collated as a positive experience. I am getting stronger. Before the surgery energy did not flow through me. Now it dances like light beams dance off of the ocean's waters. The waters of life.

Now I am here to enjoy what there is to enjoy and suffer what there is to suffer. The sleeper has begun to awaken.

 

This awareness, this anti-entropic evolution comes in every moment, every NOW as experienced, partially as a "result" of many events, intrusions, people, and reactive reasonings.

I come now without anger, fear, or pain.

I enter the alam al-mythal where past-present-future are all the eternal now.

I come only with love, and am made only of love, love being the fuel that burns in the stars and that swings the galaxies like silver-gold blades through the momentum of their trajectories. Love powers the Universe. Love powers my life. Love powers all life.

I feel renewed, even if I am "disabled". The things I cannot do, I never did much of anyway. I'll must be as courageous as I can be and do the best I can with the limitations that I have. I have a strong feeling that I will soon grow out of these ideas about my supposed "limitations" or that these limitations will open my eyes to new possibilities with the expectations of many miracles.

"The clear, safe path that always leads ever downward into immobility and stagnation . . . or the Golden Path that leads the courageous through deprivations and conflicts, towards the crucible. The Universe rejoices in such courage and most often repays these debts with miraculous blessings." - Jessica J Williams July 5th, 2013

 

(Now we must suffer through an afterword. And I quote: "Afterword: It has often been called to my attention that my writing style is somewhat difficult to follow, and does not constitute an 'easy read'." NO! YOU'RE KIDDING! Makes perfect sense to me! HA! - JW, Sep 23, 2013)

Afterword: It has often been called to my attention that my writing style is somewhat difficult to follow, and does not constitute an 'easy read'. My style has been occasionally referred to as "pedantic". I resemble that remark. (Old jokes are again new in the Age of the iPad. Very few "wired ones" remember The Three Stooges.)

I'm talking here about things other than just a back operation. I'm trying to convey the sense of magic that attends a life lived while being aware of itself. In such a state of constant (dualistic) awareness, there are concepts that some people might find annoying and unrelated. I speak of Lumbar surgery, and then speak of the Universe — my relation to it and its relation to me. I speak of the Holocaust and Logotherapy. Some people want to know how quick I am at the piano — or if I can run a mile — geez Louise, I never ever ran a mile. I was born back East and none of us ran there, for or from anything. Since the Universe (i.e. me) is not static but dynamic, no answers to purely physical questions will last long enough to post and maintain their clarity.

Again:

Since the Universe (i.e. me) is not static but dynamic, no answers to purely physical questions will last long enough to post and maintain their clarity.

And then there are those who will ignore the magic and discovery here. These people will only see the words they want to see. "Pain". "Fear". "Anger".

"Oh yeah. I was at her web site and I read where she's like, angry, like at everybody. She says she'll never ever play again." Or "I saw her once at the Keystone (when I was 28) and she told everybody to shut up. What a bitch."

Not the most dynamic people, these. But it takes a strong brew to make a world such as this.

And then, unavoidably, I will receive emails about this posting, coming from all different existential directions, and I'll just have to hit the 'delete' button because it's all here, played out clearly, as clearly as one can make the depths and heights of living life. I can't dumb down the dynamic and organic nature of consciousness, and I won't make excuses for my ability to see through [some of] the tides of time. And there are the inevitable and ridiculously ignorant rants of those who still believe that everything they're told in the newspaper or every rumor they hear from a 'friend' is Truth.

Truth is not for sale nor is it mutable. It must be dug for and worked for and experienced full on. It is like the wind that hits you in the face, mussing your hair, sometimes blowing so hard that it can knock you down. That's truth. It is often much easier to believe the lies. A lot easier. And I am not here to dispel lies. Lies, rumors, half-truths, or hideous distortions of reality are not on my to-do list as things worthy of wearing out a perfectly good computer keyboard for.

My words go to the few, as has my music. It is enough. I am not made for hordes. I only like crowds when they are there to hear me play, and then only with protection and reservation, and with my back to the wall and my attendant troops at the ready. So much for "fame", even tiny scraps of it.

In my reality, there are no heroines and heros. In my reality, there are no stars.

Except maybe Austin Powers.

"Yeah, baby, yeah!"

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I wouldn't comment if I were you. It'll make me feel silly again, all these years later . . . jw apr 2017

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