Alex and His Music

Alex tentatively pulled his guitar out of the closet. Since suffering a stroke, wherein he initially lost use of his left side, Alex still suffered severe limitations to his ability to effectively manipulate his left hand. For the uninitiated, a right-handed guitarist uses the left hand to form chords and grip the neck of the guitar. Alex was unable to garner enough hand strength to perform the relatively simplistic act of holding the strings down to produce sound.

This irked Alex as playing the guitar had always been one of his most cherished activities. Years ago, he had played the bass professionally for over a decade. During this period, he had grown accustomed to standing up on stage before a microphone. He had also worked as a solo, standing before an audience with only his trusty guitar between him and his listeners.

The listeners had always told him that he had a “beautiful” singing voice. Since the stroke, however, he had been unable to harness that voice in anything approaching the familiar beauty of the past. All he could muster now was an unrecognizable squeak hardly comparable to the full-throated singing-voice to which he was accustomed. Alex’s physical therapist told him that practice would surely lead to improvements over time. Now, however, it was looking like he would have to begin all over again.

Alex began playing guitar at thirteen. At that time, he had few diversions to compete with his complete devotion to the task. Now, as an adult, this would require a singularity of ardor he was uncertain of his capacity to mount. Recently, he had attempted a time-honored ritual that of working up his Christmas music. He did not perform these songs on a regular basis throughout the year but only at Christmas time. Consequently, these songs required a modicum of rehearsal in order to bring them up to an acceptable (to him) level of performance.

This requisite rehearsal usually commenced just after Halloween and continued right up to the holiday season in order to insure that they were adequately prepared. In a way this was not unlike the task, he now faced. The simplest of tunes, however, still eluded him. Even an old chestnut such as “Silent Night” was beyond his grasp so to speak. He could only manage a soupcon of tone, certainly not enough to accompany his toneless peep.

For Alex, this was unacceptable. It was becoming obvious that this would take a lot more effort than he had originally contemplated. A concerted effort was going to be necessary if he ever expected to perform again even in a limited family and friends only setting. Hence, he took out his guitar once more, rescuing it from its banishment. Someday, maybe he would be able to enjoy his music again; maybe he would again be able to delight in the sound of his own voice.

This was perhaps somewhat self-indulgent of him but it was something he needed in order for him to feel complete He realized the childishness of this attitude but this did not deter him. Alex would rise again and his music would rise with him

Alex and His Music

stephen hewitt

Lanexa, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Furthe tales of a stroke survivor

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