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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

The Road to Madness
is Paved with Song

Friday night I was pleased to discover that singing outside,
late at night during damp weather both helps my voice and has good acoustics.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

Monday, June 11, 2018

Some of Portland's better street musicians have inspired me to take up singing again. While I don't need the tips anymore I do need to make music.

If my neurological problems get any worse, Oliver Sacks writes in "Musicophilia" that my music will be the last thing to go.

The reason I once worked so hard at my piano studies was I hoped to pass the music school audition is that sometimes when I think of music my "inner ear" hears fully-orchestrated symphonies.

But they are all lost to history as I am unable to write down their scores.

My busking repertoire always included "Battle Hymn Of The Republic". It works really well with my baritone voice.

One time I sang it for a black man I had just met. He was all happy and cheerful but fell quiet and somber when he realized what I was singing.

I played the concert snare when I was young. My inner ear heard an alternately loud and soft snare part, then a bass drum not keeping the beat but booming randomly as if it were cannon fire.

Then I visualized actual cannons, and the slow advance of the blue and the grey, following their flag bearers and that martial cracks of the snares that gave them the courage to march into the opposing fire.

Then my inner ear heard a chorus singing "Glory Glory Hallelujah" in six part harmony - bass baritone tenor second alto first alto and soprano, very soft at first but growing ever louder each time they sang the refrain, with me as the soloist.

Then I visualized all those innocent black men being murdered by the police - the police sometimes murder us mentally ill too - Martin Luther king's assassination, Malcom X, a lynching just last week in which a lifeless black man was found hung from a tree.

Then I contemplated that this would make a really good YouTube and Facebook video.

I said to myself "What were we fighting for?" I burst into tears.

"Lability", I realized. Rapid alternation between joy and grief.

I puzzled over whether to call 9-1-1. The dispatchers, the police, the Emergency Medical Technicians, the police and the deputies, the nurses the doctors the therapists the social workers the psych techs and the psychiatrists and the case manager are always very happy when I get to the mental hospital of my own Free Will.

"And they are all scarce resources," I said to myself yet again, "That are best devoted to someone else who needs them more than I."

So I just stopped singing.


Michael David Crawford

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