...is when I forget Parkinson. When I am able to feel like everybody else: joy, love. With Parkinson it is difficult. Ambient depression induced by lack of improvement. A good day is a good day and it begins when I laugh. To laugh is to forget you’re ill. I want my brain to forget I have Parkinson.
It’s spring like, today. Snow has melted. Fresh air. Good thoughts.
...like a miracle. I often compose as soon as I wake up. That’s part of the link. Music makes me feel like dancing.
...gives me strength, encouragement. As for music by other composers, I like harmonious music, classical, Chopin, Bach are among my favorite. If it has a beat that helps me wake up. I am a pianist so when I hear piano, there's a deeper connection to that work.
Art helps me fight Parkinson. It moves me emotionally and physically. I prefer anything that has a strong beat and a melody.
I wanted to get out of my hole with my music. I studied music a long time ago. At first, I couldn’t make it in music. And then I returned to it, at the time I was dealing with this condition.
I needed to hear my music. I was able to make the kind of music I wasn’t able to make before. I had nothing to lose anymore. I wrote instrumentals for strings and saxophone. Then, I was able to rely on piano. Even with Parkinson. Now I am composing for piano, too. The music became stronger after the diagnosis. I started expressing far more energy. Before I had a choice. Not so much, after.
Music is not just helping me deal with my illness. It’s helping me to fight it. I get better with music. This is a route I took on my own.
Listen to my music...
...and you’ll understand right away what I am talking about. Find the time to listen to some of the first music I composed after I was diagnosed with Parkinson.
I sing to myself. The simple fact that singing certain notes gives me a big boost is a sign. I drown myself in the sound of certain notes, of my own voice, as I cannot get enough of them. When I feel better, I sing something in a higher pitch. I like contemporary musicians and everything else. David Bowie is incomparable. Pink Floyd. Some jazz. A lot of ballads, The Beatles.
What makes me laugh...
Me. My view on things. Comedy. Jokes. Scenarios I play on my head. Things that could go wrong. Play on words. You name it. Everything.
What would I mostly like to be known as...
Mostly a writer. I talk about music, because it is a big thing. It requires a lot of energy, but when I have free time, I write. I became a writer after I had my music produced by a producer in Nashville who died of Cancer. I was so shocked by it, so I began writing about it. My music became interrelated.
I think I always wanted to be a writer. But this time, I became one without wanting because of what happened to me. Writing when I wake up in the morning is writing in poetic terms. I have no intention to do that. (laugh) I am writing my memoir. Almost finished. Looking to publish it soon.
* * *
On the road to Uniondale, the white lacis of snow, the black asphalt and the grey pine wood houses, emerge through the car window. I walk up the steps. This is what it feels, to be home, I say to myself. Scented candles. Christmas is two days old, so am I. I feel the house with all my senses, I hear the hum of the air vent. Outside the sky is more intimate, with trees black and squirrels grey running along electric lines. I hear voices, Edouard's mother, is here. Cooking, baking, she is happy to speak French, I am too. When Pridi enters the house, the picture is complete. One full revolution, one revelation made true. What time is it, asks Pridi, with a smile. Fugue time, I answer. Our conversations eons ago, made new in the pale light of early dusk. We talk around the table. The family is asking questions, they nod when I share my journey. It makes sense to them, with a little wonderment. "This is a hero's quest, what you're describing to us," Edouard's father speaks. "We need heroes. I'm happy you chose the US." "It's more like it chose you, says Pridi." Now Thierry you have to tell us, I don't see the whole picture yet, but you and Pridi go way back. He spoke about you highly, and as you know, that is reserved to Bach or Chomsky, and from what I understand you're in a sense connected to those two. Now it's hard enough to be a scientist, but you also have roots in music, how does that work?" Pridi laughs. "You're in Sweeden. This is your nobel prize acceptance speech." "Dad, give Thierry a break, he's starting again from scratch, clean slate. A reinvention without memory loss, two minds in one." I pause. "This is a long story. And an experiment. With time running both ways." "Living and telling. And then when you're done, there will be retelling. With hindsight. Now how do you manage all those voices?" "I'm a musician" "your book is going to have to be not just a book, but a fugue, a symphony. You must return. The hero always returns.
* * *
My most favorite writers...
...Toni Morrison. Reading her books helps a lot. Faulkner. Thomas Mann. I am a friend of Robert Butler. I'm a big fan of David Foster Wallace, unfortunately he died. He was so gifted. Chomsky, I studied everything I could by him. I am very impressed with what he does. Really fiery, intelligent man. I read Proust. I reread the same chapters over and over again. It’s good for my art.
Today is James Joyce’s anniversary. If I could understand everything he did. I learned English on my own. I was late in discovering English literature. Joyce, a bit too complicated for me to read. I haven’t read enough of James Joyce. It is a bit of a stretch for me. And of course I love the classics. Believe it or not, I am a big admirer of “Gone With the Wind.”
When I was in science I was focused on reading only good news. Discoveries tell you about a new phenomena, but you don’t know much about your neighborhood. Now I try not to read too much ‘cause it’s easily depressing. The terrorist attacks…
Senseless topics people pay so much attention to as if there’s nothing else to talk about. It’s relaxing to have something else to talk about in order to forget all worries.
...classic movies and drawing. I draw every morning. It’s very peaceful. I wish I had a Raphael painting in front of me. I'd need only a sheet paper and pencil. I love paintings. I have learned how to observe every detail. Da Vinci would wake up in the morning, keep his eyes closed trying to remember what he had seen before to draw without looking. I haven’t tried that yet. All these things have yielded results.
Art helps me in my daily routine. It changes the mood. I'm inspired by anthems. My life is a series of experiences in links between all art form as well as art and life. I wrote a piano piece which was recorded in New York. I work with an arranger who is very good in transcribing what I have in my brain. I want to make my music, including the piano piece, available to msuicians, pianists to play it.
I’ve learned that everything I learned in science and art helps me and maybe can make a difference in the long run.
I had a dream...
It’s asymmetric. I was talking to another man. I was telling him, I cannot walk. He was telling me, I cannot move my hands. Then ten years later, it’s exactly what happened.
I had an impression in my brain. The way this was in my brain was quite fascinating. There’s a level of awareness in the brain. My hand was becoming paralyzed, my brain sort of knew of it. Memory is crucial to the survival instinct. It's essential to remember who you are, be more of who you were, and be more by the way you fight.
That being said, I also create because it is pure joy. It is no only for or because of Parkinson. It is not all about suffering. It’s because I share something with you so you get a feeling about it. I could go on all night. Discovering all the links between all arts and their effect on the mind and body of a human being is amazing.
My work now...
I see it as a source of happiness. But it is also responsibility. Indeed, I want to get healthy just to be able to share my experiences with others. If I can help others, then it means that my life is more than just for me.