April 10, 2016

Theater of the Fingers at the Infinity Pool: conversation, fragments, figments, a virtuereal music lesson

“A man was living in a spacious penthouse. He kept noticing things that were slightly out of order,” said Eden, “like beads of water in the shower when he returned home, and misplaced furniture, and missing food.

“One day he set up a video system to record what was happening while he was away. It turned out a woman had been hiding in a cabinet, coming out when he was gone. This had been going on for months if not years. Of course as he was watching the video he realized that she was there at that moment.”

“Wow” said Ron.

“It is a real story, and the basis for my horror-story writing assignment at school. It really creeps me out… Maybe our conversation turned down this path when I scratched out the creaky sounds on the bass strings?”

“They sounded like the Inner Sanctum door,” said Ron:

Door creak at 0:21

“Also” said Eden, “it was your comment about Theater of the Mind –”

“– You changed it to Theater of the Fingers for the story of your fingers on the bass,” said Ron. “That gives me an idea…”
“This is my most vivid memory of my visit to Guatemala: the Infinity Pool overlooking Lake Atitlán, “said Eden. “When you’re in the pool it looks like it merges with the lake.”

“Beautiful” said Ron.

“The rectangle of the pool looks like the fingering pattern of the bass line we are studying,” said Eden. “This is how my fingers see the world of the fretboard, just like we see the real world, with places to go and things to do.”

“Theater of the Fingers,” said Ron, “in the rich setting of your visit to Antigua in the central highlands of Guatemala, with its backstory of your personal experiences of the deep culture, ceremony and art of people there, and your trip to Mayan villages around Lake Atitlán, and to the Infinity Pool, with no end to the story.”
“After I completed the horror story assignment,” said Eden, “I would think to myself that no matter how unlikely, there might be something hiding in the closet.”

“Right,” said Ron, “anything is possible. And there is no end to paranoid possibilities. After I saw (the original) The Thing I couldn’t eat carrots for six months because The Thing’s body was made of vegetable matter.

“I learned about the opposite of paranoia from a guy I know.* It is pronoia, the sense that circumstances, or the universe, are working to help you. There is no end to possibilities in the Theater of the Mind.”


“Now that the bass line is imbedded in real-life memory,” said Ron, “the memory still does not have anything to do with the bass line’s song.”

“No it doesn’t” said Eden.

“But that is not unusual,” said Ron. “Music is kind of like that. Most of us have re-experienced memories associated with a song, which have nothing to do with the song’s story, but everything to do with our personal story.

“We are just doing it on purpose here, like an actor keying into a remembered emotion, to make the bass line personal, memorable, and performable:”

“The song had nothing to do with Lake Atitlán,” said Eden, “until now.”


Eden and Ron looked out across the emerald water under the cobalt sky of Lake Atitlán.

Anything is possible in the Infinity Pool, they thought.




*That guy is John Kellden