I originally sat and wrote some of this down as a bio for the The Diary, which many people do not know is my alter musical ego. Some would correctly say the same thing only different, and they would be correct. Why I chose “Separate” as the album to reveal this bit of my past I will never know. But I’ am very happy it exists. I will tell the story here in more detail… But first… Why it is relevant…

Someone emailed me about this a few days ago, asking about my “drowning story”, based on my post about the afterlife. Does my experience prove there is one? Scientists will say no, spiritualists will say yes. Who really knows, right? Even I had doubts. In fact, death and the afterlife seem to be coming up quite a bit these days in conversations and blogs… Is it my Catholic upbringing (which I am free of now)? My bout with Atheism and science (which was a waste of spiritual time)? Or my rejection of all things Religious / Corporate (which I loathe)? I cannot tell you why it happened. Maybe because I’m older. Wiser to a degree, but maybe not. But it happened.

One day I sat up in the middle of the night and for no apparent reason I had a panic attack. The whole thing was absurd. I did not have nightmare, I did not have a “night terror”. It was just baseless fear, irrational even for someone like me. And I did not know what it was. But there I was, in a state where my brain and thoughts were rushing as if I was on the verge of dying, and it was the aftermath of thoughts which really got to me. These are some of them (paraphrasing):

What if there is nothing, and all thought stops and all there is is an infinite silence that never ends… But somehow I know that this silence is infinite and knowing this now freaks me out!

Who is going to go through my things and wonder if my life had a value? Who is going to keep my journals, my sounds, paintings? Is life useless then? To have written, painted, sung and recorded all that and not even feel a shimmer of this when I’m dead?

There is nothing. No energy field, no Soul of The World, no God? Nothing? How can there be nothingness? No!!!! This can’t be? What good is living for a silent end?

Ad nauseam. And these persist to this day, although somewhat less and less as time goes on. Exploring these things has given me insight, but the mystery of life still baffles me…

Any who… Here’s the drowning story… 

  “When I was 10 years old, my family and I went to a place in New Jersey known as Seven Lakes. As soon as I got out of the car, my cousins and I headed for the water. I jumped in from a diving board and went straight down, losing my air as I hit the water. I panicked, and began flaying in the water, knowing full well that I was drowning. That’s when reality faded to white…

As I lost consciousness, my life began to playback in my mind as a series of dream films, in a way that all space and time was distorted and infinite. I marveled at this even as I drowned, and when it seemed that no rescue was in sight, I gave up. I sunk to the depths of the lake, watching the sunlight above me through the water as I passed out. completely.

I found myself in a white room, bathed in white, with no obvious doors or windows, and I felt a strange warmth. I saw the bare outline of a door and noticed it had a handle. As I reached for it, I felt a sucking sensation and I was pulled back from death’s door. I had been rescued, and someone was pumping water out of my lungs. Needless to say, the family vacation was canceled.

The side-effect of that event was profound. Firstly, I had guitar lessons, which I’d hated and thus my guitar sat in a corner of the room, gathering dust. After the drowning, I picked it up and began to write. My pictures, mostly of space ships and war scenes began to shift into a more surreal take on things. I began reading more, painting more, feeling more. I matured quickly, and I am convinced to this day that drowning had everything to do with my creative outflow. And then…

At twelve or thirteen, my family went to the beach. I met a dark-skinned girl, very beautiful, building a sand castle there. I sat down next to her and we exchanged a few words. She asked me if I had ever kissed underwater. I said no. I was nervous. I knew what was coming next. ‘Do you want to try it?’ she asked. I nodded my head yes and we went into the ocean. As we kissed the drowning sensation (which manifested itself from the earlier trauma) was replaced by a feeling of profound peace and serenity, as well as excitement . Her lips were like a toxic candy that once tasted, would never be forgotten, and I will never forget that kiss. There have been others of course, memorable ones without a doubt, but that was my first and it was underwater. A secondary death, you could say. Years later I would still write about that kiss. I never saw her again by the way…

Around this time, I discovered 60’s stuff; The Beatles, Kinks, The Who, etc… Shortly thereafter, Punk, electronic stuff like Kraftwerk, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, and New Order. With all these experiences in tow, my fate was sealed when my father gambled away all our savings. My mother divorced him. Music and Art became my escape and my reel-to-reel my way of dealing with the pain. I became both an antenna and a transmitter of repressed emotions.

In other words, I became an artist.”

Claude S. / Anything Box / The Diary / ?

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