The Girl Who Came Undone

She didn’t see it happening. It just hit like a tidal wave sweeping her mind, body, and soul  into the ocean of doubt. Renown for being the one most firmly planted in capability, the one you could rely on, she finally burst. One morning around 4a just after a short sleep; she slipped away into madness.

She doesn’t know her name anymore. After a cathartic sobbing, watching her emotions wash away in the tide; she switched off. She is numb. A long swim in the cold ocean can do that to you. You just stop struggling, cease trying to keep up and allow mother earth to swallow you whole. Then the silence. Sound stops. You are one with yourself, finally at peace.

The plan was for this to be the month of completion: a new short film, 2 album projects, another cycle around the sun – this one landing squarely on 55-years-of-life.  Born on 11/22, she always self-revered in the double digit years running around in her mind like Rocky Balboa reaching the top of the steps, arms stretched high in triumph. A more powerful water tiger energy would ensue and fill her days of November with a sense of accomplishment in those years.

The exception: 2017. The problem arose and struck like a nail not being driven through cement when she discovered that nothing was getting done completely. Each day would drip into the next as the work piled on. She felt like the inbox never got less, but rather increased exponentially, arrhythmically beating her into submission to work longer hours, more days. They all became one with only a tiny percentage of relief in 5-6 hours of sleep and a brisk walk now and again. She stood before her students putting on a show; another round of the tears of a clown and there she was doing her best to inspire, enlighten, and finally if all else failed cajole the lackluster ones with extra points here and there just to get them across the finish line to a passing grade. She took great liberty every semester to come up with something new and engaging for each class. But the complication grew from a small growth found on an arm to a huge internal capture of every fiber of her being. She lashed out at friends, colleagues, family. She writhed in mental anguish after her diatribes, steeped in a dark tea of sorrow and regret. Then, the snap.

Poof. Gone.


About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I started teaching full-time in 2009 and am tenured. My career as an audio engineer spans 32-years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassette 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991 leaving a regular shift there in 2010 due to the teaching schedule. The club and its staff are like family. I owned and operated a live sound production company since 1989 (ending officially in 2017) called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST141). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. Outside Affiliations: - Co-Director of SoundGirls - current member of Audio Engineering Society and on the SF Chapter Planning Committee - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - past Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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