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  ‘ music in some guise?
It was my passion, even as a child. My father had a very small record collection, but I absorbed it. I remember listening to Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto endlessly, and pretending to conduct the orchestra. I learned to play the melody on one string by ear on my older brothers guitar. I always felt very emotionaly moved by music and had a naturally evolved ear for it. Music was my closest friend. Once I discovered the violin there was no turning back, though I also sang as a chorister at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral, which I loved.
I think your tinnitus came out of the blue, and was life changing?
Its ending of my life with music was devastating. It led to an existential crisis in a way, because it was my everything, my passion, all I had ever really wanted to be. I almost see it now as separate lives.
I had a music life which ended and mourned its death, and then was reborn with the possibility of another life.
There must have been some soul searching and despondency around that time as your sister died and you
Ivor Ottley viewing photos at his desk and playing the violin
“It was a time of loss . . . music, my sister and my health.”
had to have heart surgery.
I had a very creative and talented sister, Julia, a painter/sculptor who had been ill for some time. We were always very connected through our shared creative spirit. When I moved back to Suffolk,
we were able to spend time together and I feel in a way that my presence enabled her to feel safe enough to make very difficult decisions. I can’t go into details, but she tragically died, and I woke in the middle of the night to find her.
It was as if my subconscious knew, and woke me. At the same time I was recovering from open heart surgery to replace a failing aortic valve.
It was a time of loss, music, my sister and my health. What I learnt from that time is that we as humans can feel as if we are reduced to nothing, feel we have had everything taken away, but then out of that nothingness, over time, new beginnings open up in front of us . . . other directions in which we can travel.
When I lived previously in Ireland, I had trained as a psychotherapist, partly to help myself, but also because I had a feeling I could be of help to others. I feel that training helped get me through all these events. I remember thinking in my sorrow, that I was actually glad this has happened to me rather than someone else because ‘
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