In loving memory of Elana, 1962-2013
Elana and Christopher (that’s me) shared love and life for a decade, most of that with my being her caregiver for her war with cancer, as it spread and ultimately caused her shockingly sudden death in late 2013.
In better days, a friend noticed a rainbow behind us as we visited an air show.
This site was originally: “DreamCircle.com – The online workshop of ELANA: creative artist, female geek and breast cancer fighter.
Elana’s online workshop of artistic works, creative ideas and geek perspectives – plus the latest news on her fight against breast cancer.”
She lost that fight. At the end, she had ten tumors in her liver, the largest the size of an orange. While making plans to put her historically valuable archive of work online, she was sleeping more of each day and, while awake, dealing with terrible pain and increasing kidney failure and terror of the impending end.
Elana was a wonderfully creative and caring person. And she so loved the birdies! She would talk to them and say, “Oh, you’re so beautiful! You should get all fluffy!” and they did!
Elana had excellent journalism with in-depth interviews with many of the leading artists in the field of progressive electronic music. Sharing her archive of work, and continuing that journalism, will be a primary focus of this site.
Click for a much larger view with readable text:
I withdrew from the full time workforce to take care of her. As her cancer journey began, we were able to do some small freelance projects combining our skills (her enthusiastic personable nature and graphic design expertise), and I had some small projects on my own. (My background includes working with software and digital media technology, and making business improvement plans, in several industries.) But as the medical situation got worse and more unpredictable, even part-time work became impossible. From my years of corporate work, I had a couple of years worth of expenses saved up – but, her illness continued far beyond the savings. I had a music rig myself that was lost when we were burglarized. Instead of being able to replace the rig, by that point the insurance money had to go to catch us up on immediate living expenses.
Soon after her death, I unexpectedly became a cancer patient myself. In mid 2014, a four inch (10 cm) tumor was successfully removed. I’m not going to discuss all the medical details here (that’s why I blacked out some specifics I really don’t want to go over with anyone but a health care professional) – but, here are some portions of the medical documentation for my case:
Over the winter, I had follow up chemotherapy. Fortunately, it wasn’t a kind of chemo that causes hair loss, as she went through; but it was still physically hard in many ways.
I’m scheduled for scans and lab tests every few months for now. The latest results all show that so far, I’m free of any return of the cancer, thank God. (This next picture, in case you aren’t familiar with it, shows the strange way patients prepare for some medical scans: by drinking a radioactive shake!)
Emotionally and spiritually, the caregiving was important. Perhaps the most important and certainly the most life-changing experience I’ve had. Financially, however, it was a catastrophe.
One more thing, I suppose I should address here briefly, is why she didn’t discuss our relationship in her use of social media. This was a mutual decision.
We both are rather private people, and concerned about online privacy with its many complicated issues and facets.
We both are from families that unfortunately included abusive and negligent harm to us as kids (hers was much worse in many ways), and in the present, alienation we did not want or choose.
We both had been through abusive relationships, bullying hostile workplaces, and other emotionally toxic circumstances, before we found each other to share kindness and love.
Some of the people involved in those painful circumstances from the past were in our inner circle of friendship before we became a couple, and they often got increasingly distant as her cancer spread and had ever more serious and complicated repercussions, including her need for increasingly long and unpredictable times of sleep.
For all these reasons we decided to not expose our relationship to the unwelcome scrutiny of unkind people. We also wanted to give each other the opportunity to privately “vent” about the other if desired, without it getting back to the first person. Unfortunately, in this process, we also became increasingly separated from good people who would have been happy to offer compassion, wisdom, and balanced kind concern, in a peaceful way.
We decided along the way that we each would have our own independent use of the Internet for online pen pals and communities. I knew she had this site with her blog but I did not read it, and she did not read my online notes to my friends, as we wanted to give each other the personal space to have independent conversations. Therefore I knew of her overall project plan but I did not read her last blog entry until today (late October, 2015):
Back in the mid 80s to the mid-80s I (Elana) used to be involved in the then-obscure electronic music scene. The superstars of that era were artists and bands such as Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Klaus Schultz and Vangelis. Other shining stars such as the late Mike Garrison, Mark Shreeve, Steve Roach and Michael Stearns ruled the scene, yet now seem to almost forgotten compared to the golden era of electronic music.
Since this era began back in the 70s before the Internet some fans responded by becoming amateur journalists, chronicling the scene as it unfolded. In the USA, Jim Finch began the International Electronic Music Association in the late 70s producing many issues of his SYNE magazine. Over in the Netherlands, KLEM magazine was published regularly in the local language, yet succeeded somehow in spreading news of the scene all over the planet.
Other amateur magazines came and went, such as the “Contact List of Electronic Music” in Canada, WAVES in Germany, Space Rider in England, Synthesis as published by Jason Marcewitz in Philadelphia. Last but not least, from around 1988 to around 1996 DREAMS WORD was created by a motley group of friends known as Electronic Dreams in Portland, Oregon.
The publisher of DREAMS WORD is the same person who now is in charge of Dreamcircle.com. My goal with Dreamcircle is and always has been to capture this lost history of electronic music. I plan to scan my own work and the work of other english-speaking amateur magazines mentioned above into PDF and archiving them on this site.
In doing this, I have to deal with the fact that I am in a race between my ambitions for this site and the fact that I have late-stage breast cancer that has spread to the liver. Chemo causes me to sleep up to 18 hours per day and I am sick the rest of the time.
Still this pile of amateur magazines sit in a box in my room every day, as if silently pleading to be put on the internet so that this era is not forgotten. I hope to answer the call before I am completely, utterly, physically unable to do so – or they find a cure for my especially-stubborn form of carcinoma.
I plan to begin by archiving my own works and putting them on Dreamcircle. Next I plan to scan Jim Finch’s impressive amount of work on SYNE magazine (which dwarfs my own by a large margin) and adding it to the archive. (Thanks for the permission, Jim!) Then in drips and drabs as permission comes in, I will scan and archive the miscellaneous pile of english-speaking zines that came and went over the years back then.
Can it happen? Lets hope! It helps that I spent several years working in graphics and I have an expertise in both Photoshop and Acrobat. I can make these old, tattered amateur magazines shine. I plan to make each page easily printable on your home printer so that you can reproduce these old works.
That is the hope. That is the dream. I hope to somehow again gather the circle of friends I had back then and together we can make this dream happen. Hence the name “Dreamcircle”.
Expect that this effort will come with frustrating long waits at times as I deal with the latest damn-thing that my cancer serves up to me. All I want is to be able to accomplish this effort before I must go to the next world. Stay tuned for what happens next. You’ll find out when I do via my upcoming blog.
Welcome to this dream.
Twenty-four days after she wrote that, she died.
There is so much to say, so I divided this overview into several sections. I have only had time so far, in my first few days of safety at long last, to write these essays in order to get the ideas out. I’ll add graphics, better editing and formatting as the winter progresses.
1. About this special music – Why did Elana get so excited as to create a newsletter and interview the artists?
2. About Elana’s involvement with this creative scene – How it began
3. From Berlin to B5, via Portland – The international nature of the music Elana loved, explaining the reach of her newsletter
4. About my lost two years due to cancer and homelessness after Elana’s death, which kept me from working on her legacy until now
5. How to contact me and what would be helpful now
I will add to this site on an ongoing basis, now that my health and living situation are stabilized.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to hear from you.