Roland Meinl was always good with his digits, but when he switched from clarinet to drums his fingers jammed up and the math wouldn't slot quite right in his head. 12-8 time was the biggest problem - he had trouble getting the cymbal strokes tight. He knew what it should sound like, but he couldn't fit it in when he was doing everything at once.
In the mean time, though, he is focusing on his fiction.
"Just throw some symbolism in there," Euterpe says, settling down at the table across from him with a pop, "English teachers love that kind of stuff." She plays double-flute and used to sit next to Roland in the select band before he moved to the back with the rest of the hitters. They hang out in her kitchen a lot.
Euterpe hesitates. "Sorry. I don't mean to sound crass or demeaning or anything. I don't write much. I'm just saying it's about consistency. Pander to your audience."
That night, Roland tries to compose in his head while he works out that damned rhythm: tap-rest-tap-tap-tap-rest-tap-rest-tap-rest-tap-rest. After an hour his wrist is sore and his head is aching but he's somewhere, at least.