Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Aphasic memoirs

'Mem, Mem, Mem' -- After a stroke, a prolific novelist struggles to say how the mental world of aphasia looks and feels, by Paul West; introduced by Diane Ackerman. American Scholar, Summer 2007.

from the introduction: "'You know, dear,' I said to him one day, about two months after the stroke, when he was feeling mighty low, 'maybe you want to write the first aphasic memoir.' He smiled broadly, said, 'Good idea! Mem, mem, mem.' And so he began dictating, sometimes with mountain-moving effort, and at others sailing along at a good clip, an account of what he’d just gone through, what the mental world of aphasia felt and looked like. Writing the book was the best speech therapy anyone could have prescribed. For three exhausting hours each day, he forced his brain to recruit cells, build new connections, find the right sounds to go with words, and piece together whole sentences. Going over the text the next day helped refine his thoughts and showed him some of aphasia’s fingerprints in the prose." [More] (via Arts & Letters Daily)

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2007-08-18 03:09 pm UTC (link)
That's a fascinating piece, and I find it ultimately very encouraging. I hope one doesn't have to be a novelist to work through aphasia! I think there may be hope for those of us who talk and blog almost incessantly (like me!).

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