I am a linguist who loves literature and who is fascinated by science. I quantify randomness. I paint. I travel in a power wheelchair, hoping to capture the ordinary.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Little pleasures (and pain)

Tony Judt is a professor, historian, author. He also can barely move. He writes:

"But one is also and always aware in this disease of the necessary normalcy of other people's lives: their need for exercise, entertainment, and sleep. And so my nights superficially resemble those of other people. I prepare for bed; I go to bed; I get up (or, rather, am got up). But the bit between is, like the disease itself, incommunicable." (More here: Night - The New York Review of Books.)

When you can't move, small gestures explode into deep meaning, annoyingly tinged with theatrical melodrama. How long has it been since I have touched another person's face with my fingers? If I were to do so, would I not be overwhelmed with emotion? When daily life (dressing, showering, getting fed) feels like an assembly line job, when I have an early curfew and never a day off from this routine, that small dose of "fun" (a university course in literature, a coffee with a friend) is monumental. It helps me to feel human. The normalcy--"exercise, entertainment, and sleep"--I will go to great lengths to taste it for a moment. It is an I-would-rather-die-than-lose-this kind of thing. And I will fight you to the death for these crumbs.

I am reminded of Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's last tape," how we cling to those few moments of beauty.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fall in Florida

Fall has finally hit Northern Florida, midway through December. The reds and yellows are to be but brief visitors.

Yet it is nonetheless inspirational to see these crimson veins creeping in alongside Spanish moss.

The wool coat emerged from the closet this week.