Tuesday, June 03, 2008


One of the moments I remember from my childhood was listening in on a conversation between my mother and the man who was then our church custodian. I still remember just where we were standing. I must have been 8 or 9 at the time. He was talking about the hard time he had when he lost his leg. I don’t even remember how. He talked about the phenomenon of feeling a leg that wasn’t there and about the pain he felt in it and in the part of the leg he had left. This extreme pain and the morphine they had given him for it had, of course, resulted in another problem that he had to deal with in order to get on with his life. I suppose that hearing this story from someone who was more or less a fixture in my life made a big impression on me. I don’t remember my mother talking about it later—it’s just that one isolated moment.

I reflected on my memory when I read Stephen King’s Duma Key, which I blogged about earlier. The sensation that the protagonist has after he loses his hand, although very surreal (literally), reminded me of the story Shorty told.

Richard Power’s novel, The Echomaker, has evoked the same kind of reflection in me. I found the exploration of the injured human brain/mind/consciousness to be thought-provoking. A friend of mine was brain-injured in a car wreck when we were in high school. Over the years, her courageous struggle with herself and the world has been evident. She is now a happy person who has successfully reared two daughters and is a grandmother, but those of us who knew her “before” cannot help but be aware that her life was very different from what it might have been, and that she has had to work much harder than we have at almost everything. I also have been somewhat interested in the migration of the cranes, both Sandhill and Whooping, because we live not too far from one of the wetland refuges on the flyway. I have never been to see the cranes fly. This book is a reminder that I need to go, that is if the weather is not too dry this year. I found this novel, which I listened to as an audiobook, to be haunting and thought-provoking about man’s place in nature.

Now, however, I’m ready for some lighter reading. My brain is tired from school. and from thinking. Both of these novels, although very different, are works of art, and as Keats said, “. . . .tease us out of thought as doth Eternity.”


Carrie said...

I just finished the Red/Black/White series by Tim Dekker, which was interesting. I'm wanting to read "The Year of Living Biblically" by AJ Jacobs next--looks interesting.

LizzieK8 said...

My oldest son suffered TBI from a car accident 11 years ago. He wasn't expected to live, but he showed them. He is a much different person as a result of the accident. I sometimes miss my "other son".