Friday, April 13, 2012

Language and love

Went to see Diane Ackerman Wednesday night as a part of the week-plus-long celebration of writing and literature, the Fox Cities Book Festival . Her book One Hundred Names for Love describes the journey of healing after her husband, the writer Paul West, suffered a stroke that left him with aphasia -- a particularly cruel fate for these lovers of language.

When therapy wasn't getting anywhere Ackerman reviewed his workbook problems: Can a bowl swim? Can pearls fly? Questions designed for the literal mind. So she took over his therapy. Among the challenges she posed to West, who lamented that he couldn't remember any of the pet names he had made up for her: Make up new ones. He did, every day for a hundred days.

1 comment:

Colleen Sutherland, storyteller said...

My aunt suffered a stroke a couple of weeks after she retired from the phone company. She had a closet full of projects she intended to pursue. She lived a long time after that, but couldn't do much except cook. She, too, had aphasia.

That is one of the reasons I am devoting myself to writing, while I can.