Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Life forms illogical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
~Margot Fonteyn

Patterns are cool. If you pay close enough attention, you can find all sorts of patterns in pretty much every arena of life. I have a tendency to seek out patterns in my world as a way of trying to figure out the "why's" of my life. Sometimes the patterns I find are significant, sometimes trivial and if I wait long enough, each one of them has a reason.

I have recently read two books that are similar thematically enough for me to consider the start of a pattern: Still Alice and Deaf Sentence: A Novel. Both are stories of people, experts in their fields, who find themselves afflicted by whatever it is they are experts in. In Deaf Sentence: A Novel, the protagonist is a linguist who is losing his hearing, becoming unable to hear those sounds he has for so long studied and taught. Still Alice, tells the story of Alice, a professor of cognitive psychology who develops early onset Alzheimer's Disease, going from one who studies thinking to one who cannot think clearly enough to put a sentence together.

So here's the pattern I noticed in the books I have been led to read:  it seems as though the crosses we bear are inextricably linked with how we are gifted.  A linguist, a lover of language, loses his ability to hear.  A psychologist loses her ability to think.  I think about Beethoven, brilliant musician and composer becomes deaf.  Accomplished athletes lose limbs to disease.  A singer is robbed of her voice.  Those in the most need of community are continually left alone.

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