Friday, January 29, 2010


After mentioning in a recent post who I still find reading books of solid prose difficult [I meant "why" of course, but I've corrected enough "typos" in this post and thought I'd leave that because it's obviously not a "typo" where I hit the wrong key accidentally since the "y" and "o" are separated by a few keys, it was just my brain doing that thing it now does of substituting another word then I intended, I should be leaving all of them and publishing the results as "language poetry"], mentioning novels and biographies as examples of books I wasn't tackling.

Then I received belated Xmas gifts in the mail from one of my oldest and best friends, Karen, and they were a novel and a biography.

The bio was the new one of Thelonious Monk I intended to buy with a gift card I haven't used yet and read it when I'm able. But now that it's here I couldn't help reading the first few pages. And It's already a fascinatingly thorough take, obviously well researched, revealing details and facts I wasn't aware of, and I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about Monk for my entire adult life.

The other is a novel, LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN, by Colum McCann that I probably wouldn't have otherwise bought and read. It comes highly recommended so I read the first few pages of it as well and fell for the writing and perspective. Now I intend to give that a try too. I think that's the best policy and probably partly responsible for my pretty rapid recovery—the fact that I started trying to do things that either I couldn't at first or initially found difficult and with almost daily attempts began to re-acquire the cognitive and motor skills I had before the surgery.

But as I also mentioned in that recent post about my recovery, some things are definitely different and one of the most obvious for me that means nothing to doctors or the various recovery therapists or to most people, is my no longer having the compulsion to make lists.

I feel like one of those characters in an Oliver Sachs book about brain injuries and the changes they cause, but instead of being the guy who was hit by lightening or a truck or whatever and then compulsively had to play music or etc. I'm a guy who had a list-making compulsion ever since I can remember and after the operation it wasn't there any more.

Some of my friends think it's a good thing. But I always liked lists. They're the basis structurally for a lot of my poetry, as they were for many poets (Whitman's a classic example) and because my mind is always chattering they were almost a kind of meditation, a way of slowing my thoughts down or at least focusing them in a way that wasn't endlessly repetitive or entirely useless (although some may have found the lists that resulted those ways).

But now and then I try to come up with one while I'm laying in bed before falling asleep and it's useless, I can't. I think of a new idea for what a list might be based on and then begin to make it and I lose interest after one or two items. Unheard of in all my previous life. I made lists constantly. Some of which appeared on this blog or in my poetry, as I said, or even prose, etc. but most of which never left my brain.

I wonder if that will ever come back? I'll try now and then to come up with one and to complete it and we'll see (I redid the lists on my profile here a few weeks ago to only things I've come to consider favorites since the operation, but I noticed even doing that it was kind of a half baked effort and I let it dwindle down pretty quickly and it had no format, i.e. ten top or alphabet or trinities or any of the others I used to do [I've added a few since].

There's other stuff too, like I just got back from the pharmacy and the experience was pretty routine, making me think of how difficult it was to do that even with help only a few weeks ago. But I noticed I signed my name in the wrong spot when they gave me the prescriptions, so had to add an arrow pointing to the line it was supposed to be on, and that was something that was automatic for me over the past few years.

There's more I've observed but this is enough for one post, or even too much. We'll see where I am at the end of twelve weeks.


-K- said...

Michael - I hope you were able to see the debate between Obama and the House Republicans. I don't think anyone could deny he showed up to genuinely cut through all the rhetoric and talking points - only to find that's all the other side had.

Lally said...

Yeah, One of the things the Dems don't seem to grasp though is how the right controls the parameters and talking points. O's trying to correct that, but he needs all the help he can get. After all, the Republicans were and are against almost everything O and the Dems have proposed in reigning in the big banks,the Repubs have always sided with big finance, yet they have managed to make it look like they're somehow with the little guy (Nixon was the first to master that with "the silent majority" bit, but Reagan and Atwater et. al. perfected it and the Dems have never really found their footing in a united daily offensive, just reacted or bickered among themselves. Hopefully O will rise above that and survive to get more of his policies through, but I don't count on the media doing much more than mimicing the right's unified messages or shining a spotlight on the Dems (I don't say "left" because the Dems are far more centrist) factionalism(s).

-K- said...

"...I don't say "left" because the Dems are far more centrist...

I agree, that phrase when used by the media in the context of US politics is not only inaccurate but just adds fuel to the fire.

Elisabeth said...

How fascinating, you no longer write lists at least not with the success of pre-operation.

I'm with your friends who say it may not be such a bad thing, but I can understand that it might bother you now. List making is comforting.