I’m rereading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby because I’ve just introduced it to my students. You’ve never read it? You must. And no, the film is no substitute because watching a man with Locked-In Syndrome go throw the motions of surviving isn’t the same at all as holding in your hand the book that he transmitted, letter by letter, to his physical therapist by blinking his left eyelid.
“In my head I churn over every sentence ten times, delete a word, add an adjective, and learn my text by heart, paragraph by paragraph.”
It’s everything that good writing is and it never fails to inspire me to write a little more diligently. Plus its wickedly funny at times.
Prescriptive, favorite chapters, in no particular order:
When I wonder if its worth the time to write a note to a friend, to carefully choose my words, to share the thoughts which well within and rattle my heart, rather than let them lay in the stall of my core, I turn to “The Vegetable.”
When I feel trapped, when I want to write what I dream and when I wonder if life is a dream and does that make dreaming as real as bone and none of this is metaphor, I read and reread “The Dream.”
When I want to be snide and sarcastic, even though I detest those traits but sometimes it seems as essential as breathing to point out stupidity, I remind myself to be more graceful and revisit “The Wax Museum.”
And speaking of museums, The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, in our own backyard, opened its Butterfly Pavilion this week. I haven’t gone yet. But maybe if you get a chance to visit you’ll let me know how it is.
Thanks for reading. It’s alright to keep the back gate open and tell your neighbors to drop on by.