I’ve been an avid reader of Oliver Sacks books since 1985 when I encountered The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Mr. Sacks projects his subjects’ maladies through the prism of his own brilliant and inventive mind to reveal modes of perception and being that we wouldn’t otherwise imagine. While he puzzles through the neurology and physiology, parsing the mechanics of synesthesia or color blindness, he glimpses what it might be like to be that person and he communicates that brilliantly to us.
I had an experience many years ago when I was playing the piano for a group of residents at a nursing home. Right next to the piano there was a woman in a wheelchair with her head stretched back and her whole body tensed in muscular spasm. She couldn’t speak but she made noises that seemed to me to be attempts to speak. I started playing Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” Continue reading