Monday, April 03, 2006

Blinded Mind Eyes

I have a friend who is blind. Which makes me wonder just what blind really is? The amazing thing about my blind friend is that she is writing a book. When someone is blind, writing a book is something the sighted person takes for granted. She is a twin and her sister has sight. It was some strange physical misfortune that she was blind and her sister was not, which is unimportant right now. She can type, on a typewriter, computer, and braille machine more accurately than most people I know. My basic job is to reread what she has written and correct any typing errors for her. I paste and cut for her and had to learn a few rules so she can write. One rule is that when she tells me to stop reading I must. If I continue to read she loses her concentration; so it is important to her for me to stop reading when she asks me to stop. Another thing I must do is be able to really read the words with feeling so she can tell if her writing has meaning. I must pronounce all the words and not skip any. It took me awhile to realize words like a, the, and small insignificant words, can really make a difference if missed and taken for granted. What is impressive is that I only have to read what she has written back to her once or twice and her memory somehow keeps every word, sentence and paragraph in order. For example I was reading a part of her draft and she interrupted me and said, "skip that and go to the part that starts, "While we were sitting around the campfire." Then she can adjust these pages and do all her cut and pasting in her mind. I asked her if she can see words in her mind and she says she just. "knows" what the words are, where they are and what comes next.

This at first seems like it could be a boring enterprise. Sometimes it is when I have to sit and wait while she repeats a section of what she has written out loud. Then somehow I get drawn into her book and the time rushes by. I am at the point where I can almost know when to stop reading without her asking me to stop. It is hard for her because in her mind she can go right to the page, word, paragraph or sentence in her mind in a second, but must wait for me to scroll up or down looking for the page she is mentally at, and I must physically find. Therefore she is waiting for me more than I for her.

She is a very good writer which makes it all the more interesting. She had this wonderful section written which I thought was just fine. Then she started changing and rearranging the feeling of the book and when she was done I was astounded at how much more emotion she developed into her story. It is like another sense that was sharpened because of her physical blindness. She described a scene where she was sitting next to a stream and I could actually feel the water and the ferns she was touching.

I guess I am writing this to encourage anyone who wants an uplifting and emotional experience to find a blind person and take the time to read to them, help them write and be their eyes for awhile. I gaurantee by the time you are done your own blindness will be well on the way to being cured.

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