Monday, April 21, 2014

An essay in The New York Times about rebellious words and "meaningless fragments"

This essay (see above link) was written by Alberto Manguel and recently posted in The New York Times. It is a wonderful and poetic description of someone's firsthand experience of stroke and aphasia. Though the term "aphasia" is not used in the essay, the descriptions of language problems will resonate with those who have aphasia and with their close friends and family members.

"But just as I was about to write the first words, I felt as if they were escaping me, vanishing into air before reaching the paper."

"But while I knew the gist of what I wanted to say, the sentence would not take shape."

"The words rebelled, refused to do as I asked them..."

"I felt as if I had been groping in an alphabet soup for the words I needed, but as soon as I put in my spoon to grab a few, they would dissolve into meaningless fragments."

"...I felt as if I were groping in the dark for something that crumbled at the touch, preventing my thought from forming itself in a sentence..."

"Unable to put my thoughts into words, I tried to find synonyms for what I knew I was trying to say."

"My thoughts outwit me."

What words, what poetry, what pictures would you use to describe the experience of speaking with aphasia?

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