Monday, July 20, 2009

My Stroke of Insight

About a year ago on Fresh Air, I heard Terry Gross's interview with Jill Bolte Taylor, a neurological researcher who suffered a stroke that required her to relearn thousands of life skills, and, in many important ways, to relearn who she was.  The interview was fascinating, and Bolte Taylor is stunningly articulate--far more articulate than most people who haven't had a stroke.  Her recovery and her ability to convey the feeling of having key parts of her brain go "offline" were remarkable, and I committed her book's title (My Stroke of Insight) to memory...and totally failed to follow up and get the book.  A month or two ago, they replayed the segment and still I failed to follow through. 
Last week, in an effort to get free access to language software that I'm hoping will help me to learn Italian, I stopped by my local library to apply for a card.  I really only wanted the card--work has been so hectic lately that I really haven't been reading anything, and although I miss reading, I just didn't see myself making time for it, especially when I was about to allocate some of my precious free time to trying to learn a foreign language.  But I'm a book person.  so when the librarian told me that even though I didn't have my card yet, I was allowed to check out five items, I had to take a look.
I breezed through the fiction section and chose a couple of titles, but I really had only one thing in mind--I had to get this book. 
I was surprised by how much of the book had been conveyed in the interview.  But Bolte Taylor's experience is the kind that inspires philosophical questions about what it means to be human and what our identity is made of.  For anyone who knows a stroke victim (my friend's mom recently had a stroke, so my interest was somewhat revitalized because of that), there is also a list of recommendations for recovery that look very helpful.  Check out the link above for Terry Gross's interview, and for an excerpt from the book.
Reading the book was such a great experience that I think I might have to make time for a little more reading, even though it seems like a lot to fit in.  I'm hoping that blogging about it will help me stick to my goals.  (Because, you know, that's helped so much with staying in shape.  Yeah, you just knew I couldn't get through a whole blog entry without sarcasm, didn't you.)

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