Headline August 04, 2019/ ''BLIND -AUTHORS- BLEAU''


''EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED - INCLUDING HUMILIATIONS, embarrassments, misfortunes, -all has been given like clay, like material''............

'BLINDNESS is a gift'.

WRITING with your eyes closed : Joel Burcat's debut  novel, ''Drink to Every Beast,'' isn't climbing  best-seller lists or getting attention from prominent critics. But it's remarkable for a different reason.
He finished it after becoming legally blind.

An environmental lawyer in Harrisburg, Pa, Burcat 64, had been writing in his spare time for many years and had cranked out several novels, including an early version of this one. But none had found a publisher and gone out in the world.

Then, in early 2018, he lost much of the vision in his right eye to the same affliction that a year and a half earlier had ravaged his left.

To cope with the physical and emotional adjustment, he stepped away from his legal work, and soon realized that he had extra time to write. More than that he had extra determination.

''I had to prove to myself that I could do something that one would not normally say blind person can do,'' he told me during a recent phone conversation. ''It was really, really important to me.''

He got dictation software, hired an editor and then sent a published revision of ''Drink to Every Beast,'' a legal thriller about the toxic waste in the Susquehanna River, to Headline Books, which welcomes writers unrepresented by Agents. It published the novel a few weeks ago.

No matter the book's reception, he's beyond ecstatic. ''Now,'' he said,'' I can claim to be the same category as James Joyce, James Thurber and other blind authors.''

Joyce and Thurber were totally blind. But Burcat is right about a fascinating tradition of writers with  little or no eyesight - fascinating because  they affirm human beings power to transcend apparent limits, because they show how obstacles can be gateways to epiphanies and because they challenge what it means to see.

For that you use your brain - where images are stored, organized and edited and turned into words - as much as your eyes. You use your spirit.

Within the densest fog and darkest black, you can find clarity and color if your imagination is 20/20.

That's the lesson of John Milton, of Jorge Luis Borges and of scores if not hundreds of less celebrated writers who worked without eyesight, which, in most cases, like theirs, they lost as adults 

They needed assistance, but they pressed on. It steeled them. They responded to a world that often marginalizes or condescends to disabled people by demonstrating just how able they were.

Milton produced ''Paradise Lost'' and ''Paradise Regained'' more than a decade after his eyes failed around 1652. ''A good argument can be made that he was able to render these masterpieces not in spite of his blindness but because of it,'' John Rumrich, who teaches Milton at the University of Texas, told me.

''He himself thought as much,'' Milton chose to regard blindness as the price he was paying for ''inner illumination,'' Rumrich said.
It bolstered his sense of mission.

It certainly shaped ''Paradise Lost,'' which teems with the binaries of day and night, darkness and light, and reflects on his own blindness, which he describes as an all encompassing blank that has expunged nature's glory.

He implores a ''celestial light'' to ''Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers / Irradiate; their plant eyes, all mist from thence / Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell / Of things invisible to mortal sight.''

Borges, the Argentine fiction writer, poet and essayist, had Milton in mind when he observed in 1977 essay that ''a writer, or any man must believe that whatever happens to him is an instrument.................

The Honor and  Serving of  this  masterly work continues. The World Students society thanks most profoundly, author Frank Bruni.

With respectful dedication to all the Writers of the World, and then, Students, Professors and Teachers.

See Ya all on Facebook, prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and.....  Twitter : E-!WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Blinds & Blooms '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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