Tuesday, May 6, 2014
First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intro - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Through the frayed curtain at my window, a wan glow announces the break of day. My heels hurt, my head weighs a ton, and something like a giant invisible diving bell holds my whole body prisoner. My room emerges slowly from the gloom. I linger over every item: photos of loved ones, my children's drawings, posters, the little tin cyclist send by a friend the day before the Paris-Roubaix bike race, and the IV pole hanging over the bed where I have been confined these past six months, like a hermit crab dug into his rock.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a memoir. The author had been the editor of the French edition of Elle magazine and was known for his vitality and wit. Then one day at the age of 44, he suffered a massive stroke, and when he regained consciousness in the hospital he found he could no longer move his body; he could only blink his left eye. He suffers from what is known as "locked-in syndrome". The book was dictated by a series of blinks. The letters of the alphabet would be read to him in order of frequency of use and he would blink when he heard the letter he wanted. Sadly Bauby passed away 2 days after the French publication of the book. There is also a movie adaptation of it that is available for free to Amazon Prime customers. I will have to watch it when I am done.