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6. Sense and sensitivity

Society and blindness, trauma, and therapy through reading
hand in the sea
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

At the start of M Leona Godin’s ‘There Plant Eyes’, the author, who also narrates, notes that sharp-eared listeners might sometimes hear taps, or even words in the background audio. She explains that this is the sound of her text-to-speech screenreader prompting her speech, as she isn’t proficient in Braille. It’s natural for Godin to narrate the audiobook, as the book is her life in writing. As an academic she has studied how blindness has been represented in society (innocent, idiotic or super-blind are the main categories). Instead, with stories from her life and throughout history (Milton—from whom she takes the title of the book—is included, as is Helen Keller as a sexual, vaudeville adult) she urges listeners to remember that the blind are people, and learn skills to get around in the world, just as we all do.

In a moment of serendipity, my next audiobook, ‘Wild Signs and Star Paths’, also focused on honing one’s senses. Tristian Golley’s uses clues from nature—from moss to birds—to navigate. The book is full of “I sensed” and “I noticed”. After finishing the book, I started to noticed the lichen on trees was only on one side. You might notice more too.

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Until next time,