A Landscape, My Desk



The photograph above was taken two days ago. It is a simple photo depicting my desk in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Several pages of an essay are spread across the desk and there’s a pair of wire framed reading glasses and a red felt tipped pen atop the scattered pages. There’s a glasses case with a lens cleaning cloth and a manila envelope with a door key. There’s nothing remarkable about this photograph: its just a professor’s desk. And yet to me this photo is utterly remarkable because I took it myself. And yes, I was reading those pages with those reading glasses and I was writing comments in the margins. I am only one small man and I am the bearer of one small life and surely this is a wide world with a billion narratives of joy or by turns of terrible injustice. Yet I like to think that getting some usable vision back means that others will also have their vision restored. I say this not because blindness is a bad thing–far from it, for indeed I’ve been writing for over a decade now about the ways that blindness functions as a form of epistemology–all disabilities offer the normative world riches of mental diversity. I have said so and will continue to say it. Yet for all that I can say that seeing, even if its not quite perfect (residual vision, low vision, call it what you will) is a marvel and working as I do with the University of Iowa’s College of Ophthalmology I know that the cures for many kinds of blindness are very near. Perhaps we are living in dark times. But then again perhaps not. Some days I think it takes greater daring to say “perhaps not”. So this is the landscape from my desk today in winter as a semester draws to a conclusion here in Iowa City.



0 thoughts on “A Landscape, My Desk

  1. Steve — we are proud of you and the outstanding team at the University of Iowa — we wish you all a wonderful “sighted” holiday season.


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