H.G. Wells and the Kid…

planet of the blind

As a boy I loved me some H.G. Wells, especially his time machine which, to an isolated blind kid was the best thing possible even with all its prospective dangers and late Victorian caprice for children sense adults are fickle, especially disabled children, and accordingly I saw Wells had created a gizmo much like one’s untrustworthy uncle, the one you liked despite all the evidence. I think I was around eleven when I read it. And I understood it was a book about social psychology, though I didn’t have the words for such a concept. But I understood this:

“I think that at that time none of us quite believed in the Time Machine. The fact is, the Time Traveller was one of those men who are too clever to be believed: you never felt that you saw all round him; you always suspected some subtle reserve, some ingenuity in ambush, behind his lucid frankness.”

I had to look up lucid. I got it. Some of the smilingest adults were the most dangerous. Kids too.

Could someone cobble together for me a freedom machine? That’s what I thought.

Now I’m remembering him, that kid. Again I want the freedom machine—want it to lift up refugees and my brothers and sisters, black, disabled, women, men, children, all of them living in perpetual violence. I want them at the victory celebration when humankind looks back with triumph for we saved our people; rescued the planet. Wells again: “when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.” We’re an aging species. Mind and strength are increasingly in short supply. Can we have gratitude? Just a little mutual tenderness?

Silly of course. I should erase everything I’ve just written. Haven’t I read too much to believe what I’m saying? Capital wraps affection; stone blunts scissors…try to be funny. Carry on. Everyone in the academy talking these days like army colonels—interrogating the subject; leveraging the problem; poring over the grid. “Jeezus, old stuffed bear, don’t reveal you’ve a heart, they’ll cut it right out of you.”

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

2 thoughts on “H.G. Wells and the Kid…”

  1. Dear Blindzanygirl: you have made my day! You’re right, everyone wants Hollywood and real disability lives are by their very nature tougher than that kind of cheap story. And it takes a lot of stamina and faith to get by, each and every day. And when we affirm each other the links of the chain are stronger! Thank you for writing to me! Much appreciated!


  2. Thankyou for your site. I am a blind poet too. I am also unable to walk, and use a power chair, which is difficult when you are blind. I have no one to guide me as my husband is in a wheelchair also. My,problems have come recently, as. i had advanced and serious cancer which left me this way. I went from climbing mountains, to this. I am still acclimatising to it. So I write poetry. And Blogs. I just read your latest Blog, and this morning I showed people my heart. And now I am a pariah. It was not wanted. Everyone wants the Hollywood Happy Ending. It doesn’t always happen. Suffering is real. It is messy. Not glamorous at all. But you and I can see far more than can those who are sighted. Thankyou for your writings.
    I AM happy though.


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