The Blind Know Where the Umbrellas Are

Cover of Planet of the and dog....

“Eilis noticed a number of black umbrellas resting against the hallstand.”

In Colm Toibin’s novel “Brooklyn” one finds the sentence above in the middle of a scene. Ellis has been summoned to meet Mrs. Kelly who wants to offer her a job–though the offer is strikingly unfriendly. Ellis sees the black umbrellas.

Once upon a time, long ago, when I was interviewing for a creative writing faculty job at The Ohio State University a noted fiction writer asked me how I could write about the world if I can’t see. It was a hostile question and likely illegal but I said without skipping a beat that all nouns are images and no one who uses nouns fails to create a picture. The man would go on to be trouble for me as after I was hired he proved to be an outright ableist.

What I didn’t say is the blind know where the umbrellas are.
We know what kind of rain is falling before stepping out.
Many of us can read in the dark and are expert listeners.

Author: skuusisto

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

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