Diane Ackerman’s book, One Hundred Names for Love

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Our Irish getaway

I am reading Ackerman’s book which is about her husband’s stroke and the aphasia that followed. It is a book about five years of their married life. There are many things about their marriage before the stroke that make it seem completely idyllic. They don’t have to really work very much and they don’t have any children so they have very little to be upset about and very little stress. They are constantly making word jokes with each other. Paul swims in the pool and according to his wife, he is one of the smartest people on the planet (possibly on other planets as well, although she doesn’t mention them.) She does talk a lot about how he is very smart and well read and how great he is at word play. Also, he spends a lot of time naked. But after the stroke, he becomes a slob and is incoherent. It takes five years of speech therapy to get him functioning, but there is no possibility of his complete recovery.

It is a great read. I love the couple’s charming life together, their messy house, their jokes. I love the woman with many colors of hair who comes to live with them to help out with Paul. Liz swims with Paul and has fun with Diane. It is is a very sad book that seems to kind of drip with remembrances both simple and full of love. We all hope that we might have someone to love us this much. To take the “sickness and health” promise this seriously.

We all want this kind of devotion. And this kind of life: Romping and beautiful and altogether without problems and then when the big problem does hit, she rallies like a force of will, like a goddess, like a dragon force.

The brain is a complicated organism. It uses 25% of our glucose and energy although it’s only 5% of our body’s weight. I tell Mark that a brain the size of mine may be using more like 30%. He gives me a look. It is a look that fully respects my brain’s size and I do not appreciate it.

I was always told that your brain was the size of one fist. I have huge hands which would imply that I have a big brain. Hmm. Once when I was driving my son to high school he said to me,

Mother, you know that I have really big feet and hands?

And I said, yes.

And he said, Do you know what big hands mean?

I said, No.

And he said, Big gloves.

He said, You know what big feet mean?

I said, Not really.

And he said, Big socks.

Published in: on July 25, 2013 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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