Before my brain injury, after I became an adult, I didn’t reread books, for, you see, the moment I began reading the first paragraph or, at most, the first page, the entire book came back into my head. No fun to reread. A new adventure, a new mystery or plot, even with known characters, engaged me more.
As a child, I remembered the stories but loved reliving them as I reread, especially the ones that resonated with me like Curious George (curiosity was my middle name…or maybe my first!), Anne of Green Gables (imagination and daydreaming was my métier), or Enid Blyton stories (kids had agency and belonged to each other and solved mysteries together).
Before my brain injury, I liked to read specific authors. Not for me the same book but the same author. After my brain injury, I read the same books over and over, not because I loved them so much but because I had no memory of them, that is, until 2018.
Lindamood-Bell restored my reading in 2018 — 18 years after traditional reading rehab had done nothing to help my comprehension even though the research Lindamood-Bell based their visualizing and verbalizing program on happened here in Canada decades ago. Nothing beats the medical system for their love of strategies that they’d rather read over and over than learn and apply programs that actually restore. But I digress…
For the last 4 years, I’ve been practicing my restored reading comprehension to both regain automaticity and improve stamina. I’ve been able to read a novel most mornings this year and maintain increased reading time at 30 minutes, going on to an hour or more. I used to read 2 hours straight and finish a mass paperback in one go. Maybe I’ll get back there one day.
As for what’s my fave book…I write novels. Whenever I think about Time and Space, I remember how excited I was about the characters and plot revealing themselves in my head, how challenging and thus exhilarating the research, how I enjoyed writing a story for the first time since my brain injury, how I loved working with my copyeditor to create future English and my development editor to mull over what future humans would look like. I remember feeling that at last various parts of my life were falling into place to release me from brain injury hell. At last, I could create an exciting life as an author. For real this time, unlike the pseudo one neurorehab had promulgated.
But when I remember writing Time and Space, I also feel the exhaustion of trying to market it in 2013/14 as I was reeling from a family blow and the cruel disappointment of few readers though those who read it enjoyed it or discussed at length with me what they’d never seen in a science fiction novel before.
Last year, I decided to write for myself. No, not in the usual way authors do, but literally for me as the only reader of my books. And, yes, I did publish Brain Injury, Trauma, and Grief: How to Heal When You Are Alone. And I did get an editorial review. And I’m still waiting to have the accessible ebook made. But in 23 years, though my energy levels have increased quite a bit through neurostimulation therapies, I haven’t regained enough energy to market my novels and non-fiction. It’s a relentless slog marketing, requiring much optimism and, more importantly, readers with initiative to talk up your books online and to anyone they know — not to lend but to convince them to buy or request it at their library. I have neither. And I’m tired of asking people to please review my book. Maybe if I didn’t have so much on my plate with unstable health care (universal health care doesn’t include treatment care), I’d find the imaginative optimism to market and keep asking for reviews and to spread the word.