Cancer Vs. Blindness
Blindness can be a pain in the ass, and infantilizing, even depressing sometimes, but it is not cancer.
This is A Blind Writer’s Notebook, a monthly column by M. Leona Godin about her experiences as a writer and the monolithic trope of blindness.
You’d think worries about cancer would be your number one preoccupation when you visit the radiologist for a biopsy on your boob, but if you’re blind, not so much. Last August, I had my first mammogram, my first abnormality, my first biopsy, my first cancer scare. The radiology appointments came in quick succession and each time, the receptionist refused to talk to me directly. Each time, he said to my partner Alabaster, “What’s her name?”
Eye and Brain.
Touching the Rock,
M. Leona Godin is a writer, actor, artist, and educator who is blind.
She is currently working on Seeing & Not-Seeing: A Personal and
Cultural History of Blindness with Pantheon Books. Godin founded
Aromatica Poetica as a venue for exploring the arts and sciences of
smell and taste, an online magazine not specifically for, but
welcoming to, blind readers and writers. She is proud to be a 2019
Logan Nonfiction Fellow.
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The idea of exploitation seemed to me fraught with assumptions about what a blind person is supposed to do and be—assumptions that insist blind people be poets and prophets, saints or beggars, not lowbrow entertainers.
The sixth sense, second sight, third eye. We are supposed to have both extra-accurate hearing and perfect pitch, more numerous and more acute taste buds, a finer touch, a bloodhound’s sense of smell.
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“Blind and print-handicapped readers do not have the luxury of deciding whether they will go old-school and deny the digital age.”
I felt that whipping out the white cane would irrevocably launch me into the kingdom of the blind, and, for many years, I did not want to go there.