On the Run, May 23, 2013

Things Fall Apart is a title that frequently has popped into my mind during the past few years.

Its author, Chinua Achebe, lived three decades longer than my husband, but died on the same March day.

Where does “escape” fit into this?

Nelson Mandela described Achebe as “the writer in whose company the prison walls came down.”

Achebe’s prose contained the immense power of escape, of transport and a kind of freedom–possibly for the Nigerian author, who was paralyzed in a car accident and confined to a wheelchair, as well as for his world-wide audience.

Words can reveal, can take us away, can help us drift to sleep and pull us back to our waking lives.  Billy Collins wrote:

All late readers know this sinking feeling of falling
into the liquid of sleep and then rising again
to the call of a voice that you are holding in your hands,

as if pulled from the sea back into a boat
where a discussion is raging on some subject or other,
on Patagonia or Thoroughbreds or the nature of war.

Is there a better method of departure by night
than this quiet bon voyage with an open book,
the sole companion who has come to see you off,

to wave you into the dark waters beyond language?
I can hear the rush and sweep of fallen leaves outside
where the world lies unconscious, and I can feel myself

dissolving, drifting into a story that will never be written,
letting the book slip to the floor where I will find it
in the morning when I surface, wet and streaked with daylight.

Words considerably less fluid and magnificent than Achebe’s and Collins’ form my own daily escape in so many ways, including the paradoxical escape that writing this blog provides: writing about what I miss beyond words somehow helps me break through the walls of my grief and join a wider world, realizing I am far from alone.

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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5 Responses to Escape

  1. I read Chinua Achebe back in college, a long time ago, and just before I went to Africa for a summer’s worth of volunteer work. This brings back so many memories.
    And, yes, words/writing/images can provide healing escape….

  2. This is beautifully put. Feeling isolated and alone is terrible, but being able to reach through that into a realisation that you rest in a universal sea of grief and upset is somehow very soothing. To feel you are not the only one going through these horrible feelings, is comforting and reconnecting. I’m so glad you found a way to do this through blogging, you have made the blogsphere richer with your honest writing 🙂

  3. Susan says:

    FAR from alone!

  4. Ann Martin says:

    things fall apart and with your writing, action, and photos you are creating a forward-looking, creative and more comfortable place for your family, friends, and you — love to all

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape | Ryan Photography

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