Having a person speak on your behalf is a powerful thing. A real potential game changer. A big scoot in a new direction.
Gately is in the hospital and he is getting vivid visits from Joelle. Some of the visits are so vivid they are revealed as imagined or hallucinated. Note that I am not labeling these visits as unreal.
After one particular visit from Joelle, Gately gets a chance to get his voice back. Well, not exactly. He gets a chance to create a new voice.
A written voice.
The feeding tube is still full on lodged in his throat, something he is at first extremely aware of and then basically almost always in disbelief about.
The visitor said you’d requested this, because of the tube.
Confirmation! Both Joelle and the tube have physically visited Gately’s body in the hospital (post a real big night of pavement and guns).
And Lo. Gately is handed a stenographer’s notepad and a blue pen.
Track back some hundred pages to another voice desperately trying to re-establish itself, with a blue pen, over at the Enfield cafeteria.
The sign used to say MILK IS FILLING, DRINK WHAT YOU TAKE until the comma was semicolonized by the insertion of a blue dot by a fairly obvious person.
Track back again to last week’s read and Hal is clutching the walls of the Enfield hallway imagining all the food he is going to live through eating, or a room full, chalked, stacked with fried, frozen chicken patties. I’m trying to figure out if it would be possible to squeeze in several thousand blue pens, you know in momentary pen-sized openings across and along the meat earth layers only appearing to 100% filling the room.
A cross section would look like a sequence of textured orange-tan line segments interspersed with the blue dots of the bic cap heads.
Maybe with the pens included, Hal has a chance.
AND things are manifesting into tangible space for Gately. At first, in trying to form his thoughts in the hospital, he has to imagine his thoughts as printed words.
He probably didn’t have permanent voice damage. Thank God. He made his thoughts capitalized.
Now, he is fumbling forward as well as a bed-ridden Gately armed with a pain (auto-correct selects “pain” and I’m trying to say, “pen”) – Armed with a pen.
Gately struggles with one hand to flip the notebook open and write ‘YO!’
in block caps.
Bonified legible, outside of the imagination, block caps. Hands are the machines that make ideas into words.
Except there’s nothing to really hold the notebook up against and write; he has to sort of balance it flat on his thigh…
And he really tries to manifest a new form of communicating.
more like drawing than writing
And wow, do I follow. I’m like leaning in to imagine see what he will write.
you feel…gratitude at your abstract distance from anything that doesn’t sit inside concentric circles.
This sounds like some sort of sense of calm?! In Infinite Jest?
Yes. Think back:
The easy squeak of your head’s blood is like bedsprings in the friendly distance.
Think back a little more and we get Ferocious Francis ringing with existential truth, or like some sort of really relevant quote to live by, there in the hospital:
He’s the one that’s feeling it. He’s the only one can decide.
Now. The idea of proceeding…
…right to the very finish.
Soak it up.