word craft


Learning to walk

caneAs some of you may have read here, I sus­tained a hip injury a cou­ple of months ago when I slipped on some ice. After my ini­tial fall, there was no pain, no surgery, no med­ica­tions, I’m doing just fine, thank you. But I had a need for phys­i­cal therapy. 

With that PT came advice. “Get a cane so you don’t walk lopsided.” 

Like me, I’m sure you have seen a cane in the hands of many, many oth­er peo­ple. So, “Get a cane,” was a sim­ple thing to do. 

But…………to my great sur­prise It wasn’t sim­ple to use it. 

My injury was on the left side. In which hand do I hold the cane? 

What height should that cane be? 

How do you walk with a cane? That is, how do you syn­chro­nize your step (includ­ing your lop­sided step) with the swing of that cane? 

This is to say, how do you learn to walk again? 

And if you have slight left/ right confusion—as I do—even that becomes a lit­tle complicated. 

It’s a reminder that what appears to be sim­ple from a distance—metaphorically or not—is often oth­er­wise. Sim­ple is hard to see. And, in my own fash­ion, it relates to writ­ing. Because, if you are telling a sto­ry and you wish to com­mu­ni­cate how some­one does some­thing, feels some­thing, solves some­thing (and so forth) you need to see it (in your mind) describe it, find the words for it. And then you need to find a way to use the words to com­mu­ni­cate a lot more than just the act itself. 

It is a cliché to sug­gest the “Dev­il is in the details.” But those sim­ple details are pre­cise­ly that which ele­vates writ­ing: an abil­i­ty to pro­vide the read­er with a sense of the real. And—to make it more com­pli­cat­ed, while there is the need­ful skill of know­ing what to put in, there is an equal skill in know­ing what to leave out. It reminds me of that oth­er (use­ful) writ­ing cliché: you need to make the usu­al unusu­al, even as you make the unusu­al, usual. 

In short, while I have lived a fair­ly long life, and, as I say, I have seen many a cane in many a hand, I knew noth­ing about it. 

I’m still learn­ing sim­ple things. Or to be Bib­li­cal about it, I’m using a cane to become able. 

9 thoughts on “Learning to walk”

  1. I think your last line “I am using a cane to become able,” tells it all. Stay with the PT, it will save you more mis­ery down the line and good luck.

  2. The one ‘mar­gin­al­ized’ cat­e­go­ry that any­one can be become a part of at any moment — whether it be per­ma­nent or tem­po­rary- is that of ‘dis­abled’ or what I like to state: dif­fer­ent­ly abled. It sure brings a total­ly new per­spec­tive to one’s world and the lessons that are learned can, with thought/insight, apply to our improve­ment in the writ­ing and read­ing process. Keep with the PT! I bet more sto­ries will abound from the experiences!

  3. Using the cane to be able? What am I, my broth­er’s keeper? 

    Much love and good luck to you my friend!

  4. Avi, keep work­ing at using that cane, for a com­plete and speedy recov­ery! I now have a new-found respect for peo­ple who nav­i­gate their mobil­i­ty with the help of canes. I love this beau­ti­ful metaphor regard­ing how we look at things, not only in our writ­ing, but in life in gen­er­al. Your last line was price­less and timeless.

    Best regards,

    Sharon B.

  5. This was fas­ci­nat­ing, Avi. I also have a slight left/right con­fu­sion (it’s why I can’t dance — I’m always a half beat behind!) I’ve always been a lit­tle embar­rassed by it, since I feel like by now I should have mas­tered some­thing they were teach­ing us in kindergarten!

  6. My heart goes out to you. I hope you con­tin­ue to progress and feel more like your old self. How blessed we all are that you are an empath and can use this expe­ri­ence to make the way clear­er for your readers.

  7. Know­ing what to put in — know­ing what to keep out! Mak­ing the usu­al — unusu­al and mak­ing the unusu­al — usu­al. Love that. But your last line …REALLY LOVE IT!

  8. Hi, Mr Avi! I’m so sor­ry to hear about your injury; I hope you make a speedy recovery. 🙂

    So true! When my old­er sis­ter injured her knee years ago, she had to use a cane, and it was­n’t as sim­ple as it appeared. I’ve been learn­ing how to incor­po­rate details into my writ­ing and mak­ing things feel real. Not easy, but well worth it.

    Any­way, I hope you feel bet­ter soon (and con­grat­u­la­tions on your book, Loy­al­ty!) May you and your fam­i­ly have a blessed week.

  9. Here’s to your next title, A CANE OF DISTINCTION 🙂
    You’ve made many adjust­ments in life. Cheer­ing your cur­rent one!


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