Eleven years ago today, I stepped off a curb and into a crosswalk. I was hit by a car, bounced into a truck, and sustained a complex and serious brain injury that took years to settle to the point I could manage it, and by which I am still affected to this day.
This morning, eleven years to the day later, I learned that I will receive a $25,000 Canada Council for the Arts grant to write Crossing the Street — the memoir born in that life-changing moment. And this grant will, fittingly, be life-changing for me.
I am beyond grateful to the Canada Council for this opportunity and eager to focus on this project and see it to fruition. At a point in my life where I’m too functional to be disabled, and too dysfunctional to be “able”, there is no way I have been able to work on this book while trying to be employed AND manage my illness. This is the only way this book could possibly be written, and my emotions are still super-bouncing all over the place, landing on “gratitude” and “awe” most often.
For every person who sits on the side of the bed, trying to figure out what’s wrong, when they can’t put their pants on after their shoes, or hears the wrong words come out of their own mouth, or feels dizzy and nauseated at the grocery store because the lights, the sounds of the carts, and the number of colours and letters in the soup aisle are just Too Much At Once… This book is for you. This book is for the thousands of people who sustain traumatic brain injuries every year.
I am writing the book I wish someone could have handed to me and Doug eleven years ago, with the reassuring words, “No, Karen, you aren’t going crazy,” and “Doug, this is what the world looks like to Karen right now.”
Brain injury is something you don’t “get” until you get one. I’m going to show you what it’s like without you having to incur the pain.
Thank you to everyone who has been, and continues to be, in my corner. I’m going to make you proud.
And now, for the first time … drum roll please …
* I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts! *