A Stitch of Time: The Year a Brain Injury Changed My Language and Life

From our earliest moments, we accumulate memories through images, scents, sounds, etc., and as we accrue the vocabulary to describe those senses, the words become the links to those past moments. We use words in speaking, writing, reading and in our internal thinking. So what happens when the ability to form words--to access memories, to speak, write and read or to have an inner monologue--disappears?

When an aneurysm ruptured in Lauren Marks's brain at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, she woke in a hospital and discovered she had lost much of her language abilities. In A Stitch of Time, her soul-searching debut, Marks recalls how she struggled to find the words that had seemingly always been there, but were now beyond her grasp. She ponders who she was and the interactions she had with long-time friends, experiences she could not readily remember. Her aphasia gradually improves as she enters speech therapy classes and learns new ways to process information, yet there is always a piece or two missing in her comprehension.

Feeling as though she'd become someone new in the flash of a second, Marks dives into research about aphasia and the way words play a vital role in human connections. She depicts the support she received and challenges she faced with her long-time boyfriend and with immediate family and close friends. Marks's story is humbling and hopeful, a demonstration of the mind's flexibility and resourcefulness to heal, morph and press on, even when met with potentially life-threatening circumstances. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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