Friday, March 01, 2013

Rehabilitated

Rehabilitation after drug abuse isn't something I've had much experience with, so I probably won't need to make use of drug rehab California-style.  With that in mind, I've decided to take another trip through my clippings and see what other people have to say about rehab.  Here's just a small sample. 

Firstly, in an article in which David Orr puzzles over the idea of Spring Fashion Modelled by Rising Young Poets, he also considers: the actual experience of reading a poem. Not why poems are good at rehabilitating people. Not where poems come from. Not what they can help us do, or forget, or remember. Not what the people who write them are wearing. Just what reading one of them is like to one person. 

In an article entitled Salon's guide to writing memoirs, Avi Steinberg notes that you should first "give therapy a shot" and that Stories based on facts are more interesting and truthful and beautiful when placed within a prism of facts. Be a student of your subject. If you’re writing about an experience in a sober house, learn the history of rehab, the history of the specific sober house in which you lived, the chemical composition of benzodiazepine, etc. Everything has a history. Your personal story always intersects with larger subjects...



Václav Havel writes in a piece called Words on Words how even words need to be rehabilitated: 


For forty years now I have read [the word, peace] on the front of every building and in every shop window in my country. For forty years, an allergy to that beautiful word has been engendered in me as in every one of my fellow citizens because I know what the word has meant here for the past forty years: ever mightier armies ostensibly to defend peace.
In spite of that lengthy process of systematically divesting the word “peace” of all meaning—worse than that, investing it instead with quite the opposite meaning to that given in the dictionary—a number of Don Quixotes in Charter 77 and several of their younger colleagues in the Independent Peace Association have managed to rehabilitate the word and restore its original meaning. Naturally, though, they had to pay a price for their “semantic perestroika”—i.e., standing the word “peace” back on its feet again: almost all the youngsters who fronted the Independent Peace Association were obliged to spend a few months inside for their pains. It was worth it, though.

 




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