Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT May 27th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read a scene from the screenplay Awakenings, by Steven Zaillian, based on the book by Oliver Sacks posted below. 

Our prompt was: Where does the conversation go from here?

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Friday June 3rd at 12pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

Awakenings, by Steven Zaillian

Leonard, alone at a table with a book. He glances up as Sayer sits opposite him, then down again at the book. 
		LEONARD	I can’t read anymore. The 
	words are written too slow. 
	I keep going back to the 
	beginning, to the beginning, 
	and trying... 

He turns back to the beginning, tries again, his eyes moving too quickly across the lines, “ahead” of the words. His hands and head begin shaking out of control and it’s all he can do to close the book. 

           I’ve let the others down. 

           You have not.

           I’ve let you down. 

           You have not. 

           I’m grotesque... grotesque... grotesque... 

           Leonard, I won’t sit here 
           and listen to you talk about 
           yourself like this -- 

           Look at me.
He is a man consumed by illness. With a voice that is flat and limbs that are bent and hands that are twisted and a grimace that can only hint at the great depth of the despair he is suffering. 

           Look at me and tell me I am not. 

           You are not. 

It’s over and Leonard knows it. And though he won’t admit it, so does Sayer. Leonard barely gets the words out -- 

           This... isn’t... me. 

Hollywood Scripts, 1989.

8 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT May 27th 2022

  1. Rita B

    Where does the conversation go from here?

    Leonard looks down, sad that he couldn’t overcome his disease, the treatment so lovingly implemented by Dr. Sayer and team.

    Sayer reaches forward, as it trying to physically and mentally touch Leonard – “you will be OK. We WILL take care of you.” How can one assure a person who knows that he is retreating back into himself?

    Leonard pulls back his hands and can’t look at Sayer – “Should I say goodbye now?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where does the conversation go from here~~~

    Tears begin to fall from Leonard’s eyes. Sayer fully realizes the immense impact that Leonard’s illness has brought upon him. Leonard is not the man he used to be, nor never will he be. Leonard faces his reality, but Sayer refuses. Sayer feels that he has failed Leonard, that he can not bring back what was lost.

    Sayer must admit to himself that despite his best efforts, he can not retrieve Leonard’s earlier life back to him. All he can do is to be there to listen and truly hear Leonard’s story, to be present in the moment with him.

    Not all people will be healed, despite heroic efforts.
    The best gift is the gift of peace of spirit and mind,
    to be fully present on this journey of life.
    Acceptance is a form of healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Inspired by Awakenings: Screenplay: Leonard and Dr Sayer

    This picture I have of you is as sharp and clear
    as those dark blue protruding veins
    as I held your left hand in a warm snug
    you woke, murmured look at me, look at me now….
    where have I gone
    slightly lifting your paper frail hand
    what’s happened to me?
    The Nivea cream tried to sooth the cracks
    as I gently massaged around this assault from bone to liquid
    Then something hard, dry and crusty, a wart on your middle finger
    obstructing where your rose gold wedding ring shone
    No moisture not even Nivea could absorb this unbreakable lesion
    I circled around it with my little finger fearing
    I would draw your attention to it – I did
    You woke and said don’t look at me it will only upset you…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Melissa Adylia Calasanz

    Narrative Medicine
    May 27.2022

    Where does the conversation go from here?

    who am I
    to dictate
    the trajectory of anything
    of course
    entrust me to choreograph
    future history

    should I start from the top
    second count of eight
    skip to the adagio
    step ball change

    head for the wings
    head for the hills
    yodel and bellow

    who is entitled
    to script this scene
    mark it
    what if one cant speak
    the body translates everything
    listen to the rhythm of each movement

    gestures of eyes hands feet
    breathing changes everything
    guide it follow it

    i choose not
    to place words
    into anyone’s mouth

    – Melissa Adylia Calasanz


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