Brain Fog: An Essay
“I am…” I type.
But then a thought fords the sentence. My fingers hover above the keyboard, like soldiers awaiting a command.
I have… forgotten something. But what?
I can feel the form of its forgetting but not the substance of it. The Forgotten Thing has a weight that I reach towards and miss.
Perhaps it is a thing I promised to do? Or maybe I have an appointment that I am about to miss? I grab my phone to check my calendar.
But before I get to that, I see that I have gotten a text from my friend Alice. It is 1:15 pm. She has likely just woken up in Melbourne. Or… wait. I think… she lives in that other Australian city? The one with the opera house?
I can never remember which. I always Google her to check what’s listed on her LinkedIn profile when we schedule a phone call so I get her time zone right.
I Google it now, before I answer her, hoping that if I check frequently enough it will eventually stick. For months, I have been afraid that it will come out in the midst of a conversation about books or the intricacies of our relationships with our family that after almost a year of friendship, I don’t even know the city she lives in.
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Or rather, that I keep knowing and forgetting her city. The fact of it slick and slippery every time I try to hold it.
I worry so much because I think that Alice will be hurt. That the way certain things stick in my brain after my brain injury and others don’t will be taken personally.
I don’t know why my brain does this. How some facts are awkwardly shaped and others fit easily into its structure. How sometimes I can know things, know that I know them, and yet not be able to locate them -- like products the system lists but that you cannot find after inventory, likely misplaced or the electronic remnants of a theft.
I was talking to a friend recently and kept forgetting and then later remembering the names of authors I loved. “Kim Stanley Robinson!” I yelled out exuberantly when his name suddenly crystalized, after I had forgotten it while telling my friend about his latest book. I have read 10 of Stanley Robinson’s books this year. I could have told you the plots to all his novels in detail, but for a while that day his name escaped me.
“You seem to have a half hour lag,” my friend commented after this happened half a dozen times.
Alice lives in Sydney, Google tells me. And I am once again embarrassed. I was so certain it was Melbourne. It almost feels violent how my mind keeps unfixing her in place. Moving Alice like a chess piece from one quadrant to another in the Australian map in my head.
Does it say something terrible about me that I routinely collapse such disparate geographies in a country I should know more about but don’t? Is this forgetting the result of North American centrism? Is it a deeper failing of mine than a broken brain?
How does one trace the fault lines of one’s ignorance?
Alice and I have been calling each other lately when we need to get housework done but are struggling with executive processing. The steady patter of each other’s voice and conversation pull us through the boredom of sorting one’s recycling (me) or deciding which clothes to get rid of (her).
These are things that should be easy but aren’t.
They involve a cluster of tiny decisions – one after the other.
Do I take my garbage out today? Do I have the energy for it? Will I have energy to do the things I need to do today if I do it? Maybe I should take it out next time I leave the house instead? When am I planning to leave the house next? Did I empty the garbage from my bathrooms? And do I have to put on pants or is what I’m wearing presentable? And if so, which pants? Do I even have clean pants? Do I have to do laundry? When should I do laundry? Do I have the energy for it? Will I have energy to do the things that I need to do today if I…
I did not know how much work decisions were until my brain was injured and remapped itself. I will sit on the couch thinking about taking my garbage out for an hour and not take it out until a week later.
My life now is a hundred individual choices and hesitations for what used to be one smooth process. I have become the Prufrock of small tasks, I once joked to a friend who had never read T. S. Elliot and didn’t have a broken brain and so did not laugh.
On the phone last week, Alice’s voice calmed my anxiety as I sorted through haphazard stacks of academic papers. Some are half read and annotated. Some are from research projects that I’ve delayed. Others from some I might never get to. They lie dotted around my apartment as though I am certain of having an urgent need for an analysis of the neoliberalism of crime fiction or the biopolitics of invisible disability stat. I was trying to sort them into a filing cabinet for future reading. This is for the auto-theory memoir on invisible disability, that is for the novel I’m planning out exploring genre form as a technology of nationalism.
I felt like Psyche sorting through her grains looking for a needle, I think now as I remember it, trying to find a metaphor to make sense of its impossibility.
But, no. That doesn’t sound right.
What was Psyche sorting through? Seeds instead of grains, maybe? And looking for what?
I Google it. It was a pile of barley, seeds, peas, lentils, and beans, I read. Each had to be sorted into separate piles before the night’s end. Psyche was not looking for anything. That was a different story, the two somehow merged in my mind.
In the version of Psyche’s labour that came up in my search, that includes a translated section of Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, Venus is said to have, “dashed [Psyche’s] head upon the ground.”
And I relate more deeply to the story – a description now also of the impossibility of all tasks after a blow.
I often think about how a concussion is forceful, sonic. How it moves through a life like a wave. I am still living through my long seed sorting night, still sitting in the echoes of its concussive notes.
But, if I remember the story right, Psyche got help with her sorting from ants? I scroll down.
Oh, I think excitedly, Psyche’s story is a great example of disabled interdependence. I make a mental note to use this in an essay someday. I think about writing it down in a notebook but I don’t remember where I left mine so I don’t. I realize that I will likely forget this idea in a couple of minutes but I hope that I will remember it again later.
I have come to accept my ideas being like that sometimes -- fish that ripple the surface of the water only to sink down and never be seen again. The poetry of them only for my own fleeting benefit.
Alice is one of my ants, I think. And… I realize I still haven’t read her text.
“Want to talk and clean tonight?” she asked.
I want to type back yes but my ex-partner might be stopping by later with the new computer he set up for me. I was once an ant to him, helping him survive a three-year period where he woke up every day wanting to die by supporting him both financially and emotionally.
He is an ant for me now.
There are circularities to care work. Circularities too within those circularities.
We have both benefited from helping each other even in the moment of that helping -- some of the time supposedly helping spent laughing. We recently revisited the jokes I used to make right after my injury, most of which I can’t follow anymore. I can’t understand why I found them so funny. Why I once almost peed my pants laughing while my ex drove me home after a neuro-vestibular physio appointment because I thought my joke was hilarious and that he was grumpily refusing to laugh at it. We ended up both laughing until we cried at how ridiculous it all was.
And at how beautiful.
A brain injured woman making terrible jokes while being driven across the city by the formerly deeply suicidal man who wouldn’t be there if she hadn’t cared for him. There was an improbable symmetry to all that.  It held the poetry of the way we never sense the future mirrors of our moments while living them.
I was originally reminded of my (now) incomprehensible jokes after a friend had brain surgery in the fall and blurted out a secret of mine to two people I didn’t know well. I laughed with her through the embarrassment until we too started crying.
I saw, in her, my own past inside out. I often climbed into it again during her recovery and felt what it was like to inhabit. The way she slowly slurred her words out. The way she hadn’t known it wasn’t something to share. I could feel her confusion, knew its interior architecture. I was brought back to my former body, to days that moved slowly and required me to lie flat for most of them, physically unable to move for half an hour after something as simple as a shower. My day a series of tiny actions and then their recoveries. Unable, often, to stretch my mind more than an inch in front of me.
Cognitive deficiencies are my version of the Proustian madeleine.
(My friend’s cognitive deficiencies displaced me in time. But I am displacing you in time in this essay in another way. I am not doing the work of straightening out the way I experience time, unweaving the threads of my embodiment to serve it to you in a taut linear form like a gift no one asked for but everyone always seems to give. This is how my brain works now. Here are its meanders and flows. Here are its tempos – the whole thing like the kind of jazz that refuses to follow rules).
This essay that I was writing, that I started, that I should now return to is an essay that is three months past due. There are five other essays half-done in my drafts folder that my brain keeps trying and failing to trace the threads through, partly because the ideas are unwieldy or connected to trauma.
I put my phone down and return to the Word document, chastened to see only the words, “I am.” I try to stop myself from going off on another tangent wondering what the Cartesian and later theories of mind and consciousness missed.
(I just started reading a book called Unraveling: Remaking Personhood in a Neurodiverse Age by Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer, which is about how our ideas of personhood, subjectivity, and consciousness are ableist in how they have been too centered on the individual brain and therefore obscure the relationships bodies have with other bodies, other parts of the body, and the worlds they inhabit by looking at the memoirs of neurodiverse people. Based in a cybernetics theory of facilitated and networked connection, it is a radical rethinking of identity and bioethics that examines the ways in which so much of life and communication and personhood are interdependent and therefore necessitate a redefinition of the human).
I pick up my phone again and check Twitter to remind myself what Wolf-Meyer’s background is. His bio says he is an anthropologist interested in the biology of everyday life. I think about how my use of Twitter has a biology. The ways that technology interacts with mind, creating new pathways, breeding communities, how it constructs us. I will have a thought now that is in the shape of a tweet. I have also made friends on Twitter, even dated people I met online – my body likely still somewhere holding a cell strand of the bacteria one of them passed to me when we kissed.
I like a tweet by a friend before I close the app.
But where was I?
I was thinking about my ex and my computer.
The gift he wanted to give me was the assumption of the weight of the decisions around buying a computer.
(What screen is best for a visual disability? A matte screen. What kind of filters should I use? A program called Iris. Should I try an e-Ink monitor again? Has the ghosting rate improved? Yes. And which manufacture for each? And which price point? And should I get a service plan? And what kinds of external mice might help? So many decisions. So much research. The answers to it changing every month as new products come on the market and hold the promise for me of less pain, more accessibility. A better life with chemistry… and physics and engineering. The whole task a mountain of seeds I would never have been able to sort. Had not been able to sort through for a year as I used a computer that barely worked and kept breaking).
He offered too to set up my computer so that everything was as easy and seamless as possible to use because I told him that I experience what I call ‘cognitive drag.’
It is a term that took me four years to settle on -- a steady grasping for the right metaphor that was always just out of reach.
I like the aerodynamics of it, the way it imagines thought traversing time and space as though on a flight path. 
So much of my life is crashing. So much of my life is being undone by the wrong movements, the air rushing at me the wrong way. So much of my life is starting a thing and losing my place and then stumbling upon it hours later, having forgotten it entirely.
I have lost the persistence of my thoughts, their stickiness. They are like off-brand post-it notes found lying under couches when I vacuum, disconnected from the thing they were supposed to remain stuck to.
Out of context.
Or perhaps the better metaphor is that everything feels weightless. It is as though I exist with my thoughts gathered around me in a zero gravity environment and if I don’t keep everything strapped down things are liable to fly off. There is an absurdity (and horror) to imagining myself floating through space, desperate to grab hold of the knowledge of the thing that I’m supposed to do next, or the plans I have for later that night -- both of which are always just slightly out of reach and in opposite directions.
(I have mixed my metaphors above, you might say. As though this essay is one that will follow any of the dictates given out in MFA programs around ‘good writing.’ I do not see examples of how my brain works or my days move in ‘good writing.’ What bodies does that ‘good writing’ come from? What kinds of cognition? And what else does this ‘good writing’ hide from us, that is much more or much less important than the fact of my and others existence and the ways in which we move through the world? What if metaphors are best when they have textures? What if we hold meaning in impure layers, the same way that we hold memories of a place we often visit, different moments of our past sedimented on the surface of the scene? And what if we hold our stories in the form of pasts that are unstable and shifting beneath presents that seem to teeter and multiply, too? What if the refusal to fix a thing as just one thing is a Crip aesthetic? What if the refusal to do so were political? Why do we crave meaning that exists only in one valence? What kind of worldview is that aesthetics the logical outcome of? And more importantly, what kind of world does that logic help build? Why would we ever believe the absurdity that all bodies would move through the world the way those who originally formed the shape of the realist novel would? Why do we always forget time, forget scale, forget the human and non-human worlds that exist both within and around us, forget that even in a moment when we are lying down there are still bacteria living out their life cycles in our intestines? That we are breathing and taking whole worlds in and then exhaling entire universes of life in our wasted breath? That we are constantly moving closer to death, and illness, and disability, our telomeres shortening in each cellular reproduction and that all of that is happening, has always happened, unnarrated. Why do we so often lose the plot of the infinite levels of plot occurring around us and within all the potential embodiments of our futurity at any one time? And why do we write so many novels still about individuals that thinkers like Wolf-Meyer posit no longer exist, and never existed? And what is lost when we leave so much outside the scope of fiction? How do such things orient us towards each other and the world in false ways? How do we measure the impact of all that? For to leave out those layers is to leave out all the many interdependencies, multiplicities, and complex intimacies we build our lives on. It is to privilege instead the separate, individual human who is as much of a fiction as a cartoon character, but whom we have created entire societies in the name of. What if we saw things like Picasso did in his cubism period, as possessing more dimensions than previously had been painted? What if we tried, like he did, to capture more of that than we had before but in metaphor and in narrative? I know you might be thinking that this parentheses is all too much telling rather than showing. Perhaps this is a hint for you of the focus and form of my future work, or, really, work that I have actually drafted before this piece but which might not come out for years, the temporalities of writing never linear. What if this is me having a conversation within my works? Telling here to show there, showing there to tell here? Throwing out the hierarchy of showing and telling entirely like it were a banana gone black on the counter and covered in flies? What if one’s works are also interdependent – sharing ecologies of thinking, overlapping or else trying to capture a thing slightly differently like a musician does in playing a piece over and over, each iteration of it just an interpretation?).
But back to the computer.
That thing. That hope. For when my ex said he would do all the research, I was dreaming of deliverance, some way to spend my days extracting less pain from my body just by being.
If anyone knew how to help me, it would be him, I thought.
My ex is a graphic designer. His work life has always been an exercise in finding the easiest way to do things on a computer, digital art the condensation of a thousand commands and gestures, its brushwork the tracing of a million small cognitive acts.
My life for the last four years has been schemes like these.
An endless imaginary of different ways my brain might move straighter, with cleaner angles. Of planners and systems as cognitive braces. Of strategies and to do lists as assistive devices to prevent log jams or ensure I don’t get diverted into a tidepool that sits stagnant rather than flows.
Some have worked.
Some have not.
Some both work and don’t work at different points on the same day.
My life is a constant experiment conducted by someone unable to always remember what strategies worked last week. Or an hour ago.
I have done what I said I would not do and gone on another tangent.
I return to the screen. Add a few more words out of guilt: “I am trying to write an essay about…” the screen now reads.
But then I stop again. There is a way that I feel like a failure because so much of my life is the trying to and not the doing.
We are continually asked to move through this life in straight lines and simple logistics.
Endless successions of tasks, completed without pause. And yet it seems unnatural – conversations never flowing that way either – always meandering into offshoots before finding their way back – often the journey through the underbrush more generative than the path (I think here of Sara Ahmed and her satirical photographs of paths in her book What’s the Use of Use [or were those pictures in The Pursuit of Happiness? I am unsure -- so I have breached my own parentheses to point this out. My brain is an unreliable narrator, often remembering things slightly to the left of where they happened. Do not trust it. Check both books!]. In the book, Ahmed talked about the violence of well-worn paths and how they forced you to live the same way others had, shaped your life’s arc to fit theirs. Created a romance of paths, tried to convince you that you liked them, even violently forced you down them).
As I think about the violence of straight lines, I think, as I almost always do, about the story I often use to talk about the ways society either stretches us or cuts off parts of us in order to make us fit into some artificial ideal form.
The story with the bed.
What is the name of the mythological character in that story?
My Shakespeare teacher first told it to me in spring 2006 as we sat in class with the window open and the breeze blowing in on a slightly too chilly spring day.
But those details won’t help me.
How can I access the knowing of this sideways? I wonder.
So much of my brain’s work these days is figuring out workarounds to pinpoint the things that go missing. I am Theseus in the labyrinth with no string, my thoughts always just a succession of dead ends. I so often find myself in the basement or the attic of the things that I know, unable to enter the main rooms where they dwell.
It is as though I am the ghost of my own knowing, haunting myself.
It is strange that we think we know things less when we cannot name them, as though there aren’t more ways to know a thing than to give voice to its arbitrary nomenclature.
The other day I described an author whose name had ‘gone missing’ as the prominent theorist who the anthropologist Zoe Todd critiqued in her well-known paper about how he was using Indigenous knowledge without citation in some of his works. When that didn’t elicit recognition, I tried again. The person who Andreas Malm wrote Progress of the Storm seemingly to dunk on, and (since the friend hadn’t yet read that Malm) who wrote about how we have never been modern.
(The lips of the person I was talking to finally formed the gift of his name… Bruno Latour). 
Thinking is a game of puzzles for those with cognitive issues – our brains cross-trainers teasing things out, constructing the circuitries of complicated and always shifting connections. Such work cultivates a peculiar but delicious dexterity. Habits of thought that multiply ways to hold things. Odd but sometimes beautiful geometries. The settling of things next to each other that don’t usually touch.
“The way you perceive things,” a friend recently told me. “The way you engage with the world -- it’s beautiful.”
It is a gift that comes from rebuilding the structure of a thought just to be able to retrieve it and then a recognition – oh. That is interesting. That is, potentially, something to share. 
That was the name of the character in the myth.
The Procrustean bed.
I wonder how much of our expectation about our capacity to move from one moment neatly into the next comes from how conventional narratives make us believe that it is possible. Even before my injury, I never related to the thought patterns of characters in realist fiction.
How is the very form of realist fiction neurotypical?
How would you even gesture towards time blindness in fiction?
How do you show the way time lags and rushes?
How do you trace the streams of life that your consciousness unravels or discards?
How do you chart the plot of the repeated dissolutions and intensities of your mind?
How do you texture a moment with the experience of intermittent cognitive capacity?
How do you show a character who is fine one second, who is carrying on a normal conversation and then show how the moment slowly comes apart at the seams from the inside – while the conversation continues with little outward sign that something is wrong?
You could recount that from the outside with a crease on the protagonist’s forehead to show her smothered distress – but would it do? Is that all we want, as disabled people? To have the fundamentals of our lives represented in a frown?
I think now, of my friend Erin (who I just realized called me yesterday and I forgot to call her back) and I often talk about the need for critical reimaginings about what disabled aesthetics and form could be. So much of academic work is focused on analyzing what has been done, already.
But what if we need to turn the directionality of criticism around because disability has so rarely been allowed to shape its own form in fiction? What if we need to spend our energy tracing the future? Analyzing the not yet?
That is craft theory. A naming of a thing to call it into being. A kind of summoning.
I tell Erin often that I want disabled people to take the novel and break its spine like a paperback that’s been read too many times.
How much disability can the novel hold?
I want to find out.
Could we disable the novel from disabling us by rewriting it so that it can better hold our embodiments? So that we can see ourselves in its forms? Or so that others can see those embodiments as just part of human variation rather than a departure from the normal?
Can we show how conventional literary form often presents cognition in a normate form?  And ask why these ableist technologies of power work so well? How they shape and reshape lives – like braces reshape spines – both functioning as ‘correctives’ to biology.
(I should write an essay someday about the novel as a parallel of the Foucauldian clinic – conventional literary form a kind of gaze, a particularly ableist way of thinking about identity and the world).
But before I can sketch that essay out, my thoughts return back to Procrustes.
The violence of the act means that most people will not survive the bed. I wonder if life is just constantly not measuring up in different ways and slowly having more pieces of you lobbed off or stretched out so that you end up just a specter of the person you started out as.
I have used that word too much since reading Derrida’s Specters of Marx earlier this month. I was supposed to message my friend Matthew last week since we were going to organize a chat where we compared Derrida’s hauntology to Mark Fisher’s.
(I just learned this week that the work that Mark Fisher left unfinished when he killed himself was a book called Acid Communism that talked about how the future has been cancelled because we aren’t able to imagine anything outside the capitalist present and I want desperately to read it but can’t remember if I added it to my To Read list to make sure that I’ll remember to track it down later).
Is this essay a kind of capitalist realism?
I’ve been thinking lately about Mark Fisher’s famous book by the same name. What does one call my attempts at reforming my cognition in the shape of capitalism?
Is it easier to imagine the end of the world than a mode of production that isn’t ableist?
So much of my life is about trying to figure out how to move within capitalism’s straight lines so that they don’t cull me.
So much of my vitality and that of my disabled friends is spent fighting ways of being that feel natural so that we can hurt ourselves and force ourselves to exhaustion. Coaxing labor and progress from bodies that just want to move how they move. There is so little sense to why we do not organize the living of life differently – people long ago choosing the form of labour for us and us now moving within the scope of those only slightly modified forms. Procrustean beds made for bodies that they didn’t know intimately. For bodies that weren’t yet born. For bodies that the makers of them didn’t see as people.
Beds meant purposely to be a bad fit.
I have started to count the dollars I earn in pain experienced – it is a complex calculus or algebra (I will have to ask a scientist friend which mathematical metaphor is best here, I no longer know).
My life is not always the heat of pain, not always the plot of it, but its slow boil. The obliteration of brain fog almost worse than pain’s intensities. It is as though I disappear during the days and then forget to go looking for myself.
I am the bend and warp of myself around a point that I keep forgetting and then remembering and then forgetting again. I oscillate towards things but never arrive. I get lost along trails that trail off. I am a train that derails. I am a stream that disappears underground. I am the artillery that never arrives. The Chekhov’s gun that doesn’t go off.
Yet, presently, I return to the page. I finish the sentence.
“I am trying to write an essay about writing with brain fog,” I write and triumphantly bang on the period.
I realize as I type that that I never responded to Alice, who is sitting in Melbourne likely wondering if I will text her back.
Will she clean without me? Will I do it without her? Does it matter in the grand scheme of all that is happening in the world if I accumulate trash and papers and she cannot let go of things she does not need?
It both does and does not.
I pick up my phone to text her and in the moment between reaching for it and the holding of it, I forget what I was doing.
There is something I have to do but I cannot remember.
Another Forgotten Thing.
I check Twitter again.
I put my phone down and reread the Word document. “I am trying to write an essay about writing with brain fog,” it says.
But I already wrote that essay.
And this is it.
 To properly write an essay about brain fog, I decided that I should only write, rewrite, and edit this essay while brain fogged. I give you, in this work, the materialization of a symptom. I give you the bits and scraps of days when reality was off, when thoughts moved in odd directions, when things came and went in my head without announcing themselves. This is an essay but it is also performance art. All writing is embodied but we too often make a fetish of the words to hide the labour of it. Poof. The ‘writing body’ disappears into the ether, becomes an abstraction. When it is words that actually do abstraction’s work. Please keep my brain fogged body in your mind as you read this. Feel the click of my fingers over each key of each letter of each word. Hear me breathe in and out in the pauses and the spaces between them. Trace all the conversations both on and off the page (with books and with friends) that helped me write this, too. Consider all the times I stopped to grab a snack, go to the washroom, text a friend, tweet. All the times my mind got distracted from the task at hand. The days I wrote this. The days that I was too fatigued to write this. Do you have an idea of me fixed in your head, now? Then go ahead, you can begin.
 But, dear Reader, you might now be wondering if I am being meta and talking about this essay or if this anecdote will be used in another essay? I cannot answer that question. I would like to use it again, but I likely won’t remember to.
 “Hi how are you? I was wondering if you had. Yes. I was He. Have you an okay Hi. How are you doing?Hi How are you doing? How are you doing do.” My ex-partner came by the evening that I was writing the first draft of this piece and opened this document to show me how to use the voice to text feature on my new computer. “This is the essay that I’m writing where I mention how you’ve been helping me,” I told him as we both looked at this section of the document. And he said that it was nice that I was writing about that but told me to try the voice feature. It wasn’t working consistently and he tried it too and then gave it back to me – so the quoted section above is a mix of our voices and words. I’m not sure which words belong to who anymore. When I found it while editing the piece, having forgotten about it, I knew immediately that I wanted to keep it in this piece. To make concrete that moment of care – to show too the way that care and technology collapses the boundaries we construct between people as individuals, and connects them differently. Interweaves their stories.
 I will not tell you what it is, but it is something about my body that I once tweeted about while deeply brain fogged and might one day write an essay about.
 As I was taking a break from editing this piece, I stumbled upon a tweet by writer Geoffrey D. Morrison that talked about how “the ‘train of thought’ was a metaphor for consciousness before the steam train itself existed. They had baggage trains [and]… trains of artillery.” And it made me think about the way we often conceive of consciousness as a form of logistics and a technology of travel. A getting from one place to another through careful plotting. And yet, how rarely do we arrive at the destination of a thought, intact. How rarely do we get, in real life, to the point that the sharp plots of our novels move towards? How often does the detour become the point? Or seem to be the point then trail off? How much of consciousness and life is just diffuse and directionless – always ready with a Bartlebian rejoinder that it ‘prefers not to’ whenever you try to make it cohere. If the stream of my consciousness was organizing a war, the artillery would arrive two months late at the wrong location, disassembled, and missing the one part that would allow it to fire. Which would be, I would like to point out, a much better metaphor to encompass life and thought and time and travel all.
 This is not exactly what Barthes meant by the ‘death of the author,’ but the interdependencies of disability pluralize authorship in ways that require us to consider whether authors (and people in general) have ever been individuals. I think suddenly as I write this that I should text my friend Erin to jokingly tell her that if we co-write a book about Crip form, like we have been talking about, we should call it We Have Never Been Individuals.
 My inability to think in a straight line is not a tragedy but it is also not the superpower some people want me to say it is so that I can fit better within an inspirational disability plot, or a story of disability compensation. It just is.
 In Greek mythology, Procrustes was a bandit who lived in Erineaus who would invite travelers to spend the night in his iron bed. If they were too tall for the bed, he would cut parts of them off. If they were too short, he would stretch their limbs out until they fit.
 Would that be classified as body horror? It should be.
 Rosemarie Garland-Thomson defines the normate as the fantasy of the perfect body that is healthy, beautiful and functioning – but which is an ideal form that also does not exist. No one embodies the normate. It is, when it comes down to it, just a story we tell about bodies.
 Or Google it to see if someone has already written it.
The views expressed by Open Book columnists are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.
A.H. Reaume is a Vancouver-based fiction writer who reads too much and is currently in too many book clubs (four in total). Reaume has a background in feminist activism and an M.A. in Canadian Literature from UBC. She's been published in the Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, USAToday.com, and Time.com and is currently trying to finish her first novel.