June 15, 2020

     William Gibson’s play, “The Miracle Worker,” dramatizes the relationship between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. Faced with the challenge to communicate with her deaf, dumb, and blind pupil, Annie struggles to find the key to unlock language for Helen. The climactic moment occurs when water is pumped from a well into Helen’s hands as Annie spells the word water in sign language onto that same hand. A memory from infancy when Helen understood water to be “wa-wa” suddenly springs to her consciousness and the door to communication thrillingly opens for her.

     While thinking about this scene, which was based on a true event, it occurred to me that water serves as a conduit to language in my own life, specifically, novel writing.

     I have found few activities as conducive to reflection and creativity as swimming laps in a pool. While my body is suspended, arms and legs automatically pushing and pulling water, my mind is fre...

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