The Reason I Jump

Novelist David Mitchell

Ο συγγραφέας Ντέιβιντ Μίτσελ έγραψε ένα εξαιρετικό κείμενο στην Γκάρντιαν εξηγώντας πώς είναι η ζωή με ένα αυτιστικό παιδί  — αφορμή, η κυκλοφορία στην αγγλική γλώσσα του The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism του Ναόκι Χιγκασίντα, ενός αυτιστικού έφηβου (το έγραψε στα δεκατρία του).  Ο Μίτσελ και η γυναίκα του, Κέικο Γιοσίντα, διάβασαν το βιβλίο προσπαθώντας να κατανοήσουν τον γιο τους και στη συνέχεια το μετέφρασαν για να βοηθήσουν κι άλλους γονείς.

The Reason I Jump

Απόσπασμα από το βιβλίο:

Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?

People often tell me that when I’m talking to myself my voice is really loud, even though my voice at other times is way too soft. This is one of those things I can’t control. It really gets me down.

When I’m talking in a weird voice, I’m not doing it on purpose. Sure, there are times when I find the sound of my own voice comforting, when I’ll use familiar words or easy-to-say phrases. But the voice I can’t control is different. This one blurts out, not because I want it to: it’s more like a reflex. When my weird voice gets triggered, it’s almost impossible to hold it back — if I try, it hurts, almost as if I’m strangling my own throat.

Why do you ask the same questions over and over?
It’s true, I always ask the same questions. What day is it today?  or  Is it a school day tomorrow? The reason? I very quickly forget what it is I’ve just heard. Inside my head there isn’t such a big difference between what I was told just now and what I heard long ago.

I imagine a normal person’s memory is arranged continuously, like a line. My memory, however, is more like a pool of dots. I’m always «picking up» these dots — by asking my questions — so I can arrive back at the memory that the dots represent.

But there’s another reason for our repeated questioning: it lets us play with words. We aren’t good at conversation, and however hard we try, we’ll never speak as effortlessly as you do. The big exception, however, is words or phrases we’re very familiar with. Repeating these is great fun. It’s like a game of catch. Unlike the words we’re ordered to say, repeating questions we already know the answers to can be a pleasure — it’s playing with sound and rhythm.

Ακούστε αποσπάσματα του βιβλίου και τον ίδιο τον Μίτσελ να μιλάει για το θέμα εδώ (η ηχογράφηση είναι ανεβασμένη σε πέντε μέρη συνολικά).