Another great writer who went blind later in his life was Jorge Luis Borges. I love the passage in his short story “The Other” when the older Borges explains what it is like to go blind to his younger counterpart:
“When you reach my age, you’ll have almost totally lost your eye-sight. You’ll be able to see the color yellow, and light and shadow. But don’t worry. Gradual blindness is not tragic. It’s like the slowly growing darkness of a summer evening.”
That always resonates with me as a beautiful metaphor for losing one’s eyesight - something that people usually think of as anything but beautiful. I don’t know much about how Borges managed his reading and writing as he lost his eyesight, but he did have people who would assist him, including his mother who lived to be 99. It sounded to me like he would dictate what he wanted to write and manage to continue his literary work in this fashion. If anyone out there reading this has more to input about Joyce or Borges' writing habits, I'd appreciate the input!
I'll be back on June 5th with the final entry in this series.
P.S. In case you didn't hear about it, James Joyce was in the news recently in a story involving a synthetic cell's DNA and copyright law: "James Joyce's Words Come to Life and are Promptly Desecrated."