Floyd Skloot, American Poet ( - )

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Dementia is, after all, a symptom of organic brain damage. It is a condition, a disorder of the central nervous system, brought about in my case by a viral assault on brain tissue. When the assault wiped out certain intellectual processes, it also affected emotional processes.~Floyd Skloot

Brain Intellectual

I became demented overnight. Sudden onset is one factor that distinguishes my form of dementia from the more common form associated with Alzheimer's disease.~Floyd Skloot

Dementia Alzheimer Common

When memories fade, can one ever really return home?~Floyd Skloot

Home Memories Fade

I've forgotten what it's like to remember. I've lost the mindless confidence that a moment, an idea, a thought will be there for me later, the bravado of breezing through experience in the certainty that it will become part of my self, part of my story.~Floyd Skloot

Experience Confidence Self

At 93, so deep in dementia that she didn't remember any details of her life, my mother somehow still knew songs.~Floyd Skloot

Mother Life Deep

My wife is a painter, musician, and fiber artist. We married in 1993, and as she worked, I found that my reading about art was helping me understand what she was doing, just as seeing her work gave me a language with which to speak of art.~Floyd Skloot

Work Wife Art

Dementia resembles delirium in the same way an ultra-marathon resembles a dash across the street. Same basic components, vastly different scale. If you've run delirium's course once or twice in your life, try to imagine a version that never ends.~Floyd Skloot

Life You Dementia

I feel that I'm a poet first. Not only was poetry the first genre in which I wrote, it's the genre that serves as the basis for my practice as a writer.~Floyd Skloot

Poetry Practice Feel

I think one of the primary themes in my work is the paradox of memory, at once fundamental to our sense of who we are and yet elusive, ever-changing, fragmentary. One way to look at this is to say that, therefore, we ourselves are elusive, ever-changing and fragmentary to ourselves.~Floyd Skloot

Work Memory Look

Neurologists have a host of clinical tests that let them observe what a brain-damaged patient can and cannot do.~Floyd Skloot

Patient Tests Observe

A new laboratory technique, positron emission tomography, uses radioactively labeled oxygen or glucose that essentially lights up specific and different areas of the brain being activated when a person speaks words or sees words or hears words, revealing the organic location for areas of behavioral malfunction.~Floyd Skloot

Words Brain New

I used to be able to think. My brain's circuits were all connected, and I had spark, a quickness of mind that let me function well in the world.~Floyd Skloot

World Brain Mind

My cerebral cortex, the gray matter that MIT neuroscientist Steven Pinker likens to 'a large sheet of two-dimensional tissue that has been wadded up to fit inside the spherical skull,' is riddled instead of whole.~Floyd Skloot

Matter Up Skull

In the spring of 1993, I married Beverly and moved to the woods. This is something I could never have imagined myself doing.~Floyd Skloot

Myself Spring Doing

Through his long, productive career, Paul Theroux has mixed nonfiction books about exotic travel with novels set in exotic places. Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Honduras - he lives in and writes about places most of us never see.~Floyd Skloot

Travel Career Long

Music seems hard-wired into our very being. It moves us, stirs us to action, sets us in motion, sticks in our memories and minds.~Floyd Skloot

Music Memories Action

Most people imagine music playing in their heads, but some hallucinate music; some cannot sleep because of the soundtrack in their mind.~Floyd Skloot

Music Sleep People

Irish novelist John Banville has a creepy, introverted imagination.~Floyd Skloot

Imagination Irish Creepy

In 1964, at the age of 39, Flannery O'Connor died from complications of lupus. She had lived with this autoimmune disease for 14 years, primarily confined to her mother's farm, Andalusia, in Milledgeville, Ga.~Floyd Skloot

Mother Age She

For those who turn to literary biography for salacious details, 'Flannery' will disappoint. It is the biography of someone who had very little chance to live in the conventional sense, to experience events.~Floyd Skloot

Experience Chance Details

Flannery O'Connor's brief life and slim output were nonetheless marked by piercing powers of observation.~Floyd Skloot

Life Observation Piercing

When Beverly and I got together in 1992, and I moved to be with her in the little round house she'd built in the middle of 20 acres of woods near Amity, I found myself immersed in a natural setting that I responded to with all my being.~Floyd Skloot

Myself Together Woods

Though my poems are about evenly split between traditionally formal work that uses rhyme and meter and classical structure, and work that is freer, I feel that the music of language remains at the core of it all. Sound, rhythm, repetition, compression - these elements of my poetry are also elements of my prose.~Floyd Skloot

Work Music Poetry

I'm a writer who simply can't know what I'm writing about until the writing lets me discover it. In a sense, my writing process embraces the gapped nature of my memory process, leaping across spaces that represent all I've lost and establishing fresh patterns within all that remains.~Floyd Skloot

Nature Memory Writing

In question-and-answer sessions after a reading or during an interview, I forget the question if I'm giving too long an answer. And at the end, I can't remember any of the questions. The more anxious I am about remembering, the more likely I am to forget.~Floyd Skloot

End I Am Reading

If I don't write down a thought - or an image or a line of poetry - the instant it comes to mind, it vanishes, which explains why I have pens and notebooks in my pants and coat pockets, the car, the bicycle basket, on one or two desks in every room including bathrooms and the kitchen.~Floyd Skloot

Car Poetry Mind