Do you have 20/20 Vision?

I hope so, but if not, maybe you get by with a little help from your friends, as I do:

Eyeglasses help

                 So does my ophthalmologist

Artist Monet suffered from cataracts in both eyes, but still produced lovely impressionistic paintings. In a letter to his friends, he concentrated on how impaired vision still enabled him to create beauty.


My poor eyesight makes me see everything in a complete fog. It’s very beautiful all the same, and it’s this, which I’d love to have been able to convey.


*  *  *

Poet Lisel Mueller, inspired by Monet, wrote a poem, “Monet Refuses the Operation,” imagining how objects can be enhanced when vision is impaired. She remarks that Parisian streetlights wear halos, glass lamps become angels, and the liminal space between earth and sky merges into blurry beauty, my focus word for 2020.


Right now I’m reading Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list



A blind child, Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up enchanted by a crude radio he’s found. His talent with these crucial instruments will eventually bring Werner to Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.


Novelist Doerr imagines what it’s like to be blind:

Where there should be a wall, her hands find nothing. Where there should be nothing, a table leg gouges her shin. Cars growl in the streets; leaves whisper in the sky; blood rustles through her inner ears.

There are months of bruises and wretchedness: rooms pitching like sailboats, half-open doors, striking Marie-Laure’s face. Her only sanctuary is in bed, the hem of her quilt at her chin. . .


WHY READ Doerr’s book?

  • Short chapters, each 3-4 pages, tops
  • Sighted readers can sense a blind world: “She can hear him smiling.”   73
  • “She thinks she can smell threads of dust cascading from the ceiling.”  117
  • She can hear snowflakes tick and patter through the trees.”   65
  • Magical metaphors: “And yet everything radiates tension, as if the city had been built upon the skin of a balloon and someone is inflating it toward the breaking point.” 110


Author Doerr’s novel is spellbinding, but he doesn’t need another review. After all, he has 34.600+ already. Unbelievable!


I am thankful for many good reviews so far, but I’m working toward the magical number, 50. If you’ve already posted a review of Mennonite Daughter, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! If not, here is the LINK.



BONUS! Matthew Whitaker, the 18-year-old jazz pianist, has been showcased on CBS/60 Minutes. Born at one pound, eleven ounces, he suffered from retinopathy, which stole his sight. A neuroscientist who’s studied his brain noted that Matthew’s visual cortex goes into overdrive when he plays music.

CBS News Matthew Whitaker

Did you get that? The visual (not auditory) portion of his brain lights up when he creates music. A miracle of accommodation!


BEAUTY is my focus word for 2020. Where do you find beauty?

If your sight, hearing, or another sense is lost or impaired, how have you compensated?

In the midst of global panic, what are you thankful for today?