‘When I first met concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins, after three and a half years of suffering from post-concussive syndrome, he said, “If you remember only one thing from this meeting, remember this: run towards the danger.” In order for my brain to recover from traumatic injury, I had to retrain it to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered my symptoms. This was a paradigm shift for me…’ Sarah Polley
I have been a fan of Sarah Polley ever since she starred in “Road to Avonlea”. Although I knew that being a child actor has its challenges, I was saddened to read about the trauma that Polley experienced being a child actor in “Road to Avonlea”, as well as “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen”, and a theatre production of “Alice in Wonderland”.
Polley’s writing is raw and real as she writes a series of essays not only about her time as a child actor, but also about a high risk pregnancy, why she didn’t testify at Jian Ghomeshi’s trial—“Most of the lawyers I have spoken with insist that nothing should change in the way that sexual assault cases are tried…but that they would…never advise a woman they loved to come forward in a sexual assault case”—and her recovery from a concussion, which inspired the title.
Each essay is powerful on its own. Taken as a whole the collection, though dealing with some very difficult topics, is rewarding to read.
Sometimes I felt Polley was writing my own story, as someone who lost her mother young to cancer, or as someone who suffers from anxiety. For example, Polley writes, “I cannot, sitting here, in my forty-one-year-old body and brain, remember what it felt like to be certain that expressing a fear would make it worse, that the humiliation of people knowing that I had a fear could be worse than the agony of living with it alone and unexpressed.” (Although, I sometimes still have trouble with that today.)
Other times my own paradigm was shifted. Polley writes about her concussion treatment, “We are questioning some of the basic tenets of ‘wellness’ wisdom we have previously taken to heart, which implores us to take it easy and be gentle and accept our limits without specifying what limits are acceptable.” Hmmm…Acceptable limits?
I continue to follow Polley’s career and am glad that she keeps breaking ground. Most recently Polley won an Oscar for “Best Adapted Screenplay” for “Women Talking”. Admittedly I could not finish reading the book, written by Miriam Toews, but I hope to catch the movie despite its heart wrenching subject matter.
“Run Towards the Danger”—my sixth book for the 2023 Nonfiction Reader Challenge— is hard to categorize. It was published in 2022, so it doesn’t quite make the 2023 list, and is not meant to be a memoir. The book touches on the subjects of the arts, relationships, and health.
Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler