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Beautiful Words and Caregiving

Hundreds of words and images incessantly swirled through my mind all night long. “Sleep” was not among them in either category.

Somewhere in the swirling I was reminded of the story of Christopher Nolan, an English writer who won several awards for his poetry and autobiography. He also authored a novel.

His was a mind overflowing with words, words trapped in a body that did not allow him to speak. His life was lived strapped in a wheelchair, constantly contorting and with no control over the movements of his head. Communication until he was 11 years old was completely through the blinking of his eyes.

No one could have possibly suspected until then that since the age of 3 Christopher Nolan had been composing prose and poetry in a brilliant mind that was free in a way only he could know. It was a world of magical constructions with no outlet. In a way I cannot even begin to imagine, Christopher’s brain possessed an extraordinary filing capacity for all he was writing during the years of total silence.

When Christopher was 11, and through a magnificent gift of her caregiving, his mother held his head steady to enable him to type with a stick strapped to his forehead, often taking up to 15 minutes to type one word… word after word after word. Christopher described being able to type as a “dam burst of dreams.”

His vocabulary and exceptional literary talent were finally freed for the world to see. I marvel at the untold number of hours his mother must have given in order for his beautiful words to be fully and finally spoken.

I have read this story dozens of times and shared it over and over again. I am moved more each time I read it. I do not ever get used to it.

As a thirty-day blogging challenge begins I want to hold Christopher Nolan’s words in my soul both as inspiration for my writing and a reminder of what I receive through the gifts of the words of others, caregiving in their own way, as they beautifully and stirringly enter my being.

Christopher wrote: “My mind is just like a spin dryer at full speed. My thoughts fly around my skull, while millions of beautiful words cascade down into my lap. Images gunfire across my consciousness and, while trying to discipline them, I jump in awe of the soul-filled beauty of the mind’s expanse.”

I am grateful for beautiful words.

I am grateful for the example of Christopher’s mother as a magnificent caregiver and the wonder she must have felt as she witnessed the cascading of his words.

I am grateful that he came into my mind in dark of night and that I was awake to receive his gift once again.

I am grateful for the gift of words to give and to receive… immensely grateful.



  1. carole rex on November 17, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Your beautiful, soulful words and thoughts DESERVE to be immortalized in a book, Dawn!

    • Dawn Sully Pile on November 17, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you, Carole. That means a lot to me. I will collect what I have and perhaps the book will come to life someday!

  2. Peter Cobb on November 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Well, this surely and truly starts my Thanksgiving. Thank you!

    • Dawn Sully Pile on November 18, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Thank you, Peter. I am glad to get the holiday started for you!

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