Monday, November 20, 2017

Elizabeth L Silver's "The Tincture of Time"

Elizabeth L Silver is the author of the memoir, The Tincture of Time: A Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty, and the critically acclaimed novel, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to The Tincture of Time and reported the following:
From page 99:
I’m in the waiting room of the first neurosurgeon’s office about to find out the results from Abby’s first outpatient MRI. There is a large screen showcasing an aquarium scene, stretching from floor to ceiling. We get free water with the logo of the office printed on the bottles.

It is hours after Abby has awakened from anesthesia. She is cranky but not terribly so. I wait for an extra hour. It’s OK. These are neurosurgeons. Pediatric neurosurgeons. Nothing I do will ever be as important—not in writing or in law. I wonder if other doctors feel impotent comparatively. Still, I know that this pediatric neurosurgeon is just a person. He is not a God. He’s a meticulously well-trained technician, and yet I wait for his answers the way a penitent stands outside a confessional hoping for absolution.

While I wait, the termites of guilt return. Hospitals are infested with them, as are waiting rooms.
Page 99 represents the theoretical core of the book, in that it is a book about waiting, about wondering what the future may hold, and learning how to navigate that unknown terrain – specially with respect to medical crises. This page opens on a section exploring waiting rooms in hospitals, doctor offices, therapists’ offices, and any place where life is forced to the periphery for a moment. It is the place of temporariness, it is a place filled with anxiety and possibility. This short excerpt is taken from a hospital waiting room, where we await results from a brain MRI for our infant daughter and must speak with a pediatric neurosurgeon about the results as soon as we are called back from our soft chairs in the waiting room. Everything in our lives will lead up to the short conversation we know we will have when called back, but in that moment in the waiting room, life and its mysteries can take any form it likes. There are no answers yet, and it is this place of emotional stasis that intrigued me as a writer, a person, a parent. What does it mean to wait – to be forced to wait or to embrace the waiting? In so many ways, this makes us human.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth L. Silver's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.

My Book, The Movie: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.

--Marshal Zeringue