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vivico1
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Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Hey Robert,
I was being a couch potato today and I had a thought since reading the book that I wanted to ask you if you know. POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING FOR SECOND HALF OF BOOK. I could ask this later but I might forget. Mike had problems with 3D things and sometimes orientation, and as I laid there I wondered...you know how when we lay on our sides, like watching tv, we have done it all our lifes so our mind is used to seeing the images upright as they should be not sideways because we are laying on our sides, do you know what I mean? I was wondering, when Mike would lay on his side, or even lean his head over, did the orientation of what he was looking at still appear upright or did it seem to be on its side since he was. I thought about that because I started using closed captioning one time for the lyrics to songs and words you dont get to hear and got hooked on it and I have one friend who said, I CANT read close captioning on my side! Who reads sideways! Now I dont know anyone else that has that problem, we all see things as still being upright, unless we are totally upside down. Did Mike turning his head and looking at something pose another problem for him? thanks. Vivian
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Librarian
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

[ Edited ]
Robert-----I also have a question for you. Does Mike remember anything at all about how he felt when he first lost his sight at three? The book makes it seem like he continues to do all the things he did when sighted because he doesn't realize that it might be different when he can't see. Also, would Mike May be interested in joining in on this discussion group and also possibly posting thoughts?
Librarian

Message Edited by Librarian on 07-10-2007 11:38 AM
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RobertKurson
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Spoiler warnings!

These are both fantastic questions! As to the first, I never asked Mike about this, and now wish I had, as I read the question with great fascination. I will ask him get back to you all with an answer soon, hopefully. I will tell you that, for example, in the early days of Mike's new vision, he saw a person as literally shrinking when they walked away from him. I'll ask him about orientation - I can't even guess at the answer.

As to the question of how Mike felt about losing his vision when it happened, I remember him telling me that the first time he really even realized that he was blind was when he got on the school bus (many months after the accident that blinded him),sat down the wrong way, and fell to the floor. I think that his very young age was a great help to him in this way, as kids of three seem to accept so much that happens in stride in ways that older people - who have come to expect and rely on a certain world order - do not.


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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Robert, that would be wonderful if you could ask him! I wished I was going to be at your book signings where you are both there,or any actually. I have never been to one or thought about it but I did with this one. But none near Oklahoma City and I am a little homebound. :smileysad:
One day I took off my glasses and sat there looking around, thinking about how Mike sees faces. I have really really bad vision with no glasses and unless your face is right up in mine, i mean really close, all i see is like tan, with two darker areas that I know have to be eyes and thats it, the rest is a blur, just a roundish tan with dark spots. I would be a horrible witness to a crime without my glasses. I could only tell them near sizes, since blurring makes people look fatter too and height and colors and that would be it. I buy high index lenses so i dont look like I am wearing coke bottles LOL, but I thought about how faces, not really making out features, well for him not really understanding expressions might be. One interesting thing that I do like, if there is like a half moon out, i can take off my glasses and its a full moon! No kidding, and the weird thing is, its not just a bigger half moon, its completely round! I wonder if thats because my mind is used to interpreting a moon that size as round and does to make it undestandable to me? I can not figure out why something that with my glasses has a definate straight line down the middle, a half moon, suddenly doesnt blurr to a bigger half circle but a full one!
I got lots of questions as the club progresses but I didnt want to forget that laying down orientation thing because I thought, for us, it could make one a little sick at the stomach, just as we are disturbed by those face pics in the book, HOW TOTALLY interesting, but may not bother him, but may just seem on its side. Interesting about people shrinking. Its fascinating how these things could be very disturbing to us but because he doesnt have all the things we think about them to compare with, they might be bothersome or hard to understand but not in the same way as they would for a sighted person. He is an incredibly inspiring man and your style of writing this book is just fantastic. thanks again.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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RobertKurson
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Okay, here's Mike's answer (via e-mail this morning):

Yes, it is disorienting to look at things on my side. I hadn't thought about this before. I don't automatically see things right side up. Maybe I would with more practice.


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Bill_T
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

How fantastic that we could get a response through you from Mike, Robert! Vivian, thanks for posting that great question. I wouldn't have come up with it myself, but it's perfectly illustrative of the issues he faces.




RobertKurson wrote:
Okay, here's Mike's answer (via e-mail this morning):

Yes, it is disorienting to look at things on my side. I hadn't thought about this before. I don't automatically see things right side up. Maybe I would with more practice.


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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed


RobertKurson wrote:
Okay, here's Mike's answer (via e-mail this morning):

Yes, it is disorienting to look at things on my side. I hadn't thought about this before. I don't automatically see things right side up. Maybe I would with more practice.


That is incredible Robert! thank you so much for asking him. This all fascinates me so much! Since reading this book, I have thought about things with my own vision that I have wondered about before or that have now just come to me as I think about Mike. Wow, wonder if it is something that he can "practice" through! Thanks so much for asking for me :smileyhappy:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, writing style and sharing info

Robert,
I love how you took a real story that could have wound up written strictly like some college textbook and made it into a very enjoyable read, almost a "novel" style. I have two questions about the writing. One, I did have a bit of trouble in the beginning as I was getting to know the characters with the switching back and forth between calling him Mike, and calling him MAY. I didnt know him at all and it took a bit to stop saying, ok who is Mike now, or who is May now in this convo? After awhile I got used to it when I knew his full name very well but that was really one of those...wait, whose talking now? things for me. Do you call him both and switch back and forth and thats why its written that way? lol just wondering.
The other question, you said he was very open and talked very freely about everything but at the same time, the convos or especially his thoughts were so precise, like writing the thoughts of a person in a novel in the third person that I did find myself thinking, how did he know those things to write, especially the thoughts that often were not big decision type thoughts but just little muzements. HOW did you get that stuff and how did he remember little thoughts while doing things, so precisely. It really was like a very very well written novel! But I know its true lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for the author, writing style and sharing info

Great questions Viv and that's so cool that Robert could just email Mike about the vision question. That's the kind of stuff I love about these clubs. You get some behind the scenes information and you realize that authors (and some of their subjects) are real people too.

I have another book question for you Robert. Did you choose the book or did it choose you? What I mean by that is did you hear about Mike May and decided it would make a good story or was Mike or someone else looking for an author to tell his story? I don't recall seeing this information but if I missed it here I'm sorry for the repeat.
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Bill_T
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Re: Questions for the author, writing style and sharing info

I'm not trying to discourage Robert from answering at further length, Wrighty, but her did address this issue you're asking about, at least somewhat, in this message.




Wrighty wrote:
Great questions Viv and that's so cool that Robert could just email Mike about the vision question. That's the kind of stuff I love about these clubs. You get some behind the scenes information and you realize that authors (and some of their subjects) are real people too.

I have another book question for you Robert. Did you choose the book or did it choose you? What I mean by that is did you hear about Mike May and decided it would make a good story or was Mike or someone else looking for an author to tell his story? I don't recall seeing this information but if I missed it here I'm sorry for the repeat.


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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for the author, writing style and sharing info


Bill_T wrote:
I'm not trying to discourage Robert from answering at further length, Wrighty, but her did address this issue you're asking about, at least somewhat, in this message.




Wrighty wrote:
Great questions Viv and that's so cool that Robert could just email Mike about the vision question. That's the kind of stuff I love about these clubs. You get some behind the scenes information and you realize that authors (and some of their subjects) are real people too.

I have another book question for you Robert. Did you choose the book or did it choose you? What I mean by that is did you hear about Mike May and decided it would make a good story or was Mike or someone else looking for an author to tell his story? I don't recall seeing this information but if I missed it here I'm sorry for the repeat.







Thanks Bill. I did read that the first time I came to this discussion. Duh! I guess I was up too late last night. I must have sleep-typing! :smileywink:
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Justine
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Dear Robert,

I'm not sure how this question is going to make me sound , but I figured I'd try it anyway.

Does Mike see himself as a hero? or courageous? I'm not heckling him , or anything . It is that I'm somewhat sure people encountering his story in your book will see him that way , but maybe for Mike, he is just living his life, doing what he wants to do etc.

I say Mike is courageous, for having taken the risks he has, but not necessarily simply because he is blind.

As you may remember, I use a wheelchair due to Spastic Cerebral Palsy, and there have been quite a few people who say I inspire them or that I am courageous or whatever, but for me I am just living my life as best and as fully as I can. I do not see myself as particularly courageous or inspirational. Or some people in my life have said , " you do that (pick anything you want ) so well for someone in a wheelchair", and while I understand that most people mean it well and as a compliment, sometimes it makes me want to scream. Or just recently someone who I met said ," It's such a shame/a pity you're in a wheelchair... You're so pretty" She sounded as if she thought that those who use wheelchairs should be ugly or something, Really, I knew what she meant, and I responded graciously, but sometimes I find myself wondering , " Now how exactly am I supposed to take that???"

People who meet me and then find out I have CP usually respond with, " I'm sorry" and I say, "I'm not". Please tell me Mike has had some similar experiences... does he have something he usually says.

Thanks for your time.
Best,
Justine
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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for the author, writing style and sharing info


vivico1 wrote:
Robert,
I love how you took a real story that could have wound up written strictly like some college textbook and made it into a very enjoyable read, almost a "novel" style. I have two questions about the writing. One, I did have a bit of trouble in the beginning as I was getting to know the characters with the switching back and forth between calling him Mike, and calling him MAY. I didnt know him at all and it took a bit to stop saying, ok who is Mike now, or who is May now in this convo? After awhile I got used to it when I knew his full name very well but that was really one of those...wait, whose talking now? things for me. Do you call him both and switch back and forth and thats why its written that way? lol just wondering.
The other question, you said he was very open and talked very freely about everything but at the same time, the convos or especially his thoughts were so precise, like writing the thoughts of a person in a novel in the third person that I did find myself thinking, how did he know those things to write, especially the thoughts that often were not big decision type thoughts but just little muzements. HOW did you get that stuff and how did he remember little thoughts while doing things, so precisely. It really was like a very very well written novel! But I know its true lol.




Robert,

Since I'm almost finished with this book (and loving it!) I also wanted to know about the writing style. Did Mike and family remember those moments and conversations that well or did they give you some freedom to write it your own way? It is precise, like you were there. You did such a great job putting it all together it just flows and keeps you wanting more. You mentioned you were worried about the scientific parts and how to keep it interesting. You incorporated it into the story so well that I wanted to know more of that also. You did a great job!
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RobertKurson
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Justine,

Mike and I have talked about this issue often. He absolutely does not think of himself as a hero or even as courageous. He does, however, recognize himself as endlessly curious. In that way, Mike really had no choice when it came to the chance to see, even despite the risks. He could not have lived with himself if he'd passed on this very rare chance. And, I know, Mike thinks exactly as you do about the way he lived (and lives) his daily life - that he's just living his life as best and fully as possible. In fact, I'm certain that he'd tell you he couldn't have phrased it any better - even down to the last word.



Justine wrote:
Dear Robert,

I'm not sure how this question is going to make me sound , but I figured I'd try it anyway.

Does Mike see himself as a hero? or courageous? I'm not heckling him , or anything . It is that I'm somewhat sure people encountering his story in your book will see him that way , but maybe for Mike, he is just living his life, doing what he wants to do etc.

I say Mike is courageous, for having taken the risks he has, but not necessarily simply because he is blind.

As you may remember, I use a wheelchair due to Spastic Cerebral Palsy, and there have been quite a few people who say I inspire them or that I am courageous or whatever, but for me I am just living my life as best and as fully as I can. I do not see myself as particularly courageous or inspirational. Or some people in my life have said , " you do that (pick anything you want ) so well for someone in a wheelchair", and while I understand that most people mean it well and as a compliment, sometimes it makes me want to scream. Or just recently someone who I met said ," It's such a shame/a pity you're in a wheelchair... You're so pretty" She sounded as if she thought that those who use wheelchairs should be ugly or something, Really, I knew what she meant, and I responded graciously, but sometimes I find myself wondering , " Now how exactly am I supposed to take that???"

People who meet me and then find out I have CP usually respond with, " I'm sorry" and I say, "I'm not". Please tell me Mike has had some similar experiences... does he have something he usually says.

Thanks for your time.
Best,
Justine



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RobertKurson
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Re: Questions for the author, writing style and sharing info

Wrighty,

These are excellent questions.

First, I agree that it might have been clearer to refer to Mike as "Mike" throughout the book.

Second, with respect to recounting conversations and thoughts, I spent two years with Mike and the people in his life, and pressed them endlessly (and sometimes, I'm afraid, annoyingly) to recall as many conversations, thoughts, remarks, as they possibly could. This sometimes took a lot of prodding, which I was certainly willing to do, but yielded terrific and detailed information. Also, when you spend that kind of time with a subject, you tend to absorb their style of speech, syntax, rhythm, thought patterns, etc., which helps to accurately represent their manner of speech. Also, I would often ask Mike or Jennifer to recount to me, in their words, how they said or thought something - to do the dialogue for me the best they could remember. All this helps to put together the most accurate conversation possible for the book.

Finally, in terms of writing the science, my early instincts were to tell as much as I possibly could. I'd learned so much - all of it fascinating - that I just wanted to share it all. But that would have required hundreds of pages - not conducive to engaging and brisk reading! So I told myself this: include only as much as you'd want to read yourself in a book like this. Those hundreds of pages got trimmed down real fast under that guideline!



Wrighty wrote:

vivico1 wrote:
Robert,
I love how you took a real story that could have wound up written strictly like some college textbook and made it into a very enjoyable read, almost a "novel" style. I have two questions about the writing. One, I did have a bit of trouble in the beginning as I was getting to know the characters with the switching back and forth between calling him Mike, and calling him MAY. I didnt know him at all and it took a bit to stop saying, ok who is Mike now, or who is May now in this convo? After awhile I got used to it when I knew his full name very well but that was really one of those...wait, whose talking now? things for me. Do you call him both and switch back and forth and thats why its written that way? lol just wondering.
The other question, you said he was very open and talked very freely about everything but at the same time, the convos or especially his thoughts were so precise, like writing the thoughts of a person in a novel in the third person that I did find myself thinking, how did he know those things to write, especially the thoughts that often were not big decision type thoughts but just little muzements. HOW did you get that stuff and how did he remember little thoughts while doing things, so precisely. It really was like a very very well written novel! But I know its true lol.




Robert,

Since I'm almost finished with this book (and loving it!) I also wanted to know about the writing style. Did Mike and family remember those moments and conversations that well or did they give you some freedom to write it your own way? It is precise, like you were there. You did such a great job putting it all together it just flows and keeps you wanting more. You mentioned you were worried about the scientific parts and how to keep it interesting. You incorporated it into the story so well that I wanted to know more of that also. You did a great job!



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Wrighty
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Thanks Robert!


RobertKurson wrote:
Wrighty,

These are excellent questions.

First, I agree that it might have been clearer to refer to Mike as "Mike" throughout the book.

Second, with respect to recounting conversations and thoughts, I spent two years with Mike and the people in his life, and pressed them endlessly (and sometimes, I'm afraid, annoyingly) to recall as many conversations, thoughts, remarks, as they possibly could. This sometimes took a lot of prodding, which I was certainly willing to do, but yielded terrific and detailed information. Also, when you spend that kind of time with a subject, you tend to absorb their style of speech, syntax, rhythm, thought patterns, etc., which helps to accurately represent their manner of speech. Also, I would often ask Mike or Jennifer to recount to me, in their words, how they said or thought something - to do the dialogue for me the best they could remember. All this helps to put together the most accurate conversation possible for the book.

Finally, in terms of writing the science, my early instincts were to tell as much as I possibly could. I'd learned so much - all of it fascinating - that I just wanted to share it all. But that would have required hundreds of pages - not conducive to engaging and brisk reading! So I told myself this: include only as much as you'd want to read yourself in a book like this. Those hundreds of pages got trimmed down real fast under that guideline!





Robert,

Thanks so much for your responses to Vivico's and my own questions. I did see at the end of your book in "A Note On Sources" where you explained the two year interview process. I wasn't quite to the end yet when I asked that question so I'm sorry for the repeat explanation. It was quite fascinating to me how you obtained the information and then recreated it for the reader. I'm sure it wasn't always an easy process for any of you but the results were excellent.

I have been driving my family crazy with the science of this book. I keep telling them bits and pieces and then I showed them the different photos and drawings in Chapters 13 and 14. They thought it was pretty neat too until I continued to do that over and over. My teenagers aren't fond of me repeating any kind of information at their ages. If I don't get it to them the first time through I've lost them. Especially if it interrupts a TV show or something like that. I have terrible vision without my glasses or contacts, two of my kids are color blind as well as several other relatives and two family members needed surgery to correct problems with their eyes when they were children so most info having to do with vision is very interesting to me. Thankfully none of those things were considered serious, especially compared to Mike May. It's just an area of interest to me.


**POSSIBLE SPOILER!! - chapter 16



In regards to the treatments to reverse rejection, the shots in particular...

how GROSS!!!!!

I have endured some painful treatments for my illnesses but I cannot even imagine that one. Were you there for those appointments? You have to do what you have to do, but Mike May is quite amazing.
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Justine
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Dear Robert,

Thanks for your response . It is always nice to be reminded that we are not alone in the worlds we experience.

I have a purely practical question. Is there a timeline yet for when the book will be released in paperback? My whole library system decided to purchase only two copies, and there are twenty ppl in line to read it , so I had to turn my copy back to the library yesterday because I can't afford any overdue fines or the book itself right now, because SSI is a fixed income and my job as a Special Ed Instructional Asst only pays once a month at the end of the month. I am struggling until the end of the month.

Anyway, I hope you are well. Your warmth and caring comes through in your writing. Thanks for not shying away from Mike's story.

Best,
Justine
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RobertKurson
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed



Justine wrote:
Dear Robert,

Thanks for your response . It is always nice to be reminded that we are not alone in the worlds we experience.

I have a purely practical question. Is there a timeline yet for when the book will be released in paperback? My whole library system decided to purchase only two copies, and there are twenty ppl in line to read it , so I had to turn my copy back to the library yesterday because I can't afford any overdue fines or the book itself right now, because SSI is a fixed income and my job as a Special Ed Instructional Asst only pays once a month at the end of the month. I am struggling until the end of the month.

Anyway, I hope you are well. Your warmth and caring comes through in your writing. Thanks for not shying away from Mike's story.

Best,
Justine




Thanks, Justine, for these very lovely words.

I'm afraid I don't know anything about the timing of the paperback. They are usually published about a year after publication of the hardcover, but I have no specific information.


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Justine
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed

Dear Robert,

Just an FYI: I decided to buy the hardcover edition... thank goodness for credit cards (or should I thank some demon?:smileyhappy: )I got a bit of an educator's discount since I work at a school. I couldn't imagine waiting a whole year to finish the reading!

Do you have other projects in line , or do you get to rest a bit?

Hope all is well

Best,
Justine
Inspired Correspondent
Wrighty
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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book purchase


Justine wrote:
Dear Robert,

Just an FYI: I decided to buy the hardcover edition... thank goodness for credit cards (or should I thank some demon?:smileyhappy: )I got a bit of an educator's discount since I work at a school. I couldn't imagine waiting a whole year to finish the reading!

Do you have other projects in line , or do you get to rest a bit?

Hope all is well

Best,
Justine




Justine,

I know exactly what you mean about stretching the almighty dollar. It never gets you far enough. The book is well worth the purchase though. You won't be disappointed and when you're finished you can share it with others. It's a great read.
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