Saturday, March 26, 2016

Purple Day

     I don't care for this particular Eve as much as the one I wrote about yesterday. She wrote a book in 1993 about temporal lobe epilepsy, referring to it as "a medical, historical and artistic phenomenon." In typical journalistic fashion, she combined science and fiction to create something both fascinating and offensive to me.
     Rather than read the book, I consumed it, folding down pages, underlining and adding my own notes in the spaces outside her words. Even as I did this, I discovered that's a typical behavior of "people like me," not a unique trait of my own.
     Again, this kept me reading even though it made me want to find the author and tell her the real story, minus the extreme examples given in her book.  Pages 71-72 were the ones that really gave me the creeps. I wanted to toss the book across the room before my whole personality melted into some bizarre medical diagnosis only recognized by a couple of scientists who are probably dead by now.
      The pages were difficult to capture on film because they are back-to-back, but I hope you understand how I felt reading those words while in the midst of underlining and making notes in PURPLE ink.
     Suddenly, yet another little "personal quirk" of mine was nothing more than part of my epilepsy slipping out every time I pick up a pen...Never pencils; I can't stand using them.
      Is my own preference for purple ink similar to a former student of mine with autism who insisted on using mechanical pencils?
      At my job as a special ed teacher, I was able to adjust my preference while working on "official documents," such as IEPs.
     My first mentor, Marguerite, told me it was better to stick with black or blue pens during meetings with parents, where my purple signature looked "unprofessional." I took her seriously, just as I did when my mother told me as a little girl that red ink wasn't smart for signing checks or financial bookkeeping  because people associate that particular color with mistakes and debt.
     Both of them were spot-on with their advice, but I always choose purple first when I can.
Donna and baby sis, Melody 
     I'm not sure when my love affair with purple ink began, but until I read about it in Eve's book, I thought it was one of many habits I copied from my childhood friend, Donna, the one who always seemed cooler than me in the artsy ways I craved but didn't know how to express.
     Either way, it's a habit I don't intend to break, ever.
     Today is Purple Day, when people all over the world are wearing purple to raise awareness for epilepsy. I'll be wearing it, too, but you won't find many purple clothes in my closet.
      Instead, the color is all in the books I've read, my diaries and of course in the letters and poems I've written to people all over the world who have loved me in spite of my purple weirdness.