There's something about this kind of writing that seems sto express the way the brain works. I started this weblog back in February 2007, at a point when Isaac's speech had really begun to kick in and we were in about eighteen flavors of crisis about what it all meant.
He liked to spin a lot then, and would often twirl or demand that his father or I pick him up and spin him around. "He never gets dizzy," people would marvel, as if he had accomplished something special. "Yeah, that's actually not so great," I'd say if I was in the mood for a little Sensory Integration 101. "It means his brain isn't fully receiving the signal that his body is moving."
Isaac doesn't spin much anymore, and when he does, he gets dizzy much more quickly. Those pathways--some of them, anyway--have found each other.
I read an article by Stephen Johnson in today's Wall Street Journal about how E-Books will change the way we read, and I can already see so many of these patterns in the way I communicate. I might be writing about Isaac and thinking about how, lately, he loves bus-riding, and it'll remind me of Ben and his recitation of all the Thomas trains.
Or I'll be thinking about Nik and his unexplained pain, wondering why the medical world has so much trouble tracking down the source of something so powerful and debilitating. Or what GP or Leelo is doing today. Link, Link, Link.
It takes me on a journey, and if you're game, it brings you along for the ride, even if you don't choose to get off at every stop. It's not a hike; it's a meander, and you never know exactly where it'll lead.
And so, as I see my own world increasingly linked, I see evidence that my son's brain is developing associations as well; some good, some funny, some not so good. I see the unexpected joys in his particular neurological arrangement, and the pain as he crashes against his anxieties over and over again. They're always mostly the same, and sometimes a little bit different.
As J. remarked last night, Isaac is increasingly able to work through his feelings and come out the other side. It may not always be pretty, but bit by bit, those linkages are giving way to new and finer strands and tendrils and fronds and branches. More paths, more possibilities; the power of a network unfolding.
Like Johnson, I won't ever be able to give up the discipline and pleasure of a straight read through a big book: it's who I am. But I can't help wondering whether there will be some evolutionary impact to this brave new link-rich world, and if we, and our kids, will be the better for it.