I can almost hear you

Having lived with a perforated eardrum for a few years now I am finally scheduled for surgery. What they do is called a tympanoplasty. Do not hit that link if you are squeamish.

During a tympanoplasty, they make a patch. It may or may not become part of the body, but if it does—if the body accepts it—then I will suddenly be thrust into a very different kind of world. For all the time the eardrum has been absent, there have been so many sounds rushing in: air, ringing, hissing, clicks; I hear worse according to the audio tests but far better in terms of what's in the atmosphere. I hear everything and the air around everything. I say "What" a lot. I am looking forward to saying "What" a lot less. It has never been a favorite word of mine, though it is a favored concept: the what of everything matters a whole lot more than the why at times, and when you really get the what, you'll get a better why.

Portland, Seattle, NYC

Joan Wasser of Joan as Policewoman at Bumbershoot

Stacey Levine, author, at Bumbershoot in the green room.