Avi WordCraft blog

Learning to walk

caneAs some of you may have read here, I sustained a hip injury a couple of months ago when I slipped on some ice. After my initial fall, there was no pain, no surgery, no medications, I’m doing just fine, thank you. But I had a need for physical therapy.  

With that PT came advice. “Get a cane so you don’t walk lopsided.”   

Like me, I’m sure you have seen a cane in the hands of many, many other people. So, “Get a cane,” was a simple thing to do. 

But…………to my great surprise It wasn’t simple to use it. 

My injury was on the left side. In which hand do I hold the cane? 

What height should that cane be? 

How do you walk with a cane? That is, how do you synchronize your step (including your lopsided step) with the swing of that cane? 

This is to say, how do you learn to walk again? 

And if you have slight left/ right confusion—as I do—even that becomes a little complicated. 

It’s a reminder that what appears to be simple from a distance—metaphorically or not—is often otherwise. Simple is hard to see. And, in my own fashion, it relates to writing. Because, if you are telling a story and you wish to communicate how someone does something, feels something, solves something (and so forth) you need to see it (in your mind) describe it, find the words for it. And then you need to find a way to use the words to communicate a lot more than just the act itself. 

It is a cliché to suggest the “Devil is in the details.” But those simple details are precisely that which elevates writing: an ability to provide the reader with a sense of the real. And—to make it more complicated, while there is the needful skill of knowing what to put in, there is an equal skill in knowing what to leave out. It reminds me of that other (useful) writing cliché: you need to make the usual unusual, even as you make the unusual, usual. 

In short, while I have lived a fairly long life, and, as I say, I have seen many a cane in many a hand, I knew nothing about it. 

I’m still learning simple things. Or to be Biblical about it, I’m using a cane to become able. 

9 thoughts on “Learning to walk”

  1. I think your last line “I am using a cane to become able,” tells it all. Stay with the PT, it will save you more misery down the line and good luck.

  2. The one ‘marginalized’ category that anyone can be become a part of at any moment – whether it be permanent or temporary- is that of ‘disabled’ or what I like to state: differently abled. It sure brings a totally new perspective to one’s world and the lessons that are learned can, with thought/insight, apply to our improvement in the writing and reading process. Keep with the PT! I bet more stories will abound from the experiences!

  3. Using the cane to be able? What am I, my brother’s keeper?

    Much love and good luck to you my friend!

  4. Avi, keep working at using that cane, for a complete and speedy recovery! I now have a new-found respect for people who navigate their mobility with the help of canes. I love this beautiful metaphor regarding how we look at things, not only in our writing, but in life in general. Your last line was priceless and timeless.

    Best regards,

    Sharon B.

  5. This was fascinating, Avi. I also have a slight left/right confusion (it’s why I can’t dance – I’m always a half beat behind!) I’ve always been a little embarrassed by it, since I feel like by now I should have mastered something they were teaching us in kindergarten!

  6. My heart goes out to you. I hope you continue to progress and feel more like your old self. How blessed we all are that you are an empath and can use this experience to make the way clearer for your readers.

  7. Knowing what to put in – knowing what to keep out! Making the usual – unusual and making the unusual – usual. Love that. But your last line …REALLY LOVE IT!

  8. Hi, Mr Avi! I’m so sorry to hear about your injury; I hope you make a speedy recovery. 🙂

    So true! When my older sister injured her knee years ago, she had to use a cane, and it wasn’t as simple as it appeared. I’ve been learning how to incorporate details into my writing and making things feel real. Not easy, but well worth it.

    Anyway, I hope you feel better soon (and congratulations on your book, Loyalty!) May you and your family have a blessed week.

  9. Here’s to your next title, A CANE OF DISTINCTION 🙂
    You’ve made many adjustments in life. Cheering your current one!


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