Notes & Queries by David Herkt

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Notes & Queries: Paul

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  • Jeanette King,

    Kia ora David. Didn't think I could find a piece of writing that was both hilarious and deeply inspiring at the same time. Wonderful to know there's someone like Paul in this world, and also admire your friendship with him. Really perked up my Sunday afternoon. Thank you.

    Ōtautahi • Since Oct 2010 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Ianmac,

    What a great article David and what an amazing chap is Paul. Surviving with what he has and what he is, must be a triumph beyond our miserable little problems!

    Bleneim • Since Aug 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • poffa,

    I agree. A wonderful read. thanks

    auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • "chris",

    Beautiful.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Jon Briggs,

    Ditto. A most enjoyable read.

    Since Dec 2008 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    A great read, thank you, David.

    I treat Paul as much as possible like I’d treat anyone. I demand the same care from him as I would demand from anyone else.

    And thank you for this jewel. A reminder and a challenge for me.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Thanks for writing this, David.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    There is that moment when the abled - in any sense - come into contact with the differently abled /disabled - in any sense - when unconscious and unwilled dynamics come into play. That instant of "oh the poor thing" or the unspoken jolt as the brain searches through the archives for previous encounters had, previous words spoken. One of the reasons I so loved this story, David, is that Paul could be any of us. We are all, every one of us, damaged yet enriched, by our lives events, by others impact on us. And if we could only recognise that, we would all be better off for it. Paul is gorgeousness, tell him I said so. And I heartily approve of swooning.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    What a beautiful, warm, humane piece of writing. Thank you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This is beautiful and brilliant and it gives me much to think about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Glen Wright,

    We so often aspire to, and tell others to, find beauty in everyone. There are too few stories showing how it works with all challenges and rewards thrown in with equal clarity. Carry on.

    Since Nov 2006 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Thank you for this enlightening piece of writing. I am in awe of your patience and beneficence. Thank you for sharing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Fantastic piece of writing. Even more fantastic slice of life, so vivid and recognizable to me in many parts. I wish I had your strength of character, David, and I hope you and Paul remain friends forever. It is good to hear that in the midst of the bureaucratic tomfoolery that is involved in ensuring disadvantaged people are able to live with some comfort, that there is a safety valve by which someone like Paul does not have to deal with it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • wendyf,

    Others have said it - beautiful. Funny and moving. Feeds my soul. Thank you David.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    David, I was well engaged, and then you nailed it with what could've been the opening line:

    It was the budgies that did it.

    Magic!
    Thanks for letting me slip into someone else's shoes for a while, an eye, and heart, opener.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7869 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    Incredibly moving. Thanks David. So much to learn from this selfless and compassionate approach to humanity.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    I love the ending - it resonates. I like the "fractured horizontals". Brill.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Although my two boys are in nothing like Paul’s position, it remains quite possible that they’ll never really fit. I hope they find friends like you, David.

    It strikes me that you’ve provided Paul with something no one in a formal position of care could – not just agency, but licence. The freedom to be wild and still have someone there. That’s a precious thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Bland,

    What is this? I'm not sure I like it.

    Since Jun 2013 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dylan Bland,

    How do you mean, Dylan?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM,

    This is fantastic. Oh to be in on one of those calls! Thanks for taking the time to write this David.

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Bland,

    I expect my opinion on this isn't going to be shared by many, so I will keep this brief.

    I do not wish to diminish the good the author has done for Paul throughout his life, and I appreciate this article was probably written with the best of intentions, but to me it comes across as deeply impersonal and seeks to objectify a real person. The author states that "I treat Paul as much as possible like I'd treat anyone" yet if Paul weren't intellectually disabled, I doubt very much this article would be published on this blog. What is the point of it? What is it for? I wouldn't want something like this written about me. My two cents!

    Since Jun 2013 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dylan Bland,

    but to me it comes across as deeply impersonal and seeks to objectify a real person.

    It is an extremely difficult subject to write about. The question of the agency of the subjects is tricky. But David made clear from the very first paragraph that Paul tells his story all the time, that he wants it to be heard. Perhaps he doesn't fully understand the ramifications of the hearing of it, but nor does he understand the ramifications of it not being heard either. That is a choice other people have to make. And it's certainly a story worth hearing.

    There might be objectification in it, if the intent were to ridicule Paul, or to treat him unsympathetically. But I don't see any of that. It holds the man up as a human being worthy of dignity and understanding. It also hides nothing, doesn't gloss over the difficulties. That might be less "objectifying", but it would also be patronizing and would present a false impression.

    The author states that “I treat Paul as much as possible like I’d treat anyone” yet if Paul weren’t intellectually disabled, I doubt very much this article would be published on this blog.

    That's rubbish. The blog has discussed large numbers of people who are not intellectually disabled. Typically, what is focused on about people in an interesting story is what makes them different. A story about Paul that made no reference to his disability would not really be a story about Paul.

    Also, the statement is "as much as possible". That's a world apart from "all the time". If you wish to try to not objectify people who are different, you have to attempt to treat them as though their difference is not everything about them. Indeed, I don't think I've mentioned to my disabled son that he is any different from anyone until this year, when I told him for the first time what happened to him. But every day I have to deal with the fact that he is different, and to make decisions around that constantly. I can't, for instance, walk more than 10m away from him in public situation, because he can't see that far, and will become very upset. When giving him into the care of someone else, I have to tell them what his troubles are, because otherwise he might suffer from their ignorance.

    And that is what David is doing here - he's helping us pull back the veil of ignorance just a little bit more. I think it's a great piece.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dylan Bland,

    The author states that “I treat Paul as much as possible like I’d treat anyone” yet if Paul weren’t intellectually disabled, I doubt very much this article would be published on this blog.

    Who else is going to tell Paul's story? Ben and I both have disabled kids, David is a stroke survivor; we're not strangers to this, or squeamish about it. What stands out for me is how much agency Paul has in his life. It's what we all want.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Bland, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think Paul should tell Paul's story. That's my point. Intimate aspects of someone's life have been written about and published in a manner that I personally found a little uncomfortable.

    I think also there will be a range of views on this within the disability community, and being disabled, or being the parent of a disabled child, doesn't automatically invalidate my point of view.

    Let me finish by saying that I'm not suggesting that the author set out to ridicule or diminish Paul or anyone by writing this piece. Clearly the intention was good, and I mean no disrespect by these comments. Thanks for listening.

    Since Jun 2013 • 7 posts Report Reply

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