Tag Archives: The Awl

“The Awl” – Fiction by Dr. M Leona Godin

The Death of Marat - Jacques-Louis David, 1793
The Death of Marat – Jacques-Louis David, 1793

Dr. M Leona Godin puts a comically megalomaniacal spin on the history of braille in “The Awl,” one of the many flappy lits you can find in our Summer 2015 issue (available online via Amazon and Createspace, or at independent brick-and-mortar stores like Bluestockings and St. Mark’s Bookshop).

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I HAVE HEARD OF THE DEATH OF MARAT. Marat was, they say, dotted with ugly holes in his skin that oozed and gave pain. He only found relief in the bath, so that is where he stayed. With his writing table hovering above the surface of the water, he took the names of traitors and wrote them on his Guillotine list. He was stabbed by Mademoiselle Corday, a girl who hoped to stop the madness. David, ever the sycophantic whore of the revolution, bathed the scene in a holy light, forever casting the mastermind of the REIGN OF TERROR a martyr in the gullible eye of the viewer. Once again, the eye deceives the mind!

Now my professors paint me a rebel because I dare to teach a writing system that works better than that of poor old father Haüy. So much for progress. These petty pedants wouldn’t recognize progress if it bumped them on the back of their heads. Ha, bumps, that’s what we’re talking about! You would have laughed to see me point at them in my tribunal and say, “You are all no better than a lot of Oedipuses and I, like Tiresias, warn you to reconsider your folly!” They did not like that at all. Not at all. Sighted people have very fragile egos!

How can they not see that nothing man creates is perfect? Fine tuning—even the most magnificent instrument—is always possible. Consider the organ. With each new great one built, the air pumps more efficiently, the levers glide more smoothly and the stops are placed ever more precisely. There is something divine in progress. Perhaps even God is a tinkerer? One could wish for some improvements. Hear me Lord, my suggestion for the next version of Man: please make the eyeball a little less delicate. It seems a very important organ to be so vulnerable. Or else make us humans less clumsy…

My father was a saddler,
A sad saddler was he,
For I, his little boy,
Would be a saddler too.
Sitting at my father’s bench,
I took the awl in hand,
The awl missed its mark
And found my eye!

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