Member Exclusive: How the Light Gets In

Our latest Exclusive comes from author Elissa Schappell, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and co-founder and editor at large of Tin House, which is where she published “How the Light Gets In”—a story about a life changed by seizures. (Subscribe to Longreads to receive this and other exclusives.)

“To say it is a curse would be to lie. This is what I wrote in my journal in 1993, when I was twenty-nine. The handwriting is tiny and childlike, recognizable to no one but me as the way I wrote only after suffering a temporal lobe seizure. The brain’s temporal lobes, situated over each ear, swoop back from the temples like the wings on the thunder god’s helmet, which is fitting, given the ominous auras that sometimes rumble through my brain before a seizure.

“However, they don’t always portend a terrible storm, and while ‘suffering’ accurately depicts 99 percent of my seizures, 1 percent have been transcendent.”

Source: Tin House
Published: Oct 1, 2011
Length: 15 minutes (3,760 words)
Read the story