Cloud Atlas

A sextet of nested, intersecting stories, Cloud Atlas explores the many ways the strong exploit the weak, beginning and ending with literal cannibalism, with detours into slavery and a nursing home. Elderly, non-disabled editor Timothy Cavendish asks his wealthy brother for a loan one time too many, and is tricked into checking himself into Aurora House late at night when he’s desperate for a place to stay. The staff doesn’t believe him when he says he doesn’t belong there, and won’t let him leave or call for legal representation, prompting him to utter the fateful phrase “I will not be subjected to criminal abuse!”

In the book, Cavendish suffers a stroke brought on by all the stress, and makes friends with some of the other residents while he recovers his speech and motor skills. Many have been dumped there by ungrateful children waiting for their inheritance, and one seems to have aphasia, seemingly capable of saying only “I know! I know!”. They warn him that attempts to escape will result in the staff drugging his food, but their plan is successful and they escape to a pub. Cavendish later publishes “The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish”, which gets made into a horror movie of sorts. Hundreds of years later, the ancient video is seen by cloned humans bred for servitude, and teaches them to say “I will not be subjected to criminal abuse!”

The ghastly ordeal is presented as a farce, and does not touch on the larger issues of the elderly and disabled stuck in nursing homes; the directors pocketing millions of dollars while staff-to-patient ratios are cut; poorly trained, overwhelmed, or downright criminal staff; patients who could have managed at home with appropriate home care services and house modifications sent to nursing homes as a default.

Aphasia the Movie

Aphasia is a docu-drama about Carl McIntyre, a formerly successful actor and salesman, who suffered a carotid embolic stroke, and was left with partial paralysis on one side and Broca’s aphasia afterward. According to Ability Magazine, Dec/Jan 2010-2011, pp.12-14., Carl was only 46 years old, and his wife and kids initially thought he was just playing when he fell to the floor and started crawling.

According to Ability Magazine,

Aphasia affects about one million Americans (or about 1 in 250 people) and is more common than Parkinsons’, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy.

Aphasia: The Movie tracks Carl’s frustration, anger, and determination to get his ‘voice’ back. As a result, the viewer becomes intimately familiar with the challenges of aphasia. People with aphasia commonly struggle with an inability to translate what is in their mind into what is spoken aloud. Words and speech must be relearned, as if the person is returning to kindergarten.

Carl dubs his wife Elizabeth, to whom the film is dedicated, his “angel” during the trials of his recovery. Elizabeth notes the experience of Carl’s illness felt like losing her best friend: they could no longer watch television, share jokes, and laugh together. Once happy as a stay-at-home mom, Elizabeth found she had to go back to work as a teacher to help support the family. Since the film’s production, however, the McIntyres say they have found a new sense of purpose and have been able to enjoy a new phase in their lives.

Today Carl is a spokesman for aphasia and has made a career of promoting his film and giving motivational presentations. He plans to teach acting again and maybe even perform a one-man show.

Carl is now functioning well enough to be currently engaged in speaking tours presenting the movie.

According to the Aphasia The Movie website,

Aphasia premiered at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine’s Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences on May 1st 2010.

Since then, the film has been acclaimed on the international film festival circuit and has been shown as part of Carl’s presentations to Speech-Language Pathology students, stroke survivors and their families, neurologists and other interested groups.

Carl and the film can be booked through