Shouting in the Dark: My Journey Back to the Light

Shouting in the Dark: My Journey Back to the Light

John Bramblitt, Lindsey Tate

Language: English

Pages: 245


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

John Bramblitt makes his living as a visual artist. His works have been sold in over twenty different countries, and he’s received three Presidential Service awards for the art workshops he teaches. He’s painted portraits of skateboarder Tony Hawk and blues legend Pops Carter. He’s given talks about his art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and there has even been a documentary made about him. And . . . he’s blind.


When Bramblitt was declared legally blind ten years ago due to complications with epilepsy, his hopes of becoming a creative writing teacher were shattered and he sunk into a deep depression. He felt disconnected from family and friends, alienated and alone. But then something amazing happened--he discovered painting. He learned to distinguish between different colored paints by feeling their textures with his fingers. He taught himself how to paint using raised lines to help him find his way around the canvas, and through something called haptic visualization, which enables him to "see" his subjects through touch. He now paints amazingly lifelike portraits of people he's never seen--including his wife and son. Shouting in the Dark is the story of Bramblitt's life, his journey navigating through this new territory of blindness, and how he ultimately rekindles his joy, passion, and relationships through art.

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been in vain. Looking across my room I could make out the chairs and a table, free-form objects seen through a haze, but I couldn’t see words on a screen, even words magnified seventy-seven times. This depressed the hell out of me. I grabbed my cane in anger and went outside into the twilight to walk. I heard Net calling my name but I ignored her. I wanted to be alone. Just the week before I had invited some friends over to my apartment to study. We’d been learning about Color Field paintings

sensation now physical not visual. And for that moment it didn’t matter that at the end of the ride they would open their eyes and see. As the ride slowed to a stop, I unbuckled my seat belt and stepped out of the car, weak and relieved, still laughing like everyone else. I reclaimed my cane and moved down the steps, my adrenaline flowing. I was ready to conquer another round of angry frustration just to feel the emotional high of the roller coaster. I set off again. I stumbled down the steps,

formed. Instead I spent many dark, angry months unhappy with whom I had become, miserable with my lot in life, and certainly not an inspiration to anyone, including myself. When I became blind I thought my life was over. I was already struggling enough with epilepsy so what hope could I find for a blind epileptic? I saw myself as a burden, as someone whose body had failed him on too many occasions and left him without dreams of a future. Everything was dark. When I think of myself standing on

my neck, and I felt like a teenage boy again, tall and awkward but still needing my mother’s love. “John, they’re so good,” she said. Then she broke down again. “Aren’t they, Gary?” I felt my father’s hand squeeze my shoulder. “Amazing.” My father was a quiet man, not given to emotional outbursts or high praise. My heart soared. I felt like I had been away from my parents for so long, but they had been here all the time. We stood like that for a long time as the light outside the windows

at least they didn’t show it. It was possible that they could have just grown used to it but I didn’t think so. I was convinced that seeing me painting and seeing the paintings that I could produce had changed their perceptions of blindness entirely, both their perceptions of what it means to see and their perceptions of me. The more I painted, the less I was defined by my lack of sight. My blindness became just another characteristic, like the color of my hair. Some nights my friends met at my

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