The Colors I Saw with Eliza C Walton

Daring to Tell

03-01-2023 • 1時間 9分

Where is truth fiction and fiction truth especially when one's reality becomes a diagnosis of rectal cancer?

"At the very least, it’s a sign of life. The source of my embarrassment speaks of existence. I am alive."

In her memoir Eliza Walton shares her actual experience and pushes us into those spaces where she gives life to a fictional edgy alter ego with a deft hand.

Michelle Redo talks with Maine writer Eliza Walton about her book, The Colors I Saw: A Cancer Memoir, published in 2019. You can contact Eliza through her publisher Golden Alley Press.

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A Turtle and a Piano

The other day I walked into the big box pet store on the hunt for Rocky’s “slow eating chicken” as we call it. I breezed down the main aisle past the rodents and reptiles when something charming and green arrested me so I had to turn three paces back to bend down and look.

It was a turtle.

A testudo tortoise in fact, maybe about the size of my fully outstretched hand, and he had a good deal of height too. Maybe four inches or so? The brightest green of his head and legs leapt out at me with an undertone of darker grayish green. He was crawling just a little. His head stretched towards a bowl of greens, his front legs reaching forward. Basically, there was motion, which seems rare for a pet store reptile. He wasn’t static, not hiding. And I was immediately smitten. Could I bring home a turtle? What would Rocky think? What would Phil think?

I didn’t know you could even get turtles anymore. I had one of those tiny ones as pets when I was little. The ones so small they may get stuck under the radiator… probably desperately seeking heat, only finding dust. While I don’t recall mine dying, I don’t recall having them for very long either. Maybe they escaped? Stayed under the radiator?

Why do I love turtles so? I don’t know. I’d kind of forgotten that I find them so captivating. With their ability to just tuck in at any moment and hide from the world. That lovely thick shell, almost impermeable. A slow, steady creature without many natural predators, and that life span!

This turtle, the label proclaimed, had an average lifespan of fifty years.

What? This little guy? Fifty years?

Hmm… With this new info I looked at him wistfully, pulled out my phone and clicked a picture of this fine little being and wished him well. I stood up, and continued on my mission for slow-eating chicken (for some reason, Rocky always leaves some in his dish for later). I jabbed at my phone as I sent the picture off to Phil.

“This guy will outlive us.” Send.

It was a weird little moment. This turtle and me. It reminded me our time on this planet is not unlimited. Something we always know but brush away to be dealt with later. As if later is that promising time when we think we’ll be ready to think about our end date...

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