A few years ago, in my Montessori classroom, I was brought together by fate with a young boy who was perceiving life through a very unique lens. Careful observation of this child interacting with our Montessori materials showed me that despite obvious challenges, he exhibited signs of an exceptional potential. It was truly exciting to see his appreciation for the sensory oriented exercises and his almost instantaneous grasp of mathematical relationships. It was his attraction to music, however, that intrigued me the most.
One of my co-workers introduced me to your work during this time, in the hope that I might find some inspiration for how to deepen his relationship with both the physical environment and its community of learners. Reading your books changed my life and, by association, his also. I began to use music in my curriculum whenever I could. We sang as a group twice every day and ended most days together in group dancing sessions. The children became less inhibited, placed less emphasis on establishing a pecking order, accepted the diversity within our group and actually demonstrated more interest in learning.
I asked two local musicians, both Grammy winners, if I could arrange a private musical meeting with this boy. They were supportive of the idea and through each of those visits I witnessed again the power of music and its ability to transcend communication barriers. At the end of one school year, this student, once non-verbal, had blossomed, largely through the effects of a classroom infused with singing, dancing and joy.
Again, thank you, Dr. Sacks, for the motivation. If this is what the power of music can offer one person, its therapeutic properties and its positive energies should be treasured as a potential gift for all humans, in all learning environments.
I have loved Dr. Sacks's writings for years, and his interviews just as much. I think I once wrote him that I always thought it strange that when he was interviewed on Fresh Air many times, I often thought it was Werner Herzog, and vice versa when Herzog was on.
Thank you so much for your lifes work and writings.
I am deeply touched by the account of Professor Sacks's condition. He is a great man that still remains humorous despite his grim condition. I believed he has achieved immortality.
Oliver is ignition for the mind and soul. I originally bought one of his books for the title alone. That was 30 years ago…still along for the ride.
Congratulations on a wonderful new book. I have many favorite moments, but favorite was the article about buying a house while swimming. I swim, have never bought a house in the process of. I love the curiosity, excitement about life, and quest for new knowledge and experiences which Dr. Sacks exhibits and brings to all of us. Thank you so much.
Dr. Sacks is the single greatest influence on my career. At the age of 25, fully employed in the music industry, I decided to leave everything and go back to school to study biology. I'm currently earning my master's degree in neuroscience and getting ready to apply to med school next year. I always dreamed of working with you some day, and I'm so grateful I existed in the world at the same time as one of history's best doctors/writers/humans. Thank you, Dr. Sacks, from the bottom of my heart. You embody the empathy, curiosity, and wonderment that I wish everyone could have.
Dear Dr. Sacks,
I remember reading an interview with you about the Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat in Discover Magazine when I was in junior high. It was that interview that introduced me and began my interest in neuroscience. I read that book, and many more by you. I am now in college, studying neuroscience and cognitive science, and I know I have you to thank. Your passion and accessibility has made it possible to inspire myself and many. I wish you the best with your life and work.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat changed my life. I was approaching my 30th birthday with absolutely no sense of what type of career I should pursue. At the time I was working in a deli, slicing meat and making a pretty good sandwich. The fascinating description of Dr. Sacks' patients moved me so deeply, I knew I had stumbled upon a long awaited purpose. I became a speech language pathologist. I now have the privilege of working alongside individuals who present with a vast array of neurological deficits affecting communication, speech, and cognitive function.
I have seen Dr. Sacks lecture and have faithfully read all of his books. I still have a very present fantasy of visiting Pingelap someday and perhaps coming face to face with cycads...
I cannot with words explain how much Dr. Sacks means to me. I do cherish every word he writes and speaks. For the past twenty five years I have been graced with his presence through his beautiful work.
I sobbed without control after reading his Op-Ed contribution to the February 19th edition of The NY Times...
Thank you, Dr. Sacks. I am grateful to know you and look forward to reading and hearing more from you.
Dear Dr. Sacks,
We had some correspondence a few years ago after I wrote to you about my experience singing, alone, to people in aged care or hospital confinement -- physical or mental problems.You were generous enough to write back to me, and quote me in your book Musicophilia.
I am/was just an amateur in the field, but for over twenty years, I have been inspired by your commitment and JOY in reaching people who are not in the mainstream of communication, and do want to say to you that your humanity and courage in approaching people who are "different" are an inspiration.
I am sad that age and illness have struck you at the same time, and inspired by your calmness in coming to the close of a magnificent life.
I too am struck by arthritis and a vocal problem, disastrous to a singer, but I have so much less to lose than you.
Thank you for your calmness and courage in the face of the inevitable. That is all that we have.
Thank you and love from Gretta.
I feel compelled to write something. I am sitting here watching the film of 'Awakenings' for the upteenth time, since the first time i watched it I became fascinated with the true story. I am so pleased that people like Dr Sacks exist--genuine, caring people. His legacy will live along in me, in others and in history.
Awakenings ! A truly amazing book which brings inspiration and hope!
Just read the article in the New York Review of Books, was sadden by your illness, and hope things work out with your treatment. I have enjoyed your books, articles and personal appearances, the brain is a most amazing thing and your writings have made me yet more interested in reading of its wonders. Thank you, and best wishes, Diane
It's a pleasure to find so much information about Dr. Sacks and his work in one place with helpful links. I've been a fan of Dr. Sacks since I first encountered "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales" in 1985. I was 17 years old at the time, and I continued to follow his work over the years, and I began to read the works of others in the field of neuroscience. Finding this site, I was surprised to discover that I was unaware, for example, of the opera based on the book that made such an impression on me at the age of 17. I look forward to exploring other works inspired by him that I may have missed. I am also, of course, eager to read his soon-to-be-released memoir, "On the Move."
That Dr. Sacks is so accessible to the lay reader continues to impress me. Being able to read and understand "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" as a teen began a lifelong interest in the field of neuroscience. His forthrightness in his personal accounts is also much appreciated.
Thank you, Dr. Sacks.
Dr. Sacks's passionate curiosity is expressed by both wild joy and the discipline required for being a great scientist. My heart truly smiles every time I listen to him speak.
If only we could all have Dr. Sack's delight for discovery and his appreciation of the great mystery that all existence is...
Warmest regards and blessings on the next adventure that Dr. Sacks (and all of us, really) is taking.
Dear Dr Sacks,
I have travelled through life accompanied by hallucinations, from migraine auras to moving floors and walls, voices, smells and the wonderful movie show I see every time I close my eyes. I learned as a child that other people didn't see these things, so I have kept it to myself. I have a family and a career - what you might call 'normal' life, and friends and colleagues might be surprised if they realised what 'reality' is for me.
I am an educated person and I knew in theory I was not alone in my experiences, but I have still felt different and 'apart' for most of my life.
By chance, I came across your book 'Hallucinations', downloaded it to my Kindle and read it about a year ago while on a business trip. Thank you. It may sound silly but I was in tears reading it: here for the first time for me (I am 49), was someone who understood my world without making it into a sideshow or filling it with clinical terms. Thank you again.
After reading your book, I decided to write a book to share my life experiences with others, and I am doing that now through a daily blog. I hope this will help other people cope with their own hallucinations and see that it can have a positive effect on life.
Dr Sacks, I wish peace and happiness for you and your family.
Dear Dr. Sacks,
This is a marvelous website!
I have long been an ardent fan of your mind. My son gave me your book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat when he was in medical school. Your book on Migraine helped me greatly in a condition that runs in my family and that I've had since I was eleven.
My older daughter took me to see you as you lectured in Toronto a number of years ago. What a highlight that was for me!
My son, who loved the intricacies of the mind, was very excited when he discovered that his then six year old daughter had synesthesia. Music and mathematics and patterning also run in my family. What my granddaughter had told her Daddy was that she saw colour when she looked at or engaged in singing. Of course, your book on Music has been read avidly by us and by many we know.
The other day, when my tinnitus was overwhelming, I suddenly thought of you... and then my son... and I wondered "what would Oliver Sacks say to the thought that tinnitus might be a form of synesthesia?" Hearing has been ruled out as a cause… so why not another aspect?
Yesterday, when I learned on our late news that Joni Mitchell is in intensive care in LA, perhaps because of Morgellons Disease, and that there are many doubters of the disease, I thought of you again. And I wondered "what would Oliver Sacks say to the tought that the colours seen by those with the disease, especially a woman whose whole life is music, might be another form of synesthesia?"
That's all... simply thoughts that I wanted to deposit in the best place I could think of... with no need to respond on your part. Just thoughts that life and the mind are far more complex than we can fully understand. After all, doesn't the brain mimic the universe, in Plato-speak?
Thank you, Dr. Sacks,
Guelph, Ontario, Canada