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Out Of Sight

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Date and time
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
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Cambridge Forum’s OUT OF SIGHT accompanies two men, Mark Erelli a musician and Andrew Leland a writer, on their separate journeys from the world of sightedness to one of blindness. Mark Erelli was performing in 2020, when he looked down at his guitar and couldn’t see his fingers on the frets. A subsequent diagnosis of RP (retinitis pigmentosa) provided some answers, but many new questions. Does diminished eyesight decrease one’s insight? What does it mean to be ‘fully seen’ by oneself and others?

These questions, along with Erelli’s drive to regain his creative agency, formed the basis for “Lay Your Darkness Down.” In THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND: a memoir at the end of sight, Andrew Leland is suspended in the liminal state of the soon-to-be blind. Midway through his life with RP, he now sees the world as if through a narrow tube. Soon - he doesn’t know when – he will lose his sight. Leland embarks on a sweeping exploration of the state of blindness including his changing relationships with his wife, son, and self. His book represents his determination not to merely survive the transition but to grow from it – a state of being few of us know much about but from which we have much to learn.

Mark Erelli is an American singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and touring folk musician from Reading, Massachusetts who earned a master's degree in evolutionary biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst before pursuing a career in music.
Andrew Leland’s writing has appeared in NYT Magazine, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and The San Francisco Chronicle. He hosted and produced The Organist, an arts and culture podcast, for KCRW; he has also produced pieces for Radiolab and 99 Percent Invisible. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and son.

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