Russ Talbot suffered an ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) as the result of surgery to remove a brain tumour in 1996. The effects of this were much like a stroke.
As a result he has some physical compromises, like poor balance and a speech impediment, but he is unaffected mentally.
A couple of years after his ABI he began writing.
My voice has been the most alien thing about the new me to the old me—it just doesn’t fit with how I think of myself.
That's what led me to writing. When I write I can ‘play’ with words in a way that is denied to me now—my voice isn't adroit enough to articulate my thoughts. When I speak I tend to be purposeful and efficient, to make it as easy as possible for the listener and maximise my chances of being understood. When I write, I sound like me. Writing sets me free.
After his first visit to Broken Hill, Russ wrote about his experiences in "The Broken Hill Chronicles, Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4"(!), which he emailed to his world-wide network of friends and readers. With his permission, we've reproduced them here.
The Broken Hill Chronicles, Vol 3
Some Thoughts and Highlights
G’day all, and welcome back to Broken Hill!
Etched into the concrete edging surrounding Sturt Park (obviously done while the concrete was still wet): “Pat Reilly is MAD and a big boss”.
Just thought you’d like to know.
One of the first things you notice walking around Broken Hill is how high the kerb gutters are - as much as 45cm high in places. This is because there’s no underground drainage. Floods flow straight to reservoirs, one each side of town.
This approach provides an interesting contrast with the rest of us. In Adelaide we have historically seen stormwater as a problem. In Broken Hill it’s an opportunity. Consequently, whereas our systems are all about getting the stormwater away and out to sea as quickly as possible, theirs are about saving it.