Gerda  Saunders

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Gerda Saunders

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Born
in Cape Town, South Africa
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March 2016

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GERDA SAUNDERS grew up in South Africa, where she obtained a B.S. in Math and Chemistry from the University of Pretoria. After working as a research scientist at the South African Atomic Energy Board for three years, she taught Science and Math at Kempton Park (Afrikaans) High school and Math and Physics at the Kempton Park Technical Institute. In 1984, she settled in Utah with her husband Peter and two children. While enrolled in an English PhD at the University of Utah in 1996, she taught Business- and Creative Writing. After graduation, she worked for seven years in the business world as a technical writer and program manager. In 2001, she became the Associate Director of Gender Studies at the University of Utah. In addition to her admin ...more

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Gerda Saunders I think that I will not be able to write a book again--my focus has become worse over the past 5 years of writing; also, I am less able to keep the wh…moreI think that I will not be able to write a book again--my focus has become worse over the past 5 years of writing; also, I am less able to keep the whole arc of a narrative together than I was right after retirement. Accordingly, I am writing only my blog at the moment. I think I might still have one or two essays in me, but time will tell. Writing takes me endless time; every day I ask myself what my priority is for the day. If I have a day with little or no family interaction, I often choose writing. Given that I know that the time left in which I will still be rational is limited, I feel that my relationships with my husband Peter, my two adult children and their families, and my close friends takes top priority over writing goals.
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Gerda Saunders I was diagnosed with early-onset dementia just before my 61st birthday in 2010. After retiring in 2011, I was not capable of resuming writing projects…moreI was diagnosed with early-onset dementia just before my 61st birthday in 2010. After retiring in 2011, I was not capable of resuming writing projects that I'd been working on for years. I took about 6 months to decompress from work. Meanwhile, I started jotting down my experience with memory loss and spatial orientation in a journal the Gender Studies faculty had given me as a retirement gift. Once I felt ready to write again after my extended unwinding, I felt that my earlier projects of two novels-in-progress was too difficult to get my head around, because I had a hard time keeping the two story structures in my head (even if working from summaries on paper.) Instead, I started using my journal notes--I dubbed them Dementia Field Notes--to write and essay. I completed more essays. And so the book grew organically to suit my needs of self-reflection in order to process the fact that I have dementia. After having an essay derived from several "chapters" published in The Georgia Review and republished in Slate, I realized that readers found my writing helpful. I knew I had to complete the book. (less)
Average rating: 3.45 · 502 ratings · 100 reviews · 1 distinct workSimilar authors
Memory's Last Breath: Field...

3.45 avg rating — 502 ratings — published 2017 — 11 editions
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“Black Lives Matter,” shout I, who grew up white in South Africa, a perpetrator, beneficiary, and eyewitness of Apartheid

Featured image: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart),” 1983. Dementia makes you forget, but you don’t get to choose what you forget about your own part in racism. What you learned first, when you were a small child, usually lasts the longest. WHAT I WANT TO FORGET Watching out of the living room […]


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Published on June 18, 2020 21:14

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Gerda Saunders wrote a new blog post

“Black Lives Matter,” shout I, who grew up white in South Africa, a perpetrator, beneficiary, and eyewitness of Apartheid

Featured image: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart),” 1983. Dementia makes you forget, but you don’t get to choose what Read more of this blog post »
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
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Gerda Saunders is now following Chelsey and Andrew Cox
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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
" As I face the death of my brain through microvascular dementia, I find books like Kalanithi extremely valuable because they speak in ordinary, non-ala ...more "
Gerda Saunders liked an answer from Matthew Thomas:
Matthew  Thomas
Hi Dalia. Thanks for such an interesting question. I'm tempted to say it was tea that got me going when I was down, because there's more than a little truth in that statement, but a less cheeky answer is that I tried to focus on whatever task was nex See Matthew’s answer.
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We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew  Thomas
We Are Not Ourselves
by Matthew Thomas (Goodreads Author)
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I don't know how I missed this book when I was reading everything I could about dementia the last few years, since I have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. I wrote a book about my dementia, and Matthew Thomas was kind enough to read it and se ...more
Gerda Saunders is finished with We Are Not Ourselves: I finished the book a week or so ago. It had a powerful effect on me, since I myself have early-onset dementia. I will say more in my review below.
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew  Thomas
We Are Not Ourselves
by Matthew Thomas (Goodreads Author)
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Gerda Saunders wants to read
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
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More of Gerda's books…
“I have sucked into my lungs molecules from not only the last breath of animals and people I have loved, but also from their exhalations at any of the moments I choose from their biographies: Marissa’s and Newton’s first yells after gulping air for the first time; Peter’s wholehearted “Ja” on our wedding day; my mother’s pant-pant-blows as she labored to push me into the world;”
Gerda Saunders, Memory's Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia

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message 1: by April

April So glad to see you've found goodreads! It's been a great way to keep in touch with my reading (writing) friends!


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