The digital book, I Close My Eyes To See by Dan Rhema and Kevin Wilson, is a both a visual and verbal guide to Dan’s near-death experience due to Dengue fever that he contracted while in Mexico. Dan sustained neurological damage, which affects his memory, sensory processing and sense of reality. However, his illness also left him with a compulsive need to create artwork, something he had not done since he was a child, helping him to make sense of his past and present experiences.
This book captures the imagination—especially for those of us who are interested in a first person perspective of neurological illness, the road to recovery and coping through the use of art. It reminds us that “life finds a way”, a common theme in Dan’s artwork, which brings hope to anyone experiencing a similar injury, family members, friends and those who work with this population.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge Dan’s courageousness. Due to the dual modes of story telling, through words and art, Dan’s struggle is felt deeply and is clearly a genuine self-exploration. One does not come across such authentic pieces of art often, which makes this book a wonderful find.