Monday, September 9, 2013

The Intro.

It's official: The introductory paragraph to my upcoming book: "Never, never quit". It's edited from my earlier writings, but it's what I submitted to the good folks editing my publication in the UK. Also, I wasn't quite up for writing an original piece for today, so forgive me, if only because it's Monday.

I never wanted to write a book about myself. I don't think I'm that interesting, I don't think I'm worthy. Perhaps one day when I'll accomplish something extraordinary I'll earn a right to write and publish my memoirs. Don't discount me yet, I'm a body of progress. Yes, I have a story- but so does everybody else. Each of our lives is a fascinating journey. No one's is better than the others. Yet, everyone these days seems to be writing a book. Some people even write books about their experiences with books written by other people. I remember reading about a man who followed every advice from Oprah Winfrey's guide to a better life and then published a volume of his own. Recently I watched a segment about a woman who followed Martha Stewart's tips for a year and then decided it's interesting enough to share it with an audience. Yes, I could write a book about how my parents fought hard, against the communist system to make me better. Or about what it's like to have this disability and be in a wheelchair all day. But then, I have long struggled to have Cerebral Palsy not be the one thing that defines me. If I'm ever worthy of a book, it will be because of what I accomplish, not because of who and what I am. I see a growing trend among people with disabilities to sit down and publish their stories- printed books, e-books, you name it. Everybody is writing something, but just because you have been through something it doesn't mean it needs to end up on coffee tables. I don't think I'm special, I'm just living my life. I don't think I'm unique- I have Cerebral Palsy and I think I'm making the best out of a situation I didn't choose for myself. I think in general people write too much and don't read enough. And then- they don't simply live enough. Live for themselves, rather than looking for a crazy new literature ideas.

Yet, when Andrew Sutton asked me about extracting some of my blogposts for a book  about Conductive Education, my years in Budapest and the aftermath- I agreed. I will not be writing a new book to boost my ego. This will be a collection of my musings on rehabilitation, growing up with Cerebral Palsy and what I remember from my childhood- things I have already written. He sees value in bringing it to a larger audience- while I wouldn't think of  it myself. As I go back and forth on my blog between my childhood and adulthood  and how they're connected, they have selected about a quarter, a third of my writings for the publication through Conductive Education Press in the UK. My posts were never a journal- I jump through time, themes and concepts often within a single text and I'm not sure how they will be able to put it together to have a coherent narrative or a flow. My blog is never simply about one thing or another. Sometimes I write about things that don't go well with anything else. One day it's about my childhood. The other - about something that happened on the street, the statement I'm making, the idea that I got on a walk or the coffee maker that I bought. Yet, through my years of rehabilitation, what it was then, what means now and I have reflected on it I've gained a perspective that perhaps parents of children with Cerebral Palsy can find useful. Because nobody ever thinks about what it's like to be the child. I also thought about to what extent can you separate those aspects of my story from everything else. Would you still have an undistorted picture without all the context that makes me who I am? Will people understand me and can it be a compelling read? The Conductive Education Press will provide only slight editing to the material. I'm a bit curious how one can make it work. Currently at 40 thousand words it's expected to include pictures and other artifacts from my life. It's not a biography. Just a collection of pieces of mind, memories, opinions at the time they were written. Some concepts I've revisited and restated when I wanted to make sure some ideas came across properly. My first book. But how do you pick a title? How do you choose the right pictures? What can I say. I'm a busy bee. Between the very few clients I've been dealing with, an opposing counsel whose filings forced me to redo a month's worth of work and saying good bye in a meaningful manner to the cast of our visiting summer musical, there was one more thing I needed to get to. As I go forward clearing pressing matters off my desk this was one of the things I actually dread it. As the time approaches for me to head over to Germany to talk about my life with Cerebral Palsy, it will also mark the release date of my book. My first and most likely only contribution to the world of literature. The thing seems to be coming together. I've seen the manuscript. It actually looks like something you could put on your table. But there was one essential ingredient missing. The title. I wanted something that would make a statement. That would speak volumes about me when you looked at the cover. No pressure. Just something as simple as all that I am about, what the purpose of it was and why this was put together. I still have my reservations about this publication and how it flows. I fear that when you read it, given how random it is and how tied to the frame of mind I was in while writing every bit it will not make much sense. It is not a book I've written is a sense of sitting down and committing words to paper. It doesn't have the continuity of an autobiography or a novel. The bits and pieces are selections from my blog with hardly any introduction or transition between the pieces. I needed a title that reflect that. A collection of thoughts rather than a homogeneous volume. Two people have sent me the ideas I liked the most. I wanted to somewhat combine them. Susie Mallet liked the title of my blog and a brief comment I made about my blog and how I see it as a collection of states of mind. Andrew Sutton suggested "Never, never quit" which is lifted from a title of one of my postings. Funny thing- I read it on a Monster Energy drink can. But it does tell my story and in ways is my motto. My life in so many ways has always been about trying harder, reaching further, fighting, kicking and screaming, not taking no for an answer, getting in through the window when they show you the door. And my true belief that if you stick through it long enough, people, things and events will come into line. Everyone will see your true colors, because who you are is always enough. So: Here it is. A title. Too long to fit in a Twitter message, yet I'm very pleased with it. I hope you will be as well.


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