Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh My Lord, I've written a book

As a child I used to go through novels very quickly. There was something about the experience that I can't describe. For me it wasn't simply about the stories, about the words that triggered my imagination. It was the smell, the quality of the paper, the size and the color of the print. Some of them were older than me, older than my parents and there was something exciting about holding a piece of work that generations have enjoyed before me. I was also fascinated by the whole process of putting a book together. Working with text and knowing when it's done. And the amount of talent and imagination that inspired people to say "I have a book in me", years, decades, centuries before everybody could easily print anything they wanted cheaply and in lot of cases didn't even need to print anymore. We communicate quicker, we write faster, who needs a book anymore? I will not write something as trivial as books were my only friends growing up, as I had plenty of both books and friends. Yet, I spent a lot of time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers as a child. Novels made the time pass faster, made it more exiting and less depressing, especially close to night time. At home I had a strict bedtime. You couldn't even have a discussion about it with my mother, which I guess may be a story for another time. The only time she would budge or negotiate with me was when I said "ten more pages". Yes, a printed book is a different animal to me than an e-book or a blog. And I may not have a million dollar contract with HarperCollins, but I was amazed when I first saw my words on papers. Not because what I write is in my mind that amazing, that's the point. It read like somebody else's words. What I submitted as a collection of random Blog postings felt like a story. It was coherent, it made sense. Somehow Andrew Sutton made it work with his editing and that first night I wouldn't put it down. It was on paper, it was on print, it had pictures and covers. Apparently I made it. But I was reading it as I had never seen it before. I met Andrew earlier in the day when I bumped into me at a restaurant and he gave me a sample copy. Apparently he already confused me with another person and wanted to give him the book instead. The next day he was introducing it at a small and intimate book presentation when he asked me to say a few words. At that time my wheelchair was falling apart, I was just off my antibiotics and half-sick in the cold city in Munich. As my dad was playing around with adjusting my sit that day it was tipping over and my knees felt higher than my head. And yet I felt like I was doing something right, like I was making it despite a less-than-ideal scenario and here I was, arriving at the scene with a book, my book, titled accordingly, "Never, never quit". I didn't get a dime for it and all proceeds will benefit Cerebral Palsy related causes in the UK, and still I'm incredibly proud for all the work we've collectively put into this project. So, if you are curious, pick up a copy.

1 comment:

  1. It is not for me to say anything here about this book, except that it was a pleasure to work on. But I would like to repeat the recent words of Ruth Durr, parent and CE-activist in Germany, who has written to me –

    'I already bought this book and it makes me think every day. I am very interested in his thoughts, notices and how he is referring to his life with cerebral palsy and I'm following his blog. Everyone who is in any way in touch with cerebral palsy or any other disability should follow these precious notes.'

    I have also seen what another very critical and self-critical parent, Norman Perrin ('a mere Dad... not a paragon of perfection') wrote as a Comment to your previous posting (12 November).

    You set a high bar for parents – and for a whole army of would-be 'experts' in bringing up and educating disabled children. Nothing wrong with that, on the contrary, there should be much more of it. I can but repeat and emphasise your concluding advice –

    'So, if you are curious, pick up a copy.'