Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Write when you can, and feel lucky you're able

I was frustrated.

I couldn't figure out some aspects of the newest Word program, and the piece of fiction I was trying to write wasn't turning out the way I planned. The computer was annoying; my words sounded stupid and trite. I was about to give up; maybe try again later.

 And then I remembered Susan Spencer-Wendel.

Have you heard of her? She's a former journalist and author of the bestselling book, "Until I Say Goodbye: My Year of Living with Joy," the heartbreaking yet inspiring account of how she spent a year - the only healthy one she had left - after being diagnosed with ALS, a neuromuscular disorder often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Wendel's book details how she spent a year embracing life with her family and friends and doing her best to live in the moment.

ALS is particularly cruel - it robs your body of its mobility bit by bit while your mind stays sharp and aware. Susan wrote her book, all 89,000 words of it, with her right thumb, using an iPhone when her fingers began dragging over the touchscreen of her iPad.

She finished it in four months, knowing her deadline was non-negotiable.

"Such is the power of desire," she said.

I fired up my computer and started over, feeling incredibly lucky to have the opportunity.

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