It has been more than a week since I have picked up a pen and written something. I get in moods; not bad moods – just moods – about writing, talking to others, making phone calls, exercising, etc. etc. I know (if I want to regain some writing skills) I should write every day. Most days this past week I either read or just stared at the ceiling, thinking: I should get up and do some writing – but didn’t. Last night, while laying in bed reading a magazine I came across an article that so inspired me that had my room-mate not been sleeping, I would have hopped up and wrote.
The article was a one-page essay written by Bernadine Healey, M.D., in the US News and World Report, about and 80 year old man named Art Buchwald, a very famous author, columnist and humorist for the Chicago Tribune, who had been hospitalized several months earlier and given only weeks to live by his doctor. They had amputated one of his legs and he had been placed on a dialysis machine because of kidney failure.
Mr. Buchwald decided he didn’t want to die this way, hooked up to machines, in hospital, so he ordered his treatment stopped and asked ot go to a hospice to die in peace.
The strangest thing happened though – his kidneys began to function without the need for dialysis and his general health and spirits improved. After a month or two in hospice he decided to move back to his home and write a book about his experience, and six months later the book was released and has become a best seller! (“Too Soon to Say Goodbye.”)
His story has become an inspiration to me. Before I broke down with this illness I was more than 60 pages into a novel I was writing and now I’m going to dig it out and finish it.
And you must be getting tired of hearing me write about the novel I wrote almost five years ago – The Great Plane Robbery” and getting it published. I haven’t made any effort to get it in print – not because it’s not a good book, it is – I’ve just been concentrating on selling my autobiography. It’s all that we can handle at this particular time (but I intend to do something with it soon).
I spoke to an old friend this past week on the telephone: Willy Stewart. He’s my oldest friend. He and I grew up in the same Preston Street area: he on Elm Street at the corner of Booth Street, and me on Preston Street at the corner of Elm Street. He’s 70 years old now – he probably doesn’t want me to mention that – with some health problems. He sounded pretty chipper! I can’t go into detail about the things we were involved in over the years, suffice to say they were interesting. There was a time when we had our fingers into everything (back in the 60s and 70s and 80s).
Gotta go – I’ll get this in the mail.
(November 18, 2006)
RESPONSES TO LETTERS AND COMMENTS:
MIKE CAIN: Thanks for staying in touch. I haven’t been a whiz with my letter writing lately, hoping my emails will make up for it.But I can’t get enough said in these. That’s very kind of you, Mike, for your offer of help for my son, Richard. We’ll see! That’s interesting: You made a DVD about my escapades. Kevin has kept all those tapes over the years, maybe he hasn’t got one that you have or vice-versa.
FRAN TREMBLAY: Thanks Fran. But it’s really not the Canadian Judicial system that’s the problem, I’m sure Canada will take me back – they’ve already indicated that they would years ago. It’s the U.S. Judicial system that keeps saying “NO”. Thanks for your wishes for me and my son.
FIONA: Thanks for your comments about my book. I love to hear how much people love it. Capones Restaurant has sold 100’s of them for me, more than any book store. They have been good to me. They are great people. It’s a great restaurant, I’m told.
MAUREEN CREIGHTON: Hank was 54 back in 1974, Maureen. But years don’t mean anything. I received photos of Hank and he’s still the same as I remember him in 1974 – he keeps himself spiffy! Thank you for the “Backward” ageing thing, I enjoyed it!
HANK REID: Good to hear from you, Old Friend. We go way back, don’t we? They were good days – few bad. A belated Happy Birthday, Pal.P.S. I hope you enjoyed the article by Jeff Bell “When Van Sings Moondance”. Jeff is my Palliative Care worker. He’s a wonderful guy and a great writer.