Today is the seven year anniversary of my stroke. Seven years ago this morning I lay terrified in a hospital bed, unable to move the left side of my body. Today I’m here, releasing a new design, about to finish one book and start another, able to walk, to drive, and to swim again. I live a good life: making things that I enjoy and running my own creative enterprise here in this lovely part of Scotland with my man and my dog. I know with no small degree of certainty that for me this is a better place, a better life, than the one I was living prior to my stroke. Was my stroke, then, a good thing? Was it (as people often feel compelled tell me) “meant to be”? Absolutely not. For if anything has reaffirmed my conviction in the randomness and raw brutality of life it was that event. There is nothing “good” about being suddenly disabled, and my stroke was most definitely not my destiny. Life is adventitious; it has no pre-determined narrative, but a rupture in the narrative might open the possibility of its re-writing. This is how I see what’s happened in the past seven years, and today seems a good a day as any to begin to try to explain that. So this morning I’m sitting down and starting to write a different sort of book.
I’d be grateful to hear any thoughts and suggestions you might have. Are there particular questions you’d like me to answer or themes you’d be interested I explore? What autobiographical writing have you particularly enjoyed? Are there any books, essays or articles you feel it might be useful for me to read (new research in academic journals is particularly welcome). (I’ve read lots of Oliver Sacks and find much of his writing troublingly exploitative, so please don’t feel the need to mention him!)