I am writing a book with my grown daughter Molly, and because over a hundred people contributed to a writing grant for me, we can dedicate ourselves to finishing it by the end of the year.
It's the gift of a lifetime.
My vote about whether I deserve this or not doesn't count. I have Parkinson's and it has made my medium- and long-term abilities uncertain. So the deal is simple: the money they raised permits me to take off weeks at a time, for what will become the majority of the rest of the year, in order to finish.
This is an honor I will repay with my best effort.
It is many gifts, it turns out. I get to write with my daughter. How cool is that? We get to understand how we got here, how we overcame things that will be painful to read about. We have remembered wonderful things, long forgotten. For the sake of the book I called my dad, after waiting ten years for him to call me, and I told him everything I ever wanted to say, without rage or cruelty. I called my older brother and we reconciled, after a thirty year hiatus.
I see my PD in a new way. I see myself and all of humanity in a new and more positive light.
We are far along, with over 40,00 words. I have learned this: a great book is a labyrinth we enter, lose ourselves in, and emerge from changed – and to write a great book requires intense concentration. I find I am up to it. I am a natural-born Minotaur, and Theseus as well, sly and brave, and I am also the stolen youth with crushed garlands, rescuing himself from darkness and sacrifice. I was born for this, it turns out, the most challenging and thrilling work I have ever done.
I have to go write now.
The site that they all used to accomplish this miracle. (IndieGoGo)
Some samples of the book in progress:
Nikki and Molly at the Mohonk Open Salon Writing Retreat, 2010