On my list of films to re-watch is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (French original: Le Scaphandre et le Papillon), based on the book by the same name, written by Jean-Dominique Bauby (1952–1997). He was the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine.
In this book, Bauby reminds us that whatever circumstances, the mind is free like a butterfly, even if the body is locked inside a diving bell. He would know better than most of us, his circumstances being as they were. A massive stroke left him with locked-in syndrome, physically paralyzed and only able to communicate by blinking his left eye. That’s how he dictated his memoirs, his “bedridden travel notes,” blink by blink, four hours a day for ten months. 200,000 blinks, an average of two minutes per word, 29 chapters, 130+ pages. He composed and memorized the text before each writing session: “In my head I churn over every sentence ten times, delete a word, add an adjective, and learn my text by heart, paragraph by paragraph.”
Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the book was published in France.
I love this snippet from the prologue:
“My diving bell becomes less oppressive, and my mind takes flight like a butterfly. There is so much to do. You can wander off in space or in time, set out for Tierra del Fuego or for King Midas’s court. You can visit the woman you love, slide down beside her and stroke her still-sleeping face. You can build castles in Spain, steal the Golden Fleece, discover Atlantis, realize your childhood dreams and adult ambitions.”
The creative force inside us is truly amazing. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is on the top 25 list of my favorite movies about writing.
May the new year find you expressing yourself to the fullest, creating cities and streets and magic worlds full of life, and penning tales that touch hearts, leave a smile on the reader’s face, and even transform minds when harsh winds blow. Because words matter. Art matters.
One way to repurpose blog content that would otherwise just sit there is to create a Christmas calendar. So that’s what I did. One snippet from here, a quote from there… Since I mostly write about writing, “Musing on Writing” was an obvious theme for me and my cal.
In the clip below, the great Stan Lee talks about writing, characters, dialogs, and much more. A fly crawling on the wall gave him the idea to create a superhero who could stick to walls and ceilings like an insect. But what to name him? Insect-Man? Mosquito-Man? It became Spider-Man, of course.
With the leaves starting to fall, here are three autumnal pieces that popped up in my social media feeds.
Irish poet Pat Ingoldsby is known for taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary, in this case a single leaf in a tree outside his house. “All the other leaves are gone are you are still there.”
Help authors through the colder months, cartoonist and illustrator Tom Gauld says with this illustration, created for Guardian Review: