The former U.S. football player composed "' A Life Impossible,''  about living with A.L.S. for 13 years, by '' typing '' with his eyes. '' To relive the most lacerating and vulnerable times of my life,'' he writes, '' took an extraordinary amount of trust.''

.-  What book do you turn to during hard times?

Viktor Frankl's " Man's Search for Meaning.''  There were a couple of years, as I was losing the ability to move, talk and breathe, that I felt so lonely, ashamed and weary that I was ready to give up and die. His words helped me choose life.

.-  What did it take to write a nearly 300-page book?

In a word .......... everything. I type with my eyes, letter by letter, so to write this, it took a physical toll to write for several hours each day for two years.

It took patience and discipline. People often talk about '' writer's block,'' but I think I experienced something of the opposite thousands of times over the past couple years.

Ordinary writers may have a wonderful idea to get on the page, then they quickly write it down. But I type so slowly that the wonderful idea that was so vivid and clear eventually slipped into the fog as I trudged and typed.

It also took an emotional toll. To relive the most lacerating and vulnerable times, then to share those experiences in a raw, truthful human way, rather than a heroic way, took an extraordinary amount of trust.

It's clear to me that sharing our shortcomings and weaknesses with each other is our greatest strength. Our salvation.

.-  Why do you describe yourself as afraid to finish it?

There were multiple reasons. Unlike most authors, I'm not able to scroll through a chapter to revise or edit.

I have bragged on social media, '' I get more done in one day than most people get done in 15 minutes!'' So, during the end of the writing process, there was fear that I would lose the input I needed to tell our story fully and truthfully.

Michel and I took some enormous risks in openly and transparently sharing our journey as a couple during the dark traumas of life with A.L.S. 

When you read the searing experience that we have been through, you may feel kind of like you're overhearing conversations you shouldn't be hearing. 

But these difficult, truthful and compassionate conversations were our redemption, and our healing. I also took some personal risk in sharing my fairly unconventional views on religion and spirituality.

I think the most frightening aspect may be that once published, my life story would become solid, static and fixed. That is so crazy to me, because, as a lifelong explorer, my perspectives, philosophical outlooks, and beliefs are dynamic and fluid.

.-  The last book that made you cry?

'' I Wish for You, '' by David Wax and illustrated by Brett Blumenthal. During spring break, as our daughter nestled beside me in bed, our caregiver, Jenni, read from the book. 

It lists about a dozen of the most important values that I aspire to embody and instill in our kids. Witnessing Gray following along with her tiny finger, I was overwhelmed by the miraculousness of the moment. 

Despite being 10 years past my expiration date, here I was, sharing a cherished reading experience.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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