8/21/2007

My Virtual Brush With Fame - The Glenda Watson Hyatt Book Tour

Another 110 degree day here in the Valley of the Sun, which means it's 47 degrees in my office. I step outside for a few minutes to thaw out, and I imagine myself driving along the Apache Trail on the way to Lake Roosevelt.

This is my favorite stretch: Fish Creek Hill. If you look closely, you'll see that here the Trail is a one-lane dirt road with plywood guard rails. What you can't tell from the picture is that it drops at a 10 degree grade. That might not seem like a big number, but picture in your mind the steepest road you've ever driven on. Now make it 40% steeper! That's a ten degree grade.

Did I mention that traffic flows in both directions on the one lane dirt plume of terror? There are occasional places to pull over and let oncoming traffic pass, and it's always exciting getting close to that guard rail to squeeze by...

In one of those alcoves I notice a red Ferrari convertible with a flat tire. I stop and ask the woman in the driver's seat "would you like some help with that flat, ma'am?"

"I'll do it myself", she answers with a smile.

Wow! She's got moxey. I know I've seen that smile before, but where?

"Hey, are you Glenda Watson Hyatt?" I call out.

"Ta!Da! In person," she exclaims.

I'd met Glenda several months before via the blogosphere. She was wickedly funny, and only after I'd gotten to know her delightful personality did I learn that she has cerebral palsy and communicates with the world through her left thumb. But that hasn't stopped her from living an amzaing life, which she has chronicled in an equally amazing book entitled I'll Do It Myself (click the link to learn more).

"May I ask you a few questions about your book, Glenda?" I inquired.

"Of course", she replied.


Everyone writes a book with someone in mind. Sometimes we write for ourselves, and sometimes we write with a specific person in mind. Who did you write your book for?

First, and foremost, I wrote the book for youth and young adults with cerebral palsy and other disabilities to motivate, to inspire and to share how I have navigated life.

Secondly, I wrote it for parents, who, after having their bundle of joy gently placed in their awaiting arms, are given the devastating news their baby has cerebral palsy. In an instant, their hopes and dreams for their child, as well as for their family, are smashed. I hope this book offers a glimmer of hope for these parents, as well as for the siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I want to show that life can still be meaningful, despite cerebral palsy.

Lastly, I hope the book will enable doctors and medical professionals to see beyond the diagnosis, the prognosis and the can’ts, and see the patient as a person filled with capabilities, potential and desires. However, that may be expecting far too much from only one book!


I know that this is an autobiography, but were there any surprises or revelations for you during the writing process?

Yes, there were a few surprises and some parts were hard to write. One was surprise was regarding my Grade 7 teacher. He had some unusual teaching methods; let's simply say his contract was not renewed. However, despite him not being my favourite teacher, while I was writing the book, I found myself owing him some gratitude because he encouraged my writing. Perhaps he saw potential and knew that writing would have to play an important part in my life.


If you could pick any actress in film history to play you in the movie version of the book, who would it be, and why?

This is a question I've actually discussed with my good friend Penny (www.1stpod.com); adapting my book into a screen play is part of my long-term vision. In fact, it has just become my next big dream as I am writing this!

Julia Roberts is my first choice. Her fun-loving, bubbly personality is a perfect match. And she already has the red hair!

However, it really annoys me when people with disabilities typically aren't played by actors and actresses with disabilities. It reminds me of Shakespearean times when female roles were played by boys and young men. For this reason, I'd be honoured to have Geri Jewell (http://www.gerijewell.com/), the first actress with a disability to land a recurring role on a prime time series, play me.

[I was thinking a young Lucille Ball, but Geri works for me!]


What surprises people most about your story?

I think most people are surprised by how much I have done, even though I have a physical disability. [For me it was her incredible resilience!]


You are participating in the Blog for a Year contest, trying to win a salary to blog for a year. How can people help you, and what is the best reason to do so?

People can offer their support by voting daily (http://blogforayear.com/profiles/glenda-watson-hyatt); from home and work or school would be awesome. They can also spread the word by posting a badge on their site or blog and blogging about it. If they are on Facebook, they are welcome to join my fan club (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2378349797). If they twitter, please tweet often. Your support in spreading the word is much appreciated.

Winning, particularly if the contributions reach the full amount of $160,000 (http://blogforayear.com/), means I could focus on blogging (www.doitmyselfblog.com), which has opened a whole new world to me, and enables me to communicate and share my story with people from around the world. Winning would also enable me to get off social assistance, which is my goal. Thanks so much. Together I know I can climb to #1(http://blogforayear.com/profiles)!



Suddenly my Blackberry started vibrating and I was once again back at work, reading an important message from a colleague [Did I want to grab lunch at Chotchkie's?]. I really wanted to ask Glenda how she got all the way from Saskatchewan to Arizona in one day, but then I figured it was Glenda and it was a Ferrari 360 Spyder. What more explanation was needed?

You can follow the rest of Glenda's Summer Sojourn Virtual Book tour at her blog. And don't forget to vote for Glenda in the Blog for a Year contest!

Enjoy the rest of your sojourn, Glenda!


Photo from Risk's Ultralight Hiking Page, where you can see many breathtaking photos from the trail.

Bonus: video of the first part of the downhill run.



posted by Mike at 12:47 PM


7 Comments:

Blogger Karen said...

This was a delightful read!

7:09 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Karen,

Thank you for the kind words. I hope it was half as fun to read as it was to write!

I noticed from your profile you live in Chicagoland. Where exactly? I lived in Cary for seven years.

Mike

8:34 PM  
Blogger meikek said...

Mike...
I loved this very much. I have been friends with Glenda since highschool. They way you write made me feel as though you really met Glenda in person...that the events really took place.
Thanks!
Cheers,
Meike

9:14 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Awesome interview!

Looks like Glenda is going to be putting on alot of miles!

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Glenda Watson Hyatt said...

Thanks Mike for a wonderful experience! One I will remember for quite a while -- and each time I do, I'll giggle. Thank you.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Meike,

What luck to have been friends with Glenda all these years! Thanks for stopping by.

Mike

7:17 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Karla,

Thanks, and I hope the rest of Glenda's trip is smooth sailing!

Mike

7:19 AM  

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