you willing to say what forced your retirement?
A: "Life is what happens to us while we're
making other plans," as the saying goes. Between 1983 and 1992,
I suffered a fractured spine, concussive brain injury, a broken
nose and elbow and leg, and finally a stroke. I kept traveling
and speaking until 1995, when my body gave out and the doctors
told me I had to quit.
Longfellow Reads Longfellow
Q: You don't look
or speak like a stroke victim with a broken back.
A: Well, thank you, but that's the difference
between looking at this body and living in it. I have to say,
though, that the same foolhardiness that got me into trouble has
brought me this far back. I refused to give up, to stay down.
And I had phenomenal disability insurance that supported my pursuit
of recovery and rehabilitation. I'm eternally grateful for that;
otherwise, all the places and people and coincidences that led
to this work would not have been. I was seeking the recovery of
health and found the rehabilitation of purpose.
Q: It is remarkable
how this has unfolded.
A: I don't know how metaphysical to get
here, but it has been a series of coincidences, of synchronicities,
what some would call the support of the universe. It's been a
wondrous process, and poetry is part of it. You asked me, "Why
read Longfellow?" His poems engage the mind, ease the heart, and
nourish the soul. How could that not help to heal the body?
"Longfellow Reads Longfellow"
Longfellow at Christmas in Cambridge, Massachusetts
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