February 27, 2024

"What to do after spilling your guts in a memoir?" (The challenge? 150 words. No more. No less.)

 

What to Do After Spilling Your Guts in a Memoir

The ending starts a new beginning

Color picture of “My Stroke in the Fast Lane” book cover shows distant shot of a suspension bridge
Photo by Author

I just finished writing my memoir, “My Stroke in the Fast Lane: A Journey to Recovery. I’ve been told that once you’ve written a book, there are feelings of “What do I do now?”

Is it despondency? A big let-down? Yes and no. When I have my wits together, I feel proud that the six years of the practically full-time writing project is f-i-n-i-s-h-e-d. That there is a book! With chapters! And Acknowledgements!

Then I think back to the days and nights writing, and 24-hour obsession with the title alone. Does this work? Is this one better? What about keywords? Do I continue even though it’s flippin’ difficult after having a stroke?

For inspiration along the way, I have a magnet from Strand Bookstore on my desk. “Keep Calm and Write On.” Okay. Fine, but . . .

What do I do next?





Bonni Brodnick
The Shortform

Writer. Creative. Thinker. Humorist. Author of "My Stroke in the Fast Lane" + "Pound Ridge Past." A proud Stroke Survivor. Visit me at bonnibrodnick.com





February 23, 2024

Interview on "My Stroke in the Fast Lane" appears in Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health "Notebook Express"


I am thrilled that my interview with Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health appears in "Notebook Express,"  a bimonthly newsletter to all of their incredible team members. 



February 19, 2024

William Shakespeare & 5 Words of Inspiration


 Amidst the breathtaking stained glass windows at Westminster Abbey, this one stood out:

 WE FEW. WE HAPPY FEW. 

Stop to think about everything that graces your life. After the stroke, I am grateful for everything, including being here this very second, writing to you, and sharing my words. It's a miracle that I am here! I am surely one of the few.



February 13, 2024

London: National Portrait Gallery: SOHO GEORGE looks dapper as ever

Just back from a trip to London. This gentleman was too good to pass by. We started chatting and he immediately opened his jacket:  SOHO GEORGE. I picked one of the coolest dudes to talk with at the National Portrait Gallery. 

"I design all of my clothes, which are made by my tailor, Tony Phillips. He does a  beautiful job," George said. 

"May I take your picture?"

"Certainly."

He straightened his tie and took this wonderful fashionista pose. ("Must be someone famous," I thought. "He took this pose so naturally.")

Came home to our flat and found this article in LDN NEWS, by Martin Elvery:

"The 1960s London legend 'Soho George', 80, who still wears dapper suits and struts around the West End

You'll see him wearing stunning suits around Soho, but there's much more to the man than meets the eye

He's George Skeggs, AKA Soho George, a great grandfather who struts local cafes and bars decked out in his signature blue/grey checked suit, Bolero style hat ... and dig the shoes!


"I walk four miles a day round here," George said in his Cockney accent. "I go into the Royal Academy, the bookshops. I used to always say to my daughter, 'If I don't go out, nothing happens."

Well, it happened to me. I was struck by George's originality, his suave gestures and confidence, and his strong sense of self. And he's flippin' 80 years old!!

You gotta love it.


February 9, 2024

RIVER JOURNAL coverage of "My Stroke in the Fast Lane"



ARTS & CULTURE

Local Authors. Local Books: My Stroke in the Fast Lane: A Journey to Recovery

‘With this book, I want to share the importance of staying motivated, persevering, and being a person with positivity, optimism, and grace.’ Photo supplied

It was Easter Sunday morning. I was picking up my mother in Westport, Connecticut, to bring her back to Tarrytown for Easter dinner. This was the first time I was driving her to our house. At 86, visually impaired and deaf in one ear, my two siblings and I put the kibosh on her driving. What if – God forbid – she had an accident and killed someone? The family couldn’t bear the thought of it, especially with my son getting married that year.  

On the return to Tarrytown, my mother and I chatted about wedding plans. What to wear? Yep, I had the quintessential dress for a June afternoon country wedding. Even had the shoes: slingback kitten heels with diamonds and pearls on the vamp, in the exact blue and yellow print on leather as my dress. (How do they do that?) 

The lovely mother-daughter banter ensued. Then, only 10 minutes into the ride, while driving 65 miles per hour on I-95, I looked down at my right hand trembling on the console between us. I heard my mother shriek in the distance.  

Bonni! 

As the car barreled down the highway, my gaze remained fixated on my hand.  My mother began to panic.  

Bonni, pull over! Pull over! 

She grabbed the wheel, veered it hard right, and crashed us into a guardrail. I was one of the more than 795,000 people a year in the United States to suffer a stroke. 

I was taken to Stamford Hospital in critical condition and given a tPA, or tissue Plasminogen Activator. It didn’t work. I was soon transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital, which had a more advanced neurology center. My condition remained critical: My heartbeat was 30 beats per minute, with occasional eight-second pauses in between. I was teetering between life and death. 

Brodnick spent two weeks at Phelps Hospital where she underwent physical and occupational therapy (PT and OT) and speech therapy. Photo supplied

The accident made my words vanish and my thoughts confused. I was left unable to walk, talk, or swallow. But since waking up in the ICU, I felt determined to tell my story and what it’s like to be inside of someone who had a stroke. As a writer, I had to find the strength to voice my journey, hoping it would inspire others. 

I am lucky. Most people don’t think I had a stroke, although my vision is double with ghost images. I have right-side weakness, which affects the tremor in my hand when writing or eating (especially soup). Mild aphasia stilts my conversation.  

But I am blessed with an inner strength. It doesn’t always work together as smoothly with the awkwardness I often feel with my outer physical being, but I accept my vulnerabilities.  

I wrote My Stroke in the Fast Lane: A Journey to Recovery for anyone who has ever endured not only a medical emergency but any experience that requires strength to go forward. With this book, I want to share the importance of staying motivated, persevering, and being a person with positivity, optimism, and grace.  

Live each day as if something dire awaits you, like a stroke. Like me, you could be driving along the highway and … 

.  .  .

My Stroke in the Fast Lane: A Journey to Recovery is available at your favorite bookstore and on Amazon. 

Bonni Brodnick is also the author of Pound Ridge Past. Formerly with Glamour and House & Garden magazines, she has written scripts for Children’s Television Workshop and is a member of the Pound Ridge Author Society. She lives with her husband Andrew in Tarrytown.

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