Looking Up to Michael

May 1, 2009

Michael J. Fox is the kind of person who makes people feel good just by walking into a room.

In 2002 I delighted in reading Fox’s memoir, Lucky Man, which recounted his childhood and charmed career, his exit from alcoholism, entrance into Parkinson’s and exit from TV acting, and did it all with an extraordinary grace, charm and utter authenticity.

Now I’m reading his follow-up, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. (Early on he says, “As the title for this new book, Always Looking Up works on a couple of levels. First off—let’s just get this one out of the way—it’s a short joke.”)

I love this guy — love him. His energy, his honesty, his passion, his humility, his devotion, his self-deprecation. His delight in life and language.

And let’s put this point on that sentence: the man has no ghost writer. There’s no JDM skulking in his literary shadows: the dude writes his own stuff, word for word—and he’s a master.

“Sometimes people ask me my secret to a long and happy marriage … [Here it is:] Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty.”

“Was there enough of me left to be the man that up until now I had never known I wanted to be?”

There is a sheer delight in the writing, in the words, in the crafting and tossing of phrases, in the act of writing, that is both exuberant and exhilarating.

I have the full unabridged book on my Kindle, and am soaring through an abridged audio version in my car with Michael himself working his way through each lovingly crafted paragraph, which is a special joy.

And now that I say that, you know, I think I know what it is I love so much about Michael’s writing: it betrays his sheer delight in the act of living. I think, that’s what I want to be and do when I grow up — or don’t.

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  1. Journal of John David Mann » Blog Archive » What I’m Reading - [...] reading Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox; I write about that one here. What an inspiring author! I…

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