Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Screw Bronze

I got distracted from my own blogging by a stunning and terrifying blog by someone whom I first accused of being nothing like me, but the more I read the more she is like me. I've been barely keeping a day ahead of posting about the North Carolina trip -- ask John, he's the one who has been receiving chapters to censor as little as an hour before the post goes out. It might be a while before I catch up with writing my own adventures. It might be a while before you want to read mine again, after reading Elizabeth's.

Elizabeth McClung is a Canadian, but she refuses to fall into the national characteristic of settling for third place. She survived some very dark childhood chapters, wrote an award-winning novel, excelled as an amateur epeeist, fell prey to a bizarre and inexplicable disabling condition, took up boxing (yes, in that order), went to Japan, and now endeavours to send postcards to everyone who needs them. There's a tiny Flowers for Algernon feel to some entries, as you get to read first hand accounts from an off-the-charts intelligence on what it's like to lose temporal lobe function.

She's also aiming to keep breathing almost twenty-four hours a day. Most people would include that last one in their goals, if prompted, but few people have to work as hard at it as Elizabeth does. Most people would be dead if they had to. She goes at everything about 150% harder than I do, such that when she was told to get an electric wheelchair because she didn't have the physical capacity for a manual one, she got a manual one and started competing in 10 km races. If I pushed as hard as she does I'd be flying the Space Shuttle by now. All the life lessons in the blog can be overwhelming, but it's readable and hilarious (remember the bit about award-winning novelist) and I've also discovered that people who love goth and animé aren't as different from me as I thought, and I can handle that one. Who even knew there was Goth Hello Kitty?

I know if you've been on the net as long as I have you've heard this one before, but Elizabeth is not a little boy named Craig trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. She is a real person, feeling a little cut off from the world because she doesn't get outside much anymore. So here's my Christmas request: Read enough of her blog to get a little feel for her as a person. It doesn't really matter if you read the early entries full of epee fighting and praise for her novel, the newest entries about the Olympic Torch relay and badminton, or something in between: she's the same person throughout. Some of the entries are about dying in horrible pain, but not so many as you might expect from someone who is doing exactly that. If you like her, send her a postcard to say hi, or some stickers, cards or stamps (U.S. or Canadian) that she can use for her project. When she approved my posting her mailing address she insisted that I let you know that she would love to send a postcard to anyone who is lonely or who would just like to have a postcard.

Elizabeth McClung
PO Box 2560
Port Angeles, WA 98362
(Yes it's a US postbox: she lives near the border).

If you're going to forward this in any way, please include a link to one of her blogs so that people can check to make sure postcards are still wanted and she and her partner are not buried in millions of postcards, the way the former home of Craig Shergold is.

I'm going to make this post the beginning of my end-of-year blogging break. I'll put up one more post in the next couple of weeks reviewing the year, and then I'll see you again on New Year's Day.


Ben Read said...

Dear Aviatrix,

I haven't followed the McClung link yet; this is about your posts from the past week. You really outdid yourself with the North Carolina / KC-130 simulator series. Great material, written with lovely flair. Thanks! Enjoy the holidays and your end of the year break.

Ben Read / KWVI

Michael F. Vasseur said...

Thank you for the link to Beth's blog; it is quite... transformative in how we should view our life and existence.

Julien said...

Great link Aviatrix, thanks a lot! On the topic of facing death, have you seen the French-language Canadian movie Les Invasions Barbares?

Aviatrix said...

It sounds familiar, but I thought it was much older and called Le déclin de l'empire américain. Is it a sequel?

Julien said...

Same director/writer (Denys Arcand) but different movies: Le déclin was 1986, Les invasions barbares 2003.

It is actually a loose sequel of le déclin in the sense that the same characters gather again twenty years later around one of them who is about to die very soon. Very good movie, lots of laughter interspersed with desperation and sadness.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link. Postcard on its way.

Scott Johnson said...

Sending out a postcard right away. I actually know where Port Angeles is ... I drove there from Seattle once, to get on a ferry to Victoria.

Ward said...

I can't read too much of that blog at one time, have to do it in doses, I haven't figured out why the Port Angeles address. Port Angeles is "just across the border" only in the sense that there's nothing between it and Victoria but 15 miles of water.

Sarah said...

That is indeed a stunning & terrifying blog. Elizabeth sounds like an exceptional person, and I'll be reading the blog. This time of year, I tend to fall into a bit of a funk. Her story will give me some perspective & inspiration.

Enjoy your break, Aviatrix, and thanks for another year of brilliant posts.

Aviatrix said...

Ward, a lot of US companies won't ship to Canada, or if they do the cost of postage doubles the price of the item, so we have post boxes or recruit cross-border friends to receive mail for us. In this case, yes, there's water between Victoria and Port Angeles, but as Scott says, there's a ferry. I guess it's worth it for Elizabeth and Linda to make the crossing.

Christopher Thompson said...

I really tried to enjoy McClung's blog--even as a serious introspection. It just felt so strong, so harsh, so negative. I was really turned off by her Best Buy sorry. Not that I personally haven't had enough Best Buy bad behavior to shave several years off of my life, but I compare and contrast her sense of strength and empowerment with a sense of victimhood delivered by a stupid retailer.

Back to you though. You did a fantastic job of covering your time in North Carolina. I felt like I was sitting across the coffee table listening to your story. Nicely done. I've only been reading your blog for a few months (happening across you with a cross link from "Flight Level 390") but I have to tell you that I check back daily.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Dagny said...


thanks for letting me know about this.

I will for sure.


elizabeth said...

She is amazing. I've been around her blog since long before she fell ill… and though she may feel negative sometime in a post or two - who would not given the circumstances. I urge anyone who might read this now to send her a card. She deserves that and so much more from life. Your post was lovely.

Anonymous said...

She is lovely. I've lurked about since long long before her illness (going back 8 years or so) and this woman is truly amazing. What a nice post.