Jean-Dominique Bauby, A Blink is Worth a Thousand Words...

by guestofaguest · January 7, 2008

the diving bell

...Literally. Today is the first Monday of the new year, and we have a feeling that 2008 is going to be a great year. Britney lost the power to see her children, Lohan is making massive efforts to stay sober, and the presidential election is already starting to provide us with new material to talk about. What better way to start off the year than by immersing yourself in a story of the survival of the human spirit that will leave you wanting to get off your ass and really start LIVING!

If you are having trouble getting into the new year's spirit, we suggest heading down to the infamous Angelika theatre to see the incredibly moving film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The film, directed by Julian Schnabel, is based on the novel by famous Parisian Jean-Dominique Bauby (April 1952 –March 9, 1997). Bauby was best known for being the editor of the popular French magazine ELLE. While driving with his son in the countryside, the 43 year old suffered a stroke which left him paralized from the head down, his brain fully functionable. The charasmatic Bauby, literally became an island in one day, suffering from the rare disease known as "locked-in syndrome" which has been described as "the closest thing to being buried alive."

Bauby's only form of communication was through blinking with his left eye. His therapists came up with a system that would allow him to convey his thoughts by blinking on the letter he wished to use to spell the words he was thinking. You can only imagine how daunting and tedious it would be to have to spell out even a short sentence in this manner...just imagine the frustration Bauby and his dedicated transcriber felt when writing his novel. But Bauby, the self-described "castaway on the shores of loneliness," moved on, spending an average of two minutes per word, dictating his novel each day after having to form every sentence by memory. He completed his story in 1997, selling over 100,000 copies the first week. He died of heart failure two days after the novel was published in French.

The movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has won the favor of critics across the globe after debuting at the 2007 Cannes last May. It is up for 3 Golden Globe awards including best best director and best picture. It was New York Magazine's pick for best picture of the year. If you are looking for motivation to help jump kick your new year's plans, this is one that will only cost you around $11.00.