Everything about this video rings true to me. Martha’s story is so close to my own that watching this made me tear up. Please take a few moments to listen to her story.
Perhaps setbacks aren’t the sole source of inspiration. Maybe purpose can just as often arise from positive change, but it’s hard to argue the point that most great art is born of the unfortunate. None of this is to suggest, of course, that Martha Grover’s life is ultimately tragic, but this collection of eight year’s worth of Somnambulist is evidence of a writer finding literary purpose in adversity.
Her early family memoirs are terrific (“March 1, 2009: The [family] meeting is canceled because everyone has strep throat”), but One More for the People explodes with life a soon as “81 Symptoms” begins, chronicling her diagnosis and eventual coming to grips with Cushing’s Disease, including, as advertised, a full catalog of the strange and potentially fatal disease’s laundry list of indicators.
One More for the People is strong and funny and ultimately hopeful, and Grover continues her honest-to-a-fault explorations in the final segment, “Personals,” closing the book with the wonderful list, “Fifteen Things I’m Not Putting on My OK Cupid Profile,” a section that opens with the pitch perfect, “This morning I put my iPod on shuffle, and strangely, the first two songs I heard were both about murdering women.” It probably says more about my own neuroses that I think that’s a perfect opener, right?
Listening to this episode, I was floored, because I had twice battled Cushing’s and was well on my way to my third battle with a pituitary tumor.
So I immediately bought her first book, read everything she had written and felt like someone, somewhere understood the weird, wild, horrific Cushing’s roller coaster. Regardless of the diagnosis, chronic illness can be very isolating. For me, knowing that there were others out there that had survived something similar became an integral part of accepting the changes that come with being chronically ill.
Her latest book, The End of My Career is equally engaging and funny–I read it in one sitting,
Whether you suffer from chronic illness (or love someone who does) or not, I’m sure you will find Martha’s work empathetic, eloquent, and full of humor.
For more about Martha, please visit: