Resilience, heart attack & prolific authors

Resilience has been on my mind a lot lately, for a few reasons. Some prompted by my own experiences, some from reading about the exploits of others.

overcome-adversityWhen I looked in my diary this morning and saw that it was already September, it reminded me that it is almost 5 years since 29 September 2010 when I had a heart attack. I wrote about it here. Tomorrow I must go to London for an echocardiogram, an ultrasound picture of my heart.

Next week a visit to the cardiologist to interpret the photo and other recent tests and I hope, a good report.

I feel as good as ever, can do everything I want. Just have to do the more strenuous stuff a bit slower.

Looking back at the few days I spent in a hospital bed 5 years ago, wondering if I would survive 5 days let alone 5 years. Wondering how I would make enough money to survive when told that I had to stop all my farming related work.

We had learned the value of resilience during the bad times in Zimbabwe, once again, we knew we would have to draw on our reserves of resilience and perseverance to survive.

The 5 years have not been easy. It has been harder than I expected to generate the same income I did from my farming contracting work. I still do some small jobs for farmers and will help a neighbour with the turnip and corn harvest once again this year.

We have survived, Sue and I have both been to England to see our families – separately because of our collection of animals and heating our house with wood. Sue also got to Zimbabwe when her son and his family were still there. Saw some old friends.

But most of all we have survived because we chose to. We chose to overcome what ever adversity came along, make the most of every day. We are still here, still thriving.

A friend recently gave me a copy of The Bradbury Chronicles, a book about the life and achievements of one of America’s most prolific authors and a master of the science fiction and fantasy genres. (affiliate link)

Ray Bradbury lived through the Great Depression, through years as a child and young man in a family with little income. He shared a bed with his brother until he left home to get married, never learned to drive a car.


Ray Bradbury via Wikipedia Creative Commons 2009

But he wrote 7 days a week for more than 70 years almost to the day he died at age 91 in 2012. He wrote 27 novels, over 600 short stories, radio and TV scripts, poetry, plays and screenplays.

He never learned how to use a computer, he produced much of his early work on old-fashioned manual typewriters. Much of that writing was rejected by publishers.

He kept writing.

That’s resilience and perseverance.

Another book lent to me recently was Eavesdroppings: Stories From Small Towns When Sin Was Fun by Bob Green. It’s about life in small towns in Ontario from the 1930s on. A delightful collection of short stories, irreverent, politically incorrect and amusing.

I have included it in a post about resilience for two reasons:

The author was 76 when he published it.

It provides brilliant examples of the resilience of people, particularly children in those simple days before, social media, smart phones and political correctness, stifled honest free speech.

If you are over 50 you will enjoy this book for its nostalgia. It took me back to my childhood days. If you are under 40 it will help you realise what freedoms younger generations have lost.



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  6 comments for “Resilience, heart attack & prolific authors

  1. September 4, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Peter, you have an amazing gift! I write that because of how you were able to combine many diverse events under a singular subject – resilience. I wish you the best. – Tim

    • Peter
      September 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Thank you Tim.

  2. Michelle Kosloff
    September 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Love Ray Bradbury and will look into the other book – sounds interesting. Will you write another book? I would read it…


    • Peter
      September 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Have one written, around 420 pages, too big, needs a major editing job. As a first stage I am using some of it for a shorter 120 page one which will be finished before year end.

  3. Roberta
    September 5, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Very interesting and thoughtful post, Peter. You have been through much…..and survived and thrived.

    Like you I have been through several crisis from losing a very good paying job and just as I began to recover from that set back a back injury that could have led to being in a wheel chair the rest of my life. Resilience and grit and a bit of luck helped me through it all.

    I think our generation has more resilience because we were not coddled as children. I wonder (worry) about today’s generation – how will they and even do they have the stuff of resilience to survive a war or a depression?

    • Peter
      September 7, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      It would be interesting to come back in 80 years time when today’s coddled children become seniors and can comment on the deficiencies of their grandchildren.

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