Le Scaphandre et le Papillon...

translates to "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." And it's the French translation of the French memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor-and-chief, Elle magazine. Until tonight, I had never heard of the movie, nor had I any idea it was based off a book. A slow stroll down the "Foreign" section of Blockbuster revealed this true story to me.

In his early 40s (Dec. 1995) Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a massive stroke, leaving him with the condition known as locked-in syndrome, which holds its victims hostage within their own bodies. Paralyzed from head-to-toe and fully aware, Bauby was only able to communicate with the blinking of his left eye. By the reciting of a frequency-ordered alphabet, a transcriber was able to turn blinking to letters, and letters to words. Two-hundred thousand blinks later, Buaby had "written" his 136-page (original French version) memoir. Bauby's book was published in March of 1997. He died two days later.

If you think the French language is beautiful (side note: I worry I may gawk excessively while in Paris in less than four weeks, as I find the French accent undeniably alluring) and you're not afraid of subtitles, pass the comedies and pick up this beauty for something that will inspire you to quit making excuses, find what it is that makes you you, and push you to step up to the plate to prove it.

An excerpt:

My diving bell becomes less oppressive, and my mind takes flight like a butterfly. There is so much to do. You can wander off in space or in time, set out for Tierra del Fuego or for King Midas’s court.

You can visit the woman you love, slide down beside her and stroke her still-sleeping face. You can build castles in Spain, steal the Golden Fleece, discover Atlantis, realize your childhood dreams and adult ambitions.

Happy living.

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