The following is my review of the film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, based on a book by the same name written by Jean-Dominique Bauby, and several articles on the subject of writing and healing.
This heartfelt story follows the life of Jean-Do,the editor of Elle who suffers a stroke and becomes totally paralyzed except for one of his eyes; he communicates through blinking and writes a book about his life—amazing! There is the theme of mind over body in the film and by the “end we are left with the reflection that human consciousness is the great miracle of evolution, and all the rest (sight, sound, taste, hearing, smell, touch) are simply a toolbox that consciousness has supplied for itself (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times).”
Bauby’s memoir mimics other reflective writings throughout history that enter a quest for healing driven by “the desire for health and life in face of the inevitability of illness and death (Anne H. Jones—Lancet, p.54).” Evidence of this can be found in research done in the Program of Narrative Medicine, in which Rita Charon suggests, ” More and more health care professionals and patients are recognizing the importance of the stories they tell one another of illness (New England Journal of Medicine, p.862).”
From my prospective on the movie as a writer, the film seems to suggest that one of the biggest inspirations for writing comes from our own lives. In the book Bauby writes about his experiences with locked-in syndrome and random things that happened in his life leading up to his stroke. I am taking away from this experience the penultimate question: “what experiences from my own life could inspire me to write?”