First, I was shocked to learn that the movie is based on the memoir, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, by Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor-in-chief of French Elle who suffered a rare stroke to the brain stem. Only his brain and his left eye were left undamaged. Yet Bauby didn’t let a small thing like paralysis stop him from blinking his memoir into existence. His memories included a combination of how he remembered life and how he imagined life would have been had he not been paralyzed at the age of 43. His extravagant and larger than life interpretation of a world he never knew is inspirational and heartwarming. You can read chapter one here.
"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.
Enough rambling. My main task now is to compose the first of these bedridden travel notes so that I shall be ready when my publisher's emissary arrives to take my dictation, letter by letter. In my head I churn over every sentence ten times, delete a word, add an adjective, and learn my text by heart, paragraph by paragraph. "