Body and Soul

Photograph by Tim Georgeson.

Photograph by Tim Georgeson.

Last summer, I participated in the Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism program, a month-long residency in which nine writers each work on a single long non-fiction essay. There, I wrote a piece about my lifelong best friend Dan Harvey, who became a quadriplegic following an athletic accident in high school. It’s undoubtedly the most personal and important thing I’ve ever written, and it was just published in the new issue of the Walrus. You can read it here.

You can also listen to this podcast, in which Dan and I talk about our friendship, the writing process, the different versions of the story (an early draft was 14,000 words; the Walrus version is 6,500), ableism, the sex lives of disabled people, etc.

And my band, DEBT, recorded an album. You can stream or download it for free here.



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3 responses to “Body and Soul

  1. I just finished your article about Dan’s life predicament. As a person with multiple disabilities I’ll say thank you for showing that Dan is a human being with aspirations and abilities despite what to many, would seem to be insurmountable obstacles. Really well done. Hopefully you’ll continue to write of Dan’s progress.

  2. Linda T

    Thanks for the article on Dan. Eleven years after my husband and I – high school sweethearts – tied the knot, he was diagnosed with MS. It proved to be especially relentless, and we spent much of the next 25 years in Dan’s situation, including many of the same model wheelchairs, the $52K van, the pee accidents and more. No one who hasn’t been there gets it. As a writer, I was often told by caregiver magazines I pitched that even caregivers don’t want to read about icky stuff. I disagree, and still do. No one loved anyone more than we loved each other. I wish him and his girl our happiness.

  3. Virginia Kerry

    I just finished reading Body and Soul in a coffee shop and had to write to say it was exquisitely written. I am not a writer but I am a therapist and I do read a lot.I was very moved by the love, compassion and honesty in your writing about your very strong brave friend. Dan has done some great things in his life. Thank you for writing this article. I am glad you are staying in Canada.

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