Wednesday, March 14, 2012
me kissing Liz
I first heard of Liz at my first Houston Fieldwork session. I didn't know anyone there, but someone asked if they'd been to see Liz or heard any news. Someone said something about having been in touch and said something more about it being 'really bad." Several people shook their heads in that way we do when we don't know what to say to bad news.
Long story short, she'd been in a terrible auto accident and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. It looked like she would be paralyzed from the neck down.
I guess it was a couple of years later when she made her first return to Fieldwork and I first met her. She had an attendant with her, she was in a wheelchair (as she still is) and had uncertain control of her limbs.
In the, oh, five or so years since, she'd participate in Fieldwork or I'd run into her at performances. Each time, she showed marked improvement. She now attends Fieldwork without an attendant and if even she doesn't have full control of her hands, she takes her own notes for the feedback sessions.
It's so easy to write really trite and cliched words about Liz. Phrases like "inspirational" and "indomitable spirit" come to mind too readily. I've learned long ago that such phrases don't quite grasp the hard work of not giving up.
And that's what I love most about Liz. Her "not giving up-ness." Because, honestly, she could have resigned herself to a life of "giving up." Instead, she researched, sought out, availed of herself of any cutting edge therapies and medical advances she could access. Through it all, she's continued to perform and write. To reduce that frustrating, tiresome, difficult work to a cliche is to not fully honor what she's accomplished.
So I'll simply say: I wish I had known Liz before her accident, but I'm very glad to know her now.