I've written about this man before, in this post. For those who haven't read the original post (and you should!), he's still dying of pancreatic cancer. But now, he's got a couple more months to live, and I am so incredibly happy that I'm crying. It's a strange thing, following the fates of individuals who are ill, whether it is Barbaro the horse (see posts from last year) or a real life human being who you've actually met in person.
I'm one of those people who get emotionally involved in everything I say and do. I don't know if I've always been like this or I'll always be like this, but for the moment, that's me. This is why I care so deeply about the material I represent; this is why every rejection hits me hard; this is why I find that I value deeply the friendships I develop with my clients. And this is why I write posts about horses fighting for their lives, and courageous men who give "last lectures" because they truly hit me deep down.
An author, not someone I represent, who I correspond with infrequently, recently told me that one of their closest relatives is very ill. And I couldn't reply to that author's e-mail because I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to tell them how very sorry I was to hear the news and that my heart went out to them, even though they don't know me very well at all. I didn't know how to say that we all have to deal with the cards life deals us, and that sometimes we get really shitty hands, but that you just have to keep moving forward because there are some things we can't change. And I still don't know how to say it properly. I'm only twenty-six and I'd like to say that my life has had some gravitas to it, but then again, I'm not a sage of all wisdom.
But then I was reading Publisher's Marketplace today, and I came across this news item, which I'm exerpting below in full:
"Last Lecture" with Randy?
The NY Post reports on the auction for WSJ columnist Jeff Zaslow's book based on Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch's "last lecture," delivered in September by the 46-year-old computer scientist who suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer. "I'm dying and having fun," Pausch said in the lecture, "And I'm going to keep having fun every day because there is no other way to do it."
The Post says "the lecture became an instant hit on the Internet, with people calling and e-mailing Zaslow to say how Pausch's inspirational words had helped them deal with their own problems, made them appreciate their families more and encouraged them to let their kids be more creative." The auction, by agent David Black, is said to have reached $6.75 million in NY Post dollars.
And I realized that this is the one thing that I knew I could tell this author; that people like Randy Pausch exist out there, and that they touch such a chord in our hearts that we can do nothing but reverberate from the impact. Which is why this book is going to be so big and so special to those out there. I am not jealous in the least that I'm not representing such a big book deal because I am so happy that other people may be able to take encouragement from Randy's words.
It won't change the fact that the author's relative is ill, but at the very least, I hope it's something that can bring a small smile to their face.
For continued updates on Randy Pausch's condition and to view the "last lecture" in its entirety, here's his CMU webpage again, as well as the page chronicling his medical condition. Check out the Halloween costumes--they are truly appropriate. =)