Immortality and Courage
Harold Robbins explored people, industries, trends, politics, and the innermost desires of our society in his writings. In Descent from Xanadu, a novel written in 1983, it was a very powerful moment for him. He began the book soon after he had faced his own physical mortality challenge after having a stroke and experiencing aphasia. Can you imagine his torment of being the world’s most prolific writer and being unable to connect his words as he wanted….he went through terrible frustration when the words, his tools of trade, his way of reaching the world would not flow.
However, Harold Robbins had unconquerable courage and he worked tirelessly with a speech therapist, 8 hours a day, five days a week. Within six months his clarity and ability had returned. But, when he sat down to write the first page of Descent From Xanadu, he wondered if the magic was still there. The tension in the air was palpable that morning when he sat down at his IBM Selectric typewriter, and lit his Lucky Strike cigarette. I placed his coffee next to him and he smiled and winked at me (and of course, grabbed a body part). “Sweetheart, here we go!”
I smiled at him and knew with confidence he could do anything and overcome any problem. I went downstairs to my office, secretly checking the clock as the moments passed by. Several hours later, the intercom beeped in my office. “#*@****, I did it! Get f—— Paul on the phone and get your a– up here and read this!”
If you haven’t read Descent from Xanadu, please do. You will see so much more when you know the story behind the story. Maybe, you’ll find your own answers.