Sunday, December 04, 2011

A disabled writer's book unfolds a tap at a time

Ed here: As many of you know Peter Winkler posts comments on a fair share of stories I run. I had no idea of the courage and determination it takes to do so. Let alone the courage and determination it takes him to write books. Here's his story from the LA Times.

A disabled writer's book unfolds a tap at a time
By Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times

Peter Winkler, his body trapped by rheumatoid arthritis, wrote the first biography of Dennis Hopper to come out after the actor's death. Little did his agent know that he had to punch out the manuscript one letter at a time, using a red plastic chopstick.

Writer Peter Winkler works on his computer in his North Hollywood home. Winker, 55, has limited movement because of rheumatoid arthritis and suffers from other ailments. To write his biography of actor Dennis Hopper, he tapped out each letter using a long, red plastic chopstick. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times / November 2, 2011)

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By Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times
December 3, 2011
Thanks to the conveniences of the wired world, Peter Winkler was able to write a book and find an agent and a publisher without ever having to leave his North Hollywood home.

Winkler raced to produce the first biography of Dennis Hopper to come out after the actor died in May 2010.

It was only when the book was on the shelves that his agent learned how he had done it.

"My God, I had no idea," said Robert Diforio of Weston, Conn., who sold "Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel" to a small East Coast publisher, Barricade Books.

In the virtual world, Winkler roams free. He blogs. He comments. He write articles about film.

In the physical world, he increasingly is trapped — dependent on his sister and a long, red plastic chopstick.

Rheumatoid arthritis has battered him for 46 of his 55 years.

His neck won't turn. His head is pitched down, chin to chest. His elbow and wrist joints are so fixed in place, he cannot touch his face.

Sitting up in bed, he can no longer extend his arms far enough to place his fingertips on the keyboard of the MacBook Pro propped on a lap desk across his thighs.

Instead, he braces the chopstick between several fingers on his right hand and uses it to tap, tap, tap one key after another.

It's not so bad, he says. He's gotten pretty fast, and anyway, "I was always a two-finger typist."

:Winkler never told his faraway agent about his stiff, bent fingers and locked joints, he says, because "frankly, it was not his business, it was not germane."

for the rest go here:,0,2389268.story?page=1&track=rss


Peter L. Winkler said...

Dear Ed:

Thanks so much for posting this.


Ron Scheer said...

A story like that after a "bad week" always leaves me pretty much speechless. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Peter! People like you are the real "heroes" in our world; those who fight against illness and pain on a daily basis, maintain their connection to the world, and even impart hard won knowledge for all to use.
I've enjoyed and looked forward to your comments on Ed's blog and will now do so with more appreciation. I'm sure that Ed will too.
Terry Butler

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

That's an amazing and inspiring story about Peter Winkler. Thanks for writing about him, Mr. Gorman.