For many authors the story-telling journey begins with a defining moment. It is in this moment you are called to say something when perhaps before there did not seem a need. A wellspring of ideas fuels your inspiration, and a sense of urgency overwhelms you.
Olympia author, John Thompson, met his moment the second he awoke from a coma only to discover he was paralyzed. In fact, as the care team explained it to John and his family, he simply was not going to make it as a disabled, mentally-impaired, quadriplegic, nursing home patient.
“They felt I would have no life. This became a defining moment in my life – to prove them wrong!” shared John.
John’s new book, No Backing Down, begins with a tragic accident. A distracted driver. A hot summer day. A young man with his friends riding their bikes to the swimming hole. In one moment he is carefree and unstoppable, in the next broken and lying in the ditch at the mercy of hope and science.
Through sheer determination and faith, John relearned things that were once automatic, such as eating and speaking the English language. He also learned to battle inner demons that come with depression and to advocate for himself and others.
“Since the accident, I’ve become more outspoken as an individual. I’ve been able to stand up for what I am, others ideas, and the individuality we all have,” John suggested.
In No Backing Down John focuses on the lessons and wisdom we all must carry with us to make the most out of our lives. While the accident may have left John a C-2 Quadriplegic, it has not changed his perspective on our purpose for living.
“I feel that we are here to prove that we can deal with imperfection and live happy lives without giving into the temptations that can destroy us,” explained John. “I hope that people who read my book will be able to take away the idea that anything is achievable for anyone. The only thing you need to do is believe in your abilities as an individual to overcome any circumstance you may be dealing with.”
Sage advice, but how do we put it into practice? John shared these few simple lessons.
Care Less About What People Think
“My biggest motivation for writing has come from some of my greatest role models as well as childhood heroes. These include Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Marshall Mathers, Tupac, my sister, my mother and my father. I have looked up to these individuals because they all share something that I have wanted my whole life: the ability to stand up to their demons and not really care about society’s viewpoints about them.”
“I used to be afraid of what people would think of me or my family,” admitted John. “But wanting to incorporate what I have learned from all my heroes, especially my father, I no longer care much about what people think of me, and I go along helping others by sharing my feelings and stories.”
“My faith in Jehovah, my optimism that I will succeed no matter what and my will to overcome any obstacle have all assisted me in achieving my successes today. I don’t think I would be out of my depressive mindset if I did not have the opportunity to see that I can do better than anyone no matter what physical state my body is in. Just like Stephen Hawking illustrates, as long as you have a sharp-witted mind, determination and people that are there to help you, anything is achievable.”
Imagine and Reach for the Future
In addition to celebrating and building a future with his fiancé and working on two new novels, John is also studying to become a psychologist in the field of family and marriage counseling.
“My brain damage subsided from me not knowing who my family or I was every single day to me being able to take on the responsibilities of getting back into school, starting my book, planning my career, working with my teachers and advocating for myself that I deserved more than what many people figured I would amount to,” John explained.