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Book Clubs, Blue Ink, and the End of Your Life

When Will Schwalbe came into the station to be interviewed by Ted O’Brien for Writers’ Forum, I asked him if he would sign the copy of his book sent to us by the publisher.  He graciously agreed, on one condition: he needed the autograph to be in blue ink.  This was surprising, because the standard author signature is usually done with a black Sharpie, a pen we have in abundance at WRBH.  Why blue?

Will explained it this way: “When my mother was going through her treatments, we talked about so many things, and one of the requests she made caught me off guard.  She asked that I please not write the thank you notes after the funeral in black ink, because to her that just seemed so morbid.  She suggested blue, because she wanted a less sad, less mournful color.   I not only took her words to heart and  wrote all the notes in blue, I also sign each book about her in blue ink, to honor her memory.”

The End of Your Life Book Club, Will’s poignant tribute to his late mother, is a rare jewel: a book that offers an insightful and honest view of a remarkable woman who faced death on her own terms with grace, intelligence, and humor.  It’s also a book about books, since Will and his mother shared a great love of reading and started a parent/adult child book group of two while she was enduring the painful and sometimes frightening cancer treatments with Will by her side.  Their devotion and enjoyment of each other through that trying time is moving, and equally touching is how they managed to bond even further through their lively, opinionated discussions. 

The End of Your Life Book Club will be airing at 9 am and again at 9 pm, beginning on January 31st.  I hope everyone joins us in this celebration of a beautiful life and a noble, inspirational death.


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WRBH 88.3 FM, Radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only full-time reading service on the FM dial in the United States. At WRBH, our mission is to turn the printed word into the spoken word so that the blind and print handicapped receive the same ease of access to current information as their sighted peers.

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