Peter Lowe's Success Yearbook
A Message From Christopher Reeve
By Christopher Reeve
Peter Lowe recently sat down with Christopher Reeve to discuss life after the accident--
PL: What is a day in the life of Christopher Reeve?
CR: I'm actually busier now than I was before the accident. What I've found is that after rehab, now I'm stable and healthy, I find work more fulfilling than ever.
PL: I understand you're directing now. How different is that from being an actor?
CR: Acting provides a different reward. You are the center of attention. But when you're directing, you're using the other side of your brain—the side that's analytical and makes decisions. This injury has really forced me to shift gears. To concentrate for up to eleven hours at a stretch is very tiring. But it's very satisfying to work with talented actors. I'm grateful that they trust me. When a scene is working well, I get excited.
PL: What have been your biggest challenges?
CR: Not being able to gesture forces me to really focus my thoughts. In a way it's better because I'm able to express myself more clearly than before because I don't have any way to channel the energy through extraneous gestures and movements. It's been an interesting discovery to find that when I'm clear about what I want to say, my speech is actually more effective than it was in the past.
PL: How can we better understand what life is like for people who have undergone spinal cord injuries?
CR: Having a spinal cord injury is not just about sitting in a chair. There are messages from the brain that don't get to the body. That's the problem—the gap of communication is broken, causing potential problems with infections, breakdown of the skin and spasms. All of those things could happen at any time. I just refuse to let that get me down.
PL: What does success mean to you?
CR: Peter, you put on seminars that focus on success. Success means so many things. I think it really means letting the relationships in your life grow and transcend into the highest levels they possibly can. It also means not putting yourself first in life and remembering that the more you give away, the more you have.
PL: How do you maintain the positive attitude that keeps you going?
CR: I believe you have two choices in life. One is to look forward and the other is to look backward. To look backward gets you nowhere.
PL: Have you ever felt like quitting and giving up?
CR: I don't think there is anybody who's ever achieved anything who doesn't say sometimes, 'this is too hard.' Backwards thinking leads to a place of negativity. That's not where I want to dwell.
PL: What can we do to be of help to support victims of spinal cord injuries?
CR: It's a question of awareness. By raising awareness, we will not let these problems defeat us. We can join in getting involved in conquering this last frontier.
If you would like to help in this fight for a cure for spinal cord injuries, please send your tax-deductible donation to: The Christopher Reeve Foundation, P.O. Box 277, F.D.R. Station, New York, NY 10150-0277.
Christopher Reeve is a Hollywood superstar and tireless advocate of spinal cord injury research bringing awareness to this critical health concern.