Through the writer's eyes
Brain Health & Nutrition
"I write about the brain."
Excerpt from the book, Unscripted: A Guide to Living Spontaneously After Amnesia & Brain Trauma - Co-authored by Myron Norman and Celeste Palmer (2018)
“I’d reckon  percent of memoirs by public figures involve a ghostwriter to some degree.” These are the words of Maureen O’Connor— columnist for the CUT, an award-winning golf magazine. I am not surprised by that statistic.
Typically, a ghostwriter remains in the background receiving no credit for their work. Simply put, ghostwriters are invisible authors. As for Celeste, her story would require a level of visibility on my part to unearth the most profound details of her story.
As a writer, the thought of ghostwriting Celeste’s shocking and inspiring story of survival was hard to swallow in the least. In my eyes, ghostwriting the miraculous events surrounding Celeste’s car crash would do little justice to who Celeste really is—and her ongoing impact in the world. Her story deserves a more personal experience.
Celeste is my mentor—has been and continues to be even now. That makes my perspective of her story unique and it certainly cannot be duplicated. I like to think of myself as the special event photographer who comes in to take pictures at a wedding, birthday, graduation or memorial. As the photographers bounce around the venue searching for the best angles, they start to blend in with the other guests. Pretty soon you forget they are there—and that’s when the most photogenic opportunities are revealed.
Celeste is a special event and I am the camera. My lens has been focused on her miraculous life since the first day we spoke. And if there is a portion of film I’d like to develop for your viewing first, you’d encounter the fourteen-letter word ‘extemporaneous.’
That fourteen-letter word is important considering that Celeste is linguistically “extemporaneous” and it is a word she uses to describe herself.
The brain injury Celeste suffered after her accident affected her ability to write and consequently, effectively organize a book manuscript. Writing is my lifeblood and thus, more proof that our mentor/writer relationship is a match made in heaven.
Thankfully, Google brought me up to speed concerning the word e-x-t-e-m-p-o-r-a-n-e-o-u-s. That’s a big word! Though ‘big’ is not how I would describe Celeste on the outside. As a matter of fact, she is quite small. Which presents an interesting dichotomy: while Celeste may be small on the outside, she has an infinitely large heart inside of her.
Celeste and I met under peculiar circumstances. Hoping to learn more about traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) and the people impacted by them, I decided to look for volunteer opportunities in the field. So, one sunny California afternoon, I plopped myself in the middle of my bedroom floor and began searching for organizations to call. Surprisingly, Celeste’s organization was my first choice.
When I reached Celeste over the phone for the first time, she mentioned that she was a little busy and hoped to call me back. And she did. That afternoon, Celeste and I talked for nearly two hours. Interestingly, the conversation did not go the way I expected.
I expected Celeste to provide me with a list of quick ways I could jump right in and help. Well, instead of dumping me with loads of resources, Celeste spent most of that conversation connecting to my inner-man. Somehow Celeste could feel the pain and hurts that had backed up inside my own heart—hurts and disappointments that had nothing to do with traumatic brain injuries, just a broken heart. And Celeste spoke to those hurts compassionately.
I find it interesting that Celeste would speak to my heart first rather than pointing me to resources to serve. Perplexing considering that Celeste started an entire organization centered on connecting people to critical resources.
Within my first conversation with Celeste, I learned that what a person may be looking for in life may not be what they need. That afternoon I was looking for opportunities to volunteer when instead I needed to mend.
Celeste soon became my mentor, mother, friend and just about anything or anyone else I needed at that time. She still is to this day. We would go on to talk and text over the next months before meeting in person for the first time.
My connection with Celeste is special and it didn’t take long for me to feel the impact of having her in my life. A few months after my initial conversation with Celeste, something tragic happened.
One night while working on my job, an intruder attacked me. I suffered a traumatic brain injury and spinal trauma. Facial paralysis, memory loss, and stroke-like symptoms were just some of the aftermath. The emotional trauma that followed my attack impaired me more than my physical injuries. Celeste would help me overcome the emotional trauma that blocked my desire to recover physically.
Celeste walked with me for many nights when suicide seemed like my only option. Her support during those times tightly knitted our hearts together. Many survivors out there don’t have a Celeste in their corner. This is another reason I decided to work with Celeste to write this book. This book gives survivors, their families, and caregivers the opportunity to access Celeste ‘write’ where they are.
Celeste’s role in my life didn’t end with my recovery alone. Her empowerment inspired me to write, Lifesaving FAQs of How Food Reversed My Brain Damage. A book which details my research in the field of neuro-nutrition years before suffering a traumatic brain injury and how I used that research to save my own brain.
As a bona fide beneficiary of Celeste’s value, I take great pride in sharing her story through my eyes. Who better to write about Celeste’s story than the person who has been touched by her story—figuratively and literally. I am utterly honored to invite you to experience the deepest hurts and victories of a woman who has become one of life’s greatest gifts. That woman is Celeste Palmer.
Questions for discussion
1. How important are mentors—particularly in the lives of trauma survivors?
2. What are some ways you’d like to volunteer—and why?
3. If you could choose any one person to mentor you, who would that person be—and why?
Brain Health & Nutrition Writer