Thursday, October 23, 2014

Art Imitating Life

I started writing my "memoir" almost 20 years ago. I had some time to myself and a nice thick sheaf of foolscap. There was a pen nearby. Some sixty or more hand-written pages later, I'd laid down the foundation for what would eventually become a full-blown trilogy called "Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality"

The premise of the book is...EVERYBODY has a story, but it needs to be written down. Otherwise, it will be simply lost to the passage of time. Predicated by the fact that my father died at the tender age of 31, on November 22, 1963, I realized with a jolt that life on this planet is a temporal thing that we ought not to take for granted. As a life-long artist who has dealt head-on with the ravages of kidney failure...that damn near wiped me off the face of the Earth at age 19 in 1979, I started to think early on about the prospect of simply dying an ignoble, anonymous death.

This gloomy scenario was met with fierce resistance by my young, vibrant spirit. It would not do! After I was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Failure at Sunnybrooke Hospital in Toronto, the doctors there initiated emergency dialysis therapy to save my life. Only 15 years prior to this, my Dad wasn't so lucky.

Once I felt a little more in, less like a walking toxic waste dump...I designed and painted my first "monumental mural" and donated it to the hospital that saved my life.

"Recovery 1" was designed and painted at age 19 and donated to the hospital that saved my life.

I went on to receive the "Gift of Life" aka a kidney transplant from my brother Steve on October 17th, 1979. This allowed me to thrive and prosper for almost 35 years, during which time I carved out a career as muralistpainter and gallery owner/operator. 

In May of 2014, my doctor told me that I must return to dialysis therapy, as my graft was failing. The toxins were accumulating once again to potentially lethal levels. This news injected an increased urgency for me to to juggle all of the moving parts required to finish writing my memoir, and to get it published. It is only by the grace of God and all of my personal angels, along with "a little help from my friends" that this dream is achievable. By the look of things, the first two installments of the trilogy "Dancing with Rejection" will be published in the 2015 calender year. 

The time I've spent (4 hours, 3x a week) on dialysis has been fruitful. Blood cleaning to keep me alive, and pecking away on finishing my manuscript!

Ordinarily, I would have simply paid for the initial cost of production, publishing and marketing of my book(s) myself. My career as a professional mural-painter and gallery owner has been very good to me over the years. But, these are not "ordinary" times. Three days a week dependent on dialysis has impacted my earning power, to say the least. With this in mind, I have reached out to my family and friends for help with a GoFundMe campaign. This was initiated only about two weeks ago, and has been incredibly successful, generating almost 30% of my target and over 100 "shares" in this short time! 

Please click through this link to read more, and to share the story if the spirit moves you. Thank you in advance for your generosity of spirit.


  1. Hi Michael,

    Sorry to hear that you had to return to dialysis therapy. Are the doctors contemplating a new kidney transplant?
    In any case I wish you get a best seller with the publication of your auto-biography.

    I started to publish a weekly article on the subject "From Modernity to what comes after Modernity" on my blog at Hope you can find something to think about there while you are undergoing one of your next dialysis sessions.

    Warmest regards,


    1. Thank you for your kind words Lao Dan. To answer your question, it is a resounding YES. I am undergoing the tests for workup to transplant # 2 as we speak. It will probably be a long haul, like about a year, till it is time for a donor.
      I'll look forward to checking out your latest writing.
      Hoping your amazing artwork is still flowing!