Invitations

Fiction and Poetry From A Life of Writing

Fiction - Anthology
146 Pages
Reviewed on 06/11/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Life never dishes out what we expect. Indeed, life can be brutally unfair. But we’ve been told that we’ll only get what we can handle. Bruce Ballard’s Invitations takes a look at his life as a writer with Parkinson’s disease. He was a young man when he was first diagnosed. Like Michael J. Fox, Bruce rose to the challenge and continued with his writing, managing a blog dedicated to the disease. There is no self-pity in this memoir, just brutal reality. His poems and stories depict a life well lived. A man passionate about travel, he’s visited many countries and written about his experiences. It hasn’t been easy, but, as he writes, “With this incurable disease, I find/ I have the upper hand, and that my mind,/ While losing dopamine, still works fine.”

Bruce Ballard’s book, Invitations: Fiction and Poetry From a Life of Writing, is a passionate look at a writer’s life, one who has the added burden of living with Parkinson’s disease. The collection of poems and stories is sincere and reflective, dwelling on themes of life, love, loss, death, and, of course, Parkinson’s disease. Many of the poems are sonnets, an unusual but very disciplined form of poetry that the author masters succinctly and with ease. There are also some haiku, like this one that challenges his writer’s muse: “Do these haiku slow/ My cognitive impairment?/ Let’s all write some more…” The author’s prowess with narrative is evident in his intense stories which reveal multiple levels of emotions. A poignant and engaging read.