Creating Life From Loss

submitted by Mary Borland; photo by Mary Ellen O’Brien

Joshua Mezrich 2 12 2020At this week’s Rotary meeting, we heard from Dr. Joshua Mezrich and how he creates life from loss, transplanting organs from one body to another. He spoke about his desire to write a book, a little about the process to write a non-fiction book and some tips his famous author brother gave him. His book was released last year, When Death Becomes Life: Notes From a Transplant Surgeon, and in it he illuminates this extraordinary field of transplantation that enables this kind of miracle to happen every day.

Dr. Mezrich comes from a family of readers and really enjoyed the process of writing his book. His brother, Ben, helped him be a writer by helping him obtain an agent; reminding him it takes a team; and for non-fiction books, about the need to write a proposal first and sell it to an editor. (Fictional books get written by the author and then they try to sell it.)

Ben also gave Dr. Mezrich three pieces of advice:

  1. Just write!
  2. When ending a writing session, don’t stop at the end of a chapter; instead stop in the middle of a story or sentence as when you return to the page, you can keep going and sustain momentum.
  3. Write a certain amount each day.

Dr. Mezrich wrote for a year early in the morning, evenings and weekends — 300K words worth!  He then spent another year editing it down with his editor.

Dr. Mezrich shared some excerpts from his book. As Dr. Mezrich shared stories about patients and donors, he sprinkled in humor. He spoke about how donors are heroes and join the recipient patient in their journey by bearing risk with them (though relatively low risk, there is risk). He spoke about how often donor family members and the donor recipient want to connect with each other and what a beautiful thing this is. Donors give the gift of life that gives on, and recipient patients also know that someone passed away in order for them to live. Being a part of these conversations is emotional, and Dr. Mezrich shared how he has to set his emotions aside when it comes time for surgery. He said each operation is like solving a puzzle – a task.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

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