Aspire Magazine Issue 1 - Page 54

< INKED S C EN E + HEA R D “I LOVE THE PEOPLE THAT I COME TO KNOW WHO HAVE ENOUGH RESILIENCE AND ENERGY TO RAISE THEIR HANDS, INVITE ME INTO THEIR HOMES, AND VERY BRAVELY SHARE WHAT’S GOING ON.” —LISA GENOVA BY THE BOOK Cape Cod–based author Lisa Genova combines two unlikely subjects—writing and neuroscience—and manifests a dream job while raising education and awareness to lesser-known diseases. BY JENNIE NUNN W ALTHAM, MASS. native and author Lisa Genova is the first to admit she thrives when faced with major challenge. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the better. But, Genova, whose books include New York Times bestsellers Love Anthony, Left Neglected, Still Alice (made into an Oscarwinning film starring Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth, and Alec Baldwin), and Inside the O’Briens, initially set out to 52 ISSUE ONE | ASPIRE become a neuroscientist and once worked as a lab technician researching drug addiction. “I had no conscious ambition to become a writer,” explains Genova, who graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology, and earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. “I always loved math and science and biology, and I tend to gravitate towards things that are difficult and challenging. The brain is the most complex organ that we know the least about, and I wanted to understand the biology of the brain and diseases of the brain, and maybe make a contribution.” For Genova, the drastic, life-changing career shift was inspired by her grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1998. “I grew up in a big Italian family, and it was a struggle for all of us to understand her,” says Genova. “Everything I read on it was helpful to a point, but the question that kept coming up for me was, ‘What is it like to have this disease?’ I think my family is like a lot of families, and we were in denial. Nobody wants to see this happen to someone you love. To me, the answer to the question was fiction. When you read a novel is when you can walk in someone else’s shoes.” From this experience with her grandmother, coupled with her own divorce and being a newly single mother, Genova, (who dreamed she would someday write a book) embarked on the colossal task of writing her first novel, Still Alice. “The divorce kind of shook me up, and I thought, ‘What’s my life going to look like, and if I could do anything I want to and not care what people thought of me, what would it be?” recalls Genova, who wrote the book in a year-and-a-half and sent out 100 queries to 100 literary agents and publishers. Ultimately, all declined. Genova decided to self-publish the book (even selling it out of the trunk of her car), and landed an agent in 2008 before it became a film by Sony Pictures. “I thought this book might have the opportunity to teach readers what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s,” 62vVfvr&W6FW26R6B72( VvF6V6W2FVBF&RfV&VBv&VBB֗7VFW'7FBBvVvRF( BFƲ&WB6WFr6WPbFw2VvRF( BfR&W6V&6F'2BFRVRvfRBF( @fVV7W'FVB( АfvrFR7V66W72b7FƖ6RvVf266RV&Ɨ6VBF&VRFFW07W'&VFrF72g&WF6FG&VF2'&W&W2W"FW7B&6FRFR( '&V26&6W2FRW&Wb&7FƖ6Rff6W"R( '&VFv6VBvFVFwF( 2F6V6R7W&&RvVWF2WW&FVvVW&FfPF6V6RFR&vVfffFǐFW67&&W2FR&w&W76bFRF6V6RFR76v6VffV7G2^( 2vfR&6RBfW"6G&VBFV"fW 6G&VvfRSW&6VB66PbW&FrFV"fFW.( 2F6V6R6^( 0r'W7v&r&&W@זG&2FW&66W&62"2WW&FVvVW&FfRF6V6RffV7FrFPW'fR6V2FR'&B76&B( ĒF&r7GW&RBfVV7G&p6V6RbW'6R( 62vVf( ėN( 0w&VFǒ&Wv&FrFrFB&R( Ц6vrFRv&N( 2W&6WF7V6vFN( 2rFffW&V6RfPFR&W6V&6BFBV&B&W@ƖfRBFRVRFB6RFpvfRVVv&W6ƖV6RBVW&wF&6RFV"G2fFRRFFV W2BfW''&fVǒ6&RvFPvN( 2vr6ח6VbFPFR( ( FƗ6vVf6Рtt2B%DBDRDu$DRD2$t4244RtDRTDuD( 2D4T4P44UEbU$4t$CǒRFr6W6W2VFwF( 2F6V6^( FvVWF0WFF6FVB'FVb66VF7G22&V6W6R`F2F66fW'B2&VV6VBFR7B7W&&R7W&&PF6V6RWB#2V'2FW"vR7FF( BfRG&VFV@"7W&Rw&FR6FRFR( '&V2FVgVǒ7&VFR6PV6VVFVBv&VW72&WBF6V6R7BVPrƗGFR&WBv&VW722FR6FǗ7Bf"gVFr5$R55TRPS0