First aired on Tapestry (6/11/11)
We make lists every day. Grocery lists. Lists for holiday gifts. Reminders of little tasks and errands.
Novelist Ray Robertson jotted down an important list recently: his reasons to continue living. After finishing his sixth novel, the Toronto-based writer entered a period of intense depression.
Following a year spent recovering and dealing with the obsessive-compulsive disorder at the root of his depression, Robertson began working on a book in which he reflected upon his experiences and the things that make him happy.
In the end, he came up with 15 things that inspire him to carry on, including art, the material world, love, family, solitude, humour and, interestingly enough, death. He explains the list in his book Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live.
Robertson, who continues to grapple with OCD, says his condition can be compared to alcoholism. The possibility of relapsing into deep depression continues to hang over him.
"You get better but you're never cured," Robertson told Tapestry in a recent interview. "So I think it's like anyone who — if someone almost dies in a car accident they carry around a little more appreciation for life. Now, that can wear off, but I want to remind myself of all the things that are really important in life that maybe I took for granted and I didn't want to do that again."
Find out more about Roberton's reasons to live, including why he thinks death belongs on the list, in the audio clip below.
Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live
by Ray Robertson
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From the publisher:
"Shortly after completing his sixth novel, Ray Robertson suffered from a depression of suicidal intensity. Soon after recovering, he felt compelled to try and answer two of the biggest questions we can ask. What makes humans happy? And what makes a life worth living?
Robertson is a rock & roll Montaigne, running his hands over the whole of life: these essays remind us that much of what we have to live for requires effort and perseverance, and that we wouldn't want it any other way. Unashamedly working class and unabashedly literary, Why Not? is a rocking, rolling anti-Sisyphean odyssey."
Read more at Biblioasis.