GONE: On Love, Body, & Taking Back My Life with Linda K. Olson

March 12, 2021
Hosted by Diane Dewey

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Linda Olson and her husband, Dave Hodgens, were young doctors whose story had all the makings of a fairy tale. But then, while they were vacationing in Germany, a train hit their van, shattering their lives?and Linda’s body. When Linda saw Dave for the first time after losing her right arm and both of her legs, she told him she would understand if he left. His response: “I didn’t marry your arms or your legs. If you can do it, I can do it.” In order to protect their loved ones, they decided to hide the truth about what really happened on those train tracks, and they kept their secret for thirty-five years. As a triple amputee, Linda learned to walk with prostheses and change diapers and insert IVs with one hand. She finished her residency while pregnant and living on her own. And she and Dave went on to pursue their dream careers, raise two children, and travel the world. With help from teams of friends and family, Linda and Dave raised their two children to canoe, kayak, backpack, raft and travel in remote places. They learned that it didn’t matter if their mom looked funny, or if she couldn’t do things the way other people did—they could still have a good time and get out and go. Linda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2015 and is committed to empowering Parkinson’s patients and families to live life as full as possible, in spite of their disabilities, and to get up, get out, and go. Inspiring and deeply moving, Gone asks readers to find not only courage but also laughter in the unexpected challenges we all face. The day of the accident, no one envied Linda and Dave. Today, many do.

Dropping In

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Drop in to the dream of becoming an author. How does the book publishing business actually work? If you’re ready to tell your story, what’s the best way to do it? Do you need help crafting this tale? What about workshopping – is that helpful? When are you ready to show your work to a developmental or copy editor? The time may be now. If you’ve finished your manuscript, what are the next steps? Place your book in the context of the marketplace and decide, who is your audience? What’s the best platform to publish your work? Podcast, electronic or paper bound book? Are you well-versed in developing your book proposal? That means having your agent pitch down. Once you’ve secured an agent, what’s the optimal venue to get your book published, with all the support it needs to be seen and heard in media outlets? Whether through traditional, hybrid, indie presses, or a combination, we’ll bring you the experts in the fields of book coaching, agenting, editing, legal advice, publishing, and publicists, plus resources on the craft of writing. No matter what route you take, your best bet is to get educated. Drop in to how stories are made. In the end, we’ll all become stories. —Margaret Atwood

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Diane Dewey

My most pressing question has always been about identity: Who am I? Growing up near Philadelphia with my adoptive family, my genetic identity was hidden. Then, my Swiss biological father, Otto, contacted me when I was age forty-seven in 2002. I’d been told by my adoptive parents that my biological parents were dead, supposedly to protect me. Meeting Otto upended my life. Through him, I met my German biological mother’s family to discover that her story too, had been changed; that she’d not wanted to surrender me and she’d searched for me all her life. Finding my truth was essential.

Based on my experience I am excited to talk to people about their own search for identity. My education includes a BA from Villanova University, a certificate from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. I’ve worked for The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The SoHo Partnership and the National Academy of Design and have studied writing through New York University’s Continuing Education program. As an entrepreneur, I founded my art appraisal business, The Realization of Art in 2006. My non-fiction writing has been published in Shared Space, a monograph, and in Artes online magazine. Writing workshops worldwide have given me the chance to learn and hone my craft. My first book, “Fixing the Fates,” was awarded the National Non-Fiction Author’s Association Silver Medal and the Living Now Award.

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