Michael J. Fox Says Parkinson’s Has Robbed Him Of Short-Term Memory, Though He Remains Optimistic

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It’s been 22 years since Michael J. Fox revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the cognitive disorder that mainly affects one’s motor skills. He’s been very frank about his struggles, and in a new interview with People (some of which isn’t yet online), he says it’s now affecting his memorization skills, which is to say one of the requirements of being an actor — and something at which Fox particularly felt he excelled.
“My short-term memory is shot,” Fox told People, by way of Entertainment Weekly. “I always had a real proficiency for lines and memorization. And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them.”
At this point, the star of Back to the Future and Spin City isn’t sure how long he can even act, though he’s far from retired. His most recent credits are on two episodes of The Good Fight from this year, and he had a key role in the Spike Lee-produced time travel movie See You Yesterday last year. But right now he’s considering other avenues — including writing. In fact, his fourth memoir, No Time Like the Future, arrives on November 17.
“I’m down to this,” he says of writing becoming his primary creative outlet. “My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it.”
In the profile, Fox also talks about trying to stay positive:
“Optimism is sustainable when you keep coming back to gratitude, and what follows from that is acceptance … Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavor to change. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it as a punishment or a penance, but just put it in its proper place. Then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in, and then you can move on.”
And though the numerous rough patches he’s hit recently — and over his two decades-plus battle with the disease — it has taught him to find perspective. “So the last couple couple of years have been trickier than most,” Fox told People. “But I have things that I’ve been blessed with that are just incredible. Life is rich. Life is good.”
(Via EW and People)