The Finch in My Brain
'It's eerily joyful to write a foreword for Martino Sclavi's book because five years ago I accepted that he was going to die.' Russell Brand. This is the story of a successful Italian-born, London-based film writer who is suddenly, wholly unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. The prognosis is bad: there's a 98% likelihood he'll be dead within 18 months. He undergoes two operations, including one in which he must remain awake throughout. Part of his brain is removed, the part that enables us to recognise written words - to read. As someone who relies on words for their livelihood, their very identity, this presents impossible questions as to what happens next. Defying all predictions, Martino is still very much alive five years on, and is writing and being read to by a monotonous computerised voice he calls Alex. His marriage suffered, his relationship with his now 8-year-old son - whom he will never read bedtime stories to again - must be reconfigured and he is made to question all that his previous life gave him, along with his habits, dreams and beliefs. As Sclavi faces the reality of the narrative he's been presented by doctors, he shows us that with determination, it is possible to change that narrative, and in doing so inspires and empowers us all to believe that it is possible to change the story of our lives. In reading my tale you'll discover how I ended up here, and how, in its own tragedy, this story has managed to lead me to embrace the beauty of every day.
Born in Rome, Italy, Sclavi grew up in the US. He moved to the UK where he completed his Masters at Cambridge University. He then moved to London where during the day he wrote articles for various banking and industry trade magazines, while in the evenings he mixed drinks in a bar in Brixton. After work, with his 35mm camera on his shoulder, he would wander the streets where he lived and try to tell the stories of that grubby neighbourhood. In 2000 Sclavi set up his first production company with a brilliant drug addict comedian - Russell Brand. Sclavi speaks and writes in English, Italian and German. He regularly travels to LA, New York, London, Rome, Munich and Berlin. No longer able to read, Sclavi makes up fairy tales to accompany his young son Miro to his dreams.