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The Parkinson's Prison and my plan to escape!

This is a blended letter written from Susan Scarlett, beginning at the end of the 2021 Day One Superheroes program, and revised before the start of the 2023 Day One Parkinson’s Prison program. For more information on the Day One program, please visit:

Dear Day One PD Superheroes and fellow Parkinson's Prisoners,

I have a confession to make. Or maybe it’s just an astonishingly late recognition of some the major goals of this journey we’re on. Over the last few days, I realized that a central part of Robert’s message had escaped me. Despite the fact that I’m completely invested in our classes and in our writing assignments, somehow the big picture eluded me. Now that I see it, I’m feeling a bit gobsmacked. How did I not see it? It was on his PowerPoint slides, in the assignments he gave us, in our games, and sprinkled throughout his commentary.

I am talking about the beautiful, huge, long-term goal which I now understand that Robert has for all of us. It IS about a journey, about a real experience of sharing in a process of learning and growing. It’s even trusting that if we think we “fail”, it’s about learning to relax into that moment and how to give ourselves the grace of laughter or an “aaaa-oooo-gaaaa”. It’s about recognizing that we ARE better together, and that our combined voices have real power.

Robert sees us as a team, as a group of collaborators, as an ensemble -- both in class and in our writings. The sense of community we build is simply beautiful. The feeling of connection that comes from laughing and learning through play is magical. Giving and receiving comments about what we’ve written is priceless.

The piece I missed is what happens when we work together toward a common goal. In the way Robert designs his classes and our writing assignments, he is showing us ways to succeed and reach our goals. I’ve just internalized that a big part of our success is the gifts we give each other in class and in response to our writings. After that, the real magic begins. As we continue toward the road back home with the elixir we’ve discovered, we give the rest of the world a way to understand the significance of our individual and our collective journeys. Some of us found our superpowers and some of us, as we are about to discover the prisons we have locked ourselves in, will discover another kind of power – that which comes from telling our stories. This power can be magic, the kind of magic that leads to real change and real progress. It may even unlock prison doors!

With gratitude for all of you,


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