The book also examines Fox’s separate but equal relationships with his four adult children (he said they are on high alert to find evidence of preferential treatment); his decision to stop acting (“not being able to speak reliably is a game breaker for an actor”); why he recently had a turtle tattooed on the inside of his right forearm (“a visual record of the power of resilience”); and perhaps most movingly the gradual progression of his illness.
He writes: “Without chemical intervention, Parkinson’s will freeze me, make me immobile, face stone and mute – entirely at the mercy of those around me. For someone for whom movement is synonymous with emotion, aliveness, and relevance, this is a lesson in humility. “
For a certain Generation X pop culture consumer, Michael J. Fox recalls “Family Ties” in prime time, “Back to the Future” in cinemas, and interviews on Tiger Beat. The energy that made him such an intriguing presence on screen is expressed in his book. It even comes through to the time he’s on my screen – where I’ve seen different incarnations of him all my life, only this time he’s just talking to me – to the point where I worry, trouble to get with his mother. Wear publicists if I take up more than the allotted time.
The only momentary pause comes when he talks about Pollan. “The book is a love letter to Tracy. She really got me through ”- he swallows, shakes his head, holds up a hand -“ everything. “
The guiding principle for “No Time Like the Future” was inspired by Fox’s brother-in-law Michael Pollan, a co-author best known for his books “The Botany of Desire” and “How to Change Your Mind”. “He always says to me, ‘Speed and Truth. Speed and truth. Keep it honest and keep it quick, ” Fox said. “I don’t want to be the type of guy who sits on the pillow and tells people, ‘Be the ball.’ I won’t tell anyone anything other than my experience. I’m 59 years old and don’t have time for small talk. “
A draft of the book was in progress when Fox and his family moved to their Quogue, NY home to weather the first few months of the pandemic. From there, he continued working on FaceTime six days a week with longtime production partner Nelle Fortenberry, who was in Sag Harbor. Eventually, the team rented an office where the process was the same as in previous books: Fortenberry plastered a wall with index cards listing topics Fox wanted to cover. Below each was another row of color-coded cards with stories on each subject.
“I work like this, I take notes that no one can read and then dictate them to Nelle,” Fox said.
Fortenberry stated in a telephone interview, “Michael’s handwriting has never been good,” she said. “So he talks and I type. I am not his ghostwriter or co-author. He is the writer of this book. “