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Watch the launch speech!

Winner, IP Rolling Picks 2013, Best First Book!

You Only Want Me for My Mind reveals a quirky boy born not only with cerebral palsy but with an uncanny ability to overcome obstacles and mobilise people. In a world reminiscent of My Left Foot and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, we watch him laugh off the verdicts of the experts as he grows towards a life of his choosing – as an independent artist, writer and mentor for young people.

Despite being completely non-verbal, with only the limited movement of one hand hovering over a communication board, John Rynn is making a statement in writing this book. Composed by writing twenty-nine words a day over a gruelling seven years, this memoir stands as a testament to his creativity and pluck.

This is a story of how to survive and prevail over the impact of life shattering events. Even more, it’s about surpassing the limits dealt to us and thriving with gratitude, humour and vitality.


John Rynn is making waves in Queensland Parliament and in the media - see the Links section below!



About the Author

John Rynn

Born with non-verbal quadriplegic cerebral palsy in Bowen, Queensland, John Rynn recently completed his Diploma of Community Services at the North Brisbane Institute of TAFE, adding to a long line of adult education achievements completed precisely because people predicted he couldn’t. Recently he was made a life member of the Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland for his “outstanding contribution to Queenslanders with cerebral palsy” and is an active member of ISAAC and AGOSCI both peak international and national bodies devoted to research into severe communication impairment.

Using a speech device, he has travelled within Australia and overseas delivering motivational talks and papers about overcoming and dealing with the effects of disability. His advocacy can be summed up in ‘choosability’ – a word he coined to promote an active, positive lifestyle for people with disabilities.

As a painter, he regularly sells his work to raise money for charity. He has published two books of poems, Stop and Think (1969) and Mind Over Body (1989) and had his poetry published in anthologies, other author’s books including Leaves of Life by Australian gardener, Ester Deans, and in newspapers and periodicals. You Only Want Me for My Mind is his first memoir.


John Corrigan

Born in Hobart, Tasmania, John Corrigan completed his Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Tasmania and remembers ruminating over off-curricula writers like novelist Hermann Hesse and their preoccupation with the inner life. Having moved to Brisbane after the Federal Liberal Party vanquished Paul Keating and decimated the Australian Public Service in the 1990s, he works as a disability support worker to facilitate the life goals of people who for whatever reason find his assistance useful. He has worked with John Rynn for the last seven years. After completing several short courses through the Writers Studio in Sydney, he is currently working on an anthology of short fiction. You Only Want Me for My Mind is his first collaboration and his first published work.


The Beast Without - Christian Baines



ISBN 9781922120601 (PB, 200pp) – release date 15 July 2013
152mm x 229mm

AU$33 US$24 NZ$36 GB £17 EUR €20
ISBN 9781922120618 (eBk) AU$17 US$13 NZ$20 GB £10 EUR €12

"A Wynnum man unable to walk or talk and with the limited use of just one hand has published an inspirational autobiography.

With help from his carer, John Corrigan, and a communication board, John Rynn composed 29 words a day over seven gruelling years to pen his memoir, You Only Want Me for My Mind, and other bedtime stories.

The book charts Rynn's life from when he was born with non-verbal cerebral palsy in the small town of Bowen, to his homesickness growing up in a hostel in Brisbane and the extraordinary challenges he faced on his journey to adulthood. Along the way he makes lifelong friends, meets his soulmate, and discovers his passion for art and writing.

There are sad moments, but Rynn's wicked sense of humour and positivity shines through. He never feels sorry for himself and always believes he can do anything, a conviction reinforced by his loving, supportive parents.

Today, he spends his time travelling within Australia and overseas delivering motivational talks and papers about overcoming and dealing with the effects of disability.

Rynn recently completed his Diploma of Community Services at the North Brisbane Institute of TAFE, adding to a long line of adult education achievements completed precisely because people predicted he couldn't.

Rynn credits his family for giving him the confidence to achieve his goals. "My parents never said, 'Oh, that is too hard for John' or 'We can't do that', they just found a way of doing everything and they always asked, 'Now, how can this be made enjoyable for John?'"

Rynn said he was a 'can-do' kind of guy and he wanted people to feel they could do anything, too. "People should never let themselves be limited by what other people say about them and that they should take special care not to let their own inner critic take over and tell them they cannot do anything," he said."
- Angela Ranke, Courier-Mail Quest syndication: Wynnum Herald, South-East Advertiser, Southern Star (Read full feature article here)

"The hope and vigour for life I experienced at the Cerebral Palsy League, Capalaba is truly something to behold. One such case is John Rynn, a 50-something-year-old gentleman with what can only be described as severe cerebral palsy.
But what John lacks in motor skills he certainly makes up for in intellect and a lust for life. While John finds it difficult to verbally communicate, he finds no such issue in writing.
With support from a friend, John recently released his first book, cheekily titled You Only Want Me for My Mind. It is a humorous and often heartbreaking insight into the life of someone trapped in a disobedient body.
I will close with a poem from John’s book called 'Mind over Body' —

My mind is at war with my disabled body.
My mind has an idea.
My body takes a long time to do anything.
Then my mind gets mad with my body.
My mind tries to make my body do things quickly.
My mind should know my body cannot do anything quickly.
This war goes on and on.
It will stop when I die.

I commend the great work of the Cerebral Palsy League and I commend this book, You Only Want Me for My Mind."
- Mr Davies, MP, Member for Capalaba (LNP), Queensland Parliament

"John Rynn is a natural born story teller with a ripping good yarn. I enjoyed his writing so much I didn't want it to end. John is not afraid to talk about emotions, of sadness and loss. Yet You Only Want Me For My Mind is luminous and uplifting because the power of love, humour and belief shine through the darkest moments. This book will touch your heart, warm your soul and remind you that we can all do extraordinary things when we follow our own path."
- Anna C, reader

"John reminds us to look into the eyes and souls of all individuals; to respect their uniqueness, honour their goodness, and admire their courage. His story exemplifies how adversities can strengthen one’s spirit, not destroy it."
– Leonore Rizy MA, Human Development; USA National Board Certification: Exceptional Needs Educator

"John relates his personal memories of the challenges and highlights of his life with humour, courage and insight. Joys, sadness, achievement and a sustaining positive attitude to life despite many setbacks ring through John's story."
– Dr Yvonne Burns AO



John Rynn and You Only Want Me For My Mind are commended in the Queensland Parliament by Member for Capalaba, Mr Davies (Read the Hansard transcript here at p 3270).

Syndicated feature article in Quest Courier-Mail newspapers about the book launches: "Man born with non-verbal cerebral palsy spends seven years writing autobiography"

John sparks public debate over the issue of use of disabled toilets in this feature article

Cerebral Palsy League Qld hosted the first Brisbane launch at the 2013 Picnic in the Park in July

(Photo: John Rynn with carer Kerri Paterson
at the Picnic in the Park CPLQ launch)

John Rynn and John Corrigan with family at the 4MBS launch

(Photo: John Rynn and John Corrigan with family
at the 4MBS launch)

John Rynn and John Corrigan with IP Publisher Dr David Reiter and Senior Editor Lauren Daniels at the 4MBS launch

(Photo: John Rynn and John Corrigan with IP Publisher Dr David Reiter and Senior Editor Lauren Daniels at the 4MBS launch)


from Prologue


I sputnik over the equator propped up like a rag doll. Vital signs dropping. Breathing hard. Worse now. Breath fast, shallow, heavy. Cough. Is that blood on my knee?
My carer, John, is asleep. John! I say Johnny Boy… Nope. Mental telepathy won’t do it. He’s out cold.

Ten hours gone, nineteen to go. I have a bad feeling about this.

Food drips by gravity from a plastic bottle stuffed in the gap between the seats. It’s supposed to hang on the end of a special telescopic metal pole. At the airport, the Qantas check-in supervisor kept shaking his head before boarding. His body language was all in the silent Nah and Nope of his shaking head. His metal clipboard prevented eye contact. I had to agree. Just look at me. I might have taken out half the Chinese Standing Army with that feed pole. And so half my feeding system was denied boarding and John had to improvise.

Unable to move, I snuffle and cough and wheeze. The mucous swinging from my nostrils is a real eyecatcher. People look the other way and stare hard at their food trays.

Ah, sorry about your lunch folks. A glance around at my fellow travellers tells me my grotty smile won’t be returned.

Why thanks, miss! I smile up at her. Curvy, blonde and obliging, the flight attendant comes stock standard with lemon scented Wet Ones.

Good one, John, slouched there dozing! Some carer he is. Hey, John! I really don’t care if you’ve been preparing 24-7 for months. Oh crap, he’s snoring. Oh well, he couldn’t even hear me if he wanted to. No one can. Nudge, nudge. Wake up, John! I wanna be sick. I need to go to the john, John!

I feel so ill I want to bail.

I look out over a cloud to pick up my harp and float. But, sickness isn’t the only reason I’m so also nervous. I am scheduled to give a paper in Montreal before a convocation of learned academics and therapists.

The biennial conference of the International Society for Alternative and Augmentative Communication. ISAAC. Its theme? Together We Can. Together, indeed. In my line of work, it’s all about partnership.

As she walks past, the hostess’s skirt brushes my cheek. Mmm. D&G. Light Blue - playful, citrusy, kind of sexy. Oh, man.

If I get off this plane alive, I’ll be co-presenting the paper with my speech pathologist, Bek. Our topic is the PEG.


It’s a tube inserted through the stomach wall when people can no longer eat through their mouths. It sits high on their bellies like an oversized shirt button.
Bek talks about it and I take it for a walk. She tells the science and I say how it felt for me.

People should know. They must know.

The death toll is too high.

Thirty percent!

When an expert tells people they won’t be eating with their mouths anymore, that they will be fed drop by drop through a tube inserted through their stomach wall, it scares them at first, some get angry, and some have been known to drop their bundle. Most get a visit from the black dog - an Australian way of saying they go into depression.

Many poor people turn up for the training and tell me with a wink that it must have been aliens operating on them while they slept. It should be written into the handbooks. If people are operated on without consultation, without time to adjust, their reaction is unpredictable.

My friend, Peter, went in for a back operation and while he was there, the speech pathologist took one look at him and told him he would have to have a PEG. Peter woke up one morning and there it was, sitting up upon his belly like Ahab upon the whale. Peter was not given a choice and had no time to adjust to the idea of never eating again. Another expert had dictated what would happen and another patient took a long time to get over the emotional trauma. I am glad he survived.

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