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AARP Interview

Heart-to-Heart With Linda Ronstadt

The boomer songbird looks back on her storied music career — and ahead to life with the new reality of Parkinson’s disease

Q: Do you plan to write more?

A: I’m amazed that I wrote one book, and annoyed that now I have to go out and promote it! [Laughs]

I don’t mind talking, but I don’t like traveling. I traveled all over the world happily and never complained, but when your health is the way mine is right now, I travel like a crate of eggs without the crate. It’s hard, and I need a wheelchair, so I can’t do it anymore.

Q: You aren’t wheelchair-bound at this point, though, right?

A: No, but if I have to walk a really long way, I’m exhausted at the end of it. I resisted using any kind of sticks to help me walk, but I don’t resist it anymore. It’s helpful, and I’m grateful.

Q: So you use a cane now?

A: Well, I have two things like ski poles. I don’t have to use them all the time, but I use them if I’m going to be on uneven territory, or if I have to go very far.

Q: You certainly have new challenges ahead.

A: As I wrote in the book, you always learn more from failure than success. I really believe that. I think adversity is a great teacher.

Alanna Nash writes on music and other cultural topics. She remembers seeing a barefoot Linda Ronstadt perform in  concert in the 1970s.

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