Every kid wants to have "Fun Dad." Norman Ollestad had "Extreme Fun Dad." From the age of 3, little Norman was surfing, skiing on the competitive circuit when he really would have rather been riding bikes with other kids his age in his own neighborhood. Then the chartered Cessna he was on with his father, former child star and FBI agent, crashed in the San Gabriel Mountains in a blizzard, leaving only 11-year-old Norman alive. Norman managed to survive a nine-hour ordeal descending a mountain, and tell his story in Crazy for the Storm. "The actual hours spent writing were not as hard as the aftermath each day," Ollestad says of the writing process for this difficult memory. "After working, my throat would get sore and my head would ache with a low grade fever-like feeling. I forced myself to exercise surf or swim or bike then I tried to take a nap. I did a lot of yoga every morning to prepare me for the writing ahead. Now that the book is finished, behind me, I feel a sense of weight having shed from me a post-catharsis lightness." Had the crash never happened, he says, "I would have probably gone to an Ivy League college as my dad had wanted and be active in politics. My dad and I would still be surfing and skiing together, though." Yes, a movie is in the making.
Tue., June 9, 7 p.m., 2009