I’ve just signed a contract for my second novel, “Blind Traveler’s Blues.”
Wow, that feels good!
People ask me all the time. “How did you become a writer?” For me it wasn’t something I had always dreamed of being. It was an accident – literally !
Growing up I wanted to be a lawyer. Frankly, I always enjoyed arguing with people. My family would tell you that my ideas were not mainstream, and that I always find a different point of view than those around me. Alas, I was never a good student. I was not one of those kids for whom learning was easy. And, I was terrible at taking tests. I would study hard, feel I knew the material going in to test day, but then freeze up when the test paper sat before me on the desk. So, I never got the exceptional grades needed to get into a law school.
My saving grace was my mother. She convinced me that, since I always wanted to help people, and always argued the point of view of the disenfranchised, that I would make a good social worker ( her own calling by the way ). At the time I wasn’t sure I agreed. But, I finally decided, I could go to social work school for one year and reapply for law school ( with hopefully better grades ) if that was still what I wanted to do. I finished my studies, got my MSW, and went to work at a group home for mentally challenged men. And then I had a car accident!
Car accidents are great if you want to completely change the direction your life is going. Frankly, they serve no other useful purpose, and I don’t recommend them as a fun way to spend a few minutes. But, it was because of the accident I became a writer, again with my mother’s help (no, mom was not in the car when I had the accident).
At the time she was working at a mental health agency where someone, for some reason, had posted a notice for classes at a place called The New York Studio for Writers. As it turned out, the school was only a couple of minutes from our home. Well, Mom remembered that I had always been writing stories and little diddies growing up. She gave me the notice. I made a phone call. Soon after, I was sitting with a small group of wannabe writers learning the craft.
That was more than seventeen years ago. Since then I’ve devoted my life and my writing skills to what I call “issues of disability,” everything from sports to politics. I write about people who challenge societal views of what we commonly, and mistakenly, call ‘disabilities’ and ‘handicaps.’ I write about technology that helps people with disabilities lead better, easier, more productive lives. I write about social and physical barriers and how to circumnavigate them. You see, what I’ve learned over the years is that we’re all disabled in one way or another. Some disabilities, like my need for a wheelchair, are more obvious than others. Some, like glasses or hearing aides, are more socially accepted. In my worldview, it is society itself that is disabled because it consciously or unconsciously creates physical/intellectual/emotional barriers for people.
Some six years ago or so I wrote an article about a prototype device that would combine GPS and virtual reality technologies to allow blind people to navigate through their world. After the article was published, my brother and I thought, “what would happen if the device had a glitch, allowing the user to ‘see’ an event that was happening a few blocks away from where he currently was.” That became the impetus for Blind Traveler Down a Dark River, the first book in the Blind Traveler series. The second book, Blind Traveler’s Blues, is soon to be published, in ebook format, by Echelon Press.
If you have something to say, don’t wait for an accident – try writing.
Issues of Disability
Author: The Blind Traveler Series