This is my response to a Writing Process Blog Hop that came to me via Andrew Pulrang of Disability Thinking.
Yay blog hops! Good times. Thanks, Andrew!
What Am I Working On?
Obviously, I’m blogging…probably not as much as I should be, but I’m working on it. I’m also trying to get some more freelance work, so I’ve been focusing on that as well.
But I’m also feeling like it’s time for a follow-up for the small book of personal essays that I wrote in 2007, about my experience of having a stroke. It’s out of print, so don’t ask how you can get it, lol. But if the essays aren’t included in this new book (because my first book was that small), I might just make it an ebook so that anyone who might be interested can read it if they’d like.
I feel like it’s time for a follow-up book because, reading my first book, I realize that I’ve learned more than 2007 me could ever have thought possible about disability. I read it now, and I’m kind of shocked at the way that I used to look at things. Despite being around disabled people for over a decade when I’d written it, I really didn’t know much about ableism beyond its very obvious manifestations (and couldn’t tell you that discrimination against disabled people is called “ableism”), or disability pride, or cure versus acceptance…
I think that there are signs in my first book of my activist voice starting to emerge, but it definitely wasn’t talking loudly. It’s time for a book where it’s out there.
So that’s in the works. It’ll probably have some of my blog posts in it.
Also, I’m between day jobs right now, so I’m looking for work. That’s challenging for a number of reasons in my area, and I’m hoping that something will come up soon.
How Does My Work Differ From Others in My Genre?
I think that I’m different because a lot of my blog posts end up being like news stories. They didn’t start out that way – when I was producing a post a day, it was mostly my opinions, and it was easy to put a couple a week, if not one a day. Then I started commenting on news stories and the issues behind them, and I wanted to provide background on the story, and then make sure that background information was from accurate sources with links to it, and then I’d say my opinion – and that cut down on how much I could produce, because those blog posts are long and they take time to do. But I actually like writing long pieces. I loved writing essays in high school and university.
Dave Hingsburger has been blogging once a day for years and never seems to run out of interesting things to talk about. Sometimes I wish my blogging style was more like that.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I remember being in elementary school and seeing the kids in the segregated special education class out on the playground at recess and wondering why no one wanted to play with them. I got involved in the disability services sector when I was 15, decided at 21 that I wanted to get some official training to make disability work my career, and then had a stroke and became disabled myself. After getting that training and living and working as a disabled person, I decided that I had some things that I wanted to say (that I hadn’t said in my book), about disabled people and society, and discrimination, and accessibility, and…everything that I write about. So I started a blog.
Writing is one of the few things that I’m really good at, so I use it to draw peoples’ attention to these disability-related issues that are important to me.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I get ideas from Twitter, Facebook, and a Google alert that I’ve set up for “disability”. If there’s a disability story that’s big news in the community and it’s something applicable to my blog (like when the Judge Rotenberg Centre talked to the FDA advisory committee, for example), I’m very likely to blog about it.
Some stories that I blog about may not seem directly applicable to disability, but I may do so anyway because I’m interested in the implications that the story may have for disabled people. That’s why a lot of stories were showing up in the blog for a while about abortion and misinformation about birth control. Disabled women (intellectually disabled women in particular) aren’t having their voices heard in this debate, and are hurt by misinformation about safe sexuality. So I write about those stories. Same with issues like the voting process – we don’t generally hear about how these issues affect disabled people, but they do, in specific ways that need to be explored. So I believe that it’s appropriate to write about developments around these issues in a disability blog.
Many people in the stroke blog community consider me a stroke blogger, but I always wonder if they’re curious about the fact that I rarely post about my stroke, or stroke in general. I’m not sure why this is.