Outside Myself #Thursday Book Feature

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Outside Myself

by Kristin Witucki

Copyright 2018

 

When eleven-year-old Tallie, struggling to adjust to her blindness, calls the adult reader services division at a library for the blind, she connects with Benjamin, an elderly customer service representative who is also blind. As they develop a friendship over the phone and eventually meet, they learn about each other. This story is told from Tallie’s and Benjamin’s alternating points of view.

We learn about Benjamin’s life growing up: how, as a boy, he denied his visual impairment along with his parents and how, as an adult, he lost his vision and came to terms with his total blindness. This is in contrast to Tallie attending public school and receiving braille textbooks and other accommodations. At the end, the author, who is also blind, explains how she was inspired to write the book.

I’m glad I read this. Although it’s written for young adults, it can be enjoyed and appreciated by people of all ages. It carries a powerful message about blindness and acceptance.

 

My Books

 

Coming Soon: The Red Dress: A Novel

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to purchase My Ideal Partner from Smashwords absolutely free!

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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A Walk in the Woods #Poetry

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.A couple of years ago, I wrote the following poem for a contest sponsored by National Braille Press, but it didn’t win. So, I submitted it to The Avocet, and to my surprise, it appeared in this week’s online issue. You can click on the title to hear me read it.

A Walk in the Woods

 

Bird songs fill the air.
I smell pine, flowers,
feel the whispering breeze,
as I pause to drink cool water.
I don’t see much,
but my other senses
help me appreciate nature.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

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Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.I reviewed this book a couple of years ago when it first came out. Now, it’s available on Audible with a good narrator. I found it well worth the seconcd read.

 

via Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

 

 

Musical Memory Monday: A White Sport Coat

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Tis the season for the junior/senior prom. Unlike the fellow in the song I’m about to sing today, my date never changed his mind about taking me to the prom, although he almost chickened out.

When I was a senior in high school, I had a crush on Milward, but neither he nor any other boy asked me to the prom. Since Dad worked with Milward’s parents in community theater, he trusted Milward, so he said that if I asked him, and he said yes, he could borrow Dad’s station wagon. In 1980, I don’t think many boys had vehicles of their own. In any case, I never worked up the courage to ask Milward, so Dad promised to take me himself.

However, the night before the event, he suggested that we all go out to dinner instead. I was crestfallen. Mother and I were planning to shop for a dress the next day. I really wanted to go to the prom but didn’t want to go by myself, although Dad would have been willing to drop me off and pick me up later, since I couldn’t drive due to my visual impairment. I don’t remember how, but I convinced him to keep his promise.

We did all go out to dinner, though, before the prom. First, Mother gave Dad and me each a flower to wear. Then we went in two separate cars: Dad and me in one and my mother and younger brother in the other. After a nice dinner at one of the fanciest restaurants in town, Dad and I drove to the prom.

I don’t remember how the school gymnasium was decorated, but I do recall a swing in one corner where Dad and I sat while someone took our picture. Grandma displayed that photo in her music room for years.

I had a great time. One or two boys may have asked me to dance, but most of the time, I danced with Dad. He’d taught me how to dance when I was fifteen, so after three years, I’d gotten good at it.

Looking back though, I think Dad may have felt a little out of his element. There weren’t many people his age, and the music the band played wasn’t his style. After the garter ceremony, in which I removed the offending item from my stocking and placed it on his arm, he’d had enough. Now, I don’t blame him for almost chickening out, but I’m glad he kept his promise. It would have been my only opportunity to attend a senior prom.

What do you remember about your senior prom? Who was your date? Had you been dating this person long before you two went to the prom together? Did your date change his/her mind? What did you do?

In my new novel, The Red Dress, which is now in the hands of the publisher, DLD Books, my protagonist catches her date in the act with her best friend on Prom Night. So, which do you think is worse, that or having your date change his/her mind at the last minute?

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Thursday Book Feature: The Unwinding of the Miracle

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After

by Julie Yip-Williams

Copyright 2019

 

In 2013, Julie Yip-Williams, wife and mother of two, was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. In her memoir, published posthumously, she details events during the five agonizing years leading to her death. She flashes back to her earlier life: being blinded by cataracts as an infant in Vietnam after the war, escaping with her family to the United States and settling in southern California, having most of her sight restored through surgery, growing up to become a lawyer, traveling all over the world, meeting and marrying her husband, and the birth of her children. In her last chapter, she encourages us to take advantage of the time we have. Her husband Josh wrote the epilog, and in the recorded version I downloaded, he reads it.

I admire this author’s courage in the face of adversity, and I’m not just talking about the cancer. She was born into a society that considers disability a weakness. Although she regained most of her vision, it was a struggle for her to learn to use what she had. When she was a kid, she was excluded from movies and other social events with her siblings and cousins because she wouldn’t be able to see anything and someone would have to take care of her. Despite all this, she went on to do remarkable things. I respect her decision to stop treatment and let the disease run its course, despite having a husband and two young children who loved and depended on her. Knowing the outcome, this is a hard book to read, but the story is well worth it.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: One with Willows

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

One with Willows

By Joan Myles

Copyright 2019.

 

The poems in this little volume reflect on spirituality, nature, and other topics. Some have reference to certain aspects of Jewish culture, and notes with more information are included. An introduction explains how poetry sustained the author after her vision loss.

I met Joan a year or so ago when she joined Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities, of which I’m now president. Despite being totally blind, her poems display such vivid imagery. Each piece’s title gives you a basic idea of what it’s about. My favorite, “Tire Swing,” transported me back to a time when my father rigged a similar contraption in our front yard when I was growing up. Also, I found her glimpses into Jewish culture fascinating. Even if you’re not Jewish, these works should resonate with you, and this book is definitely not a long read.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Words of Life

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Words of Life: Essays and Poems

By Ann Chiappetta

Copyright 2019

 

From the author of Upwelling and Follow Your Dog comes a short collection of poetry and prose on family vacations, vision loss, animals, and other topics. It also includes a work of flash fiction. An introduction by the author explains what inspired this compilation.

I met Ann Chiappetta through Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities. I like how she writes about the lighter and darker sides of life. My favorite piece is one in which she describes how she rescued two baby sparrows, only one of whom survived, and the hard lesson her eight-year-old son learned from this experience. I recommend this book, which not only provides insight on vision loss but on other negative and positive aspects of life.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.