On Living with Blindness #Thursday Book Feature

Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life
by Mary Hiland
Copyright 2019.

From the author of The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living comes a compelling memoir about living with blindness. Unlike most memoirs, this one isn’t told in chronological order. Instead, each chapter covers a particular facet of the author’s life.
She describes her childhood and talks about how she dreamed of being a dancer on Broadway. She shares how that dream was dashed when she was diagnosed with legal blindness at the age of eighteen as a result of retinitis pigmentosa. This degenerative disease had been progressing throughout most of her life.
As an adult, despite this diagnosis, she cross-country skied, biked, and hiked on a regular basis and participated in a variety of entertainment groups as well as Toastmasters and other organizations. She even formed some groups of her own. She describes, in great detail, her experiences and adventures.
Other chapters cover college, getting married, finding a job, parenting, being a grandparent, and how she acquired a succession of guide dogs. She also discusses some myths and misperceptions about blind people and gives advice to others facing vision loss. In an afterword, she shares, for the benefit of her children and grandchildren, memories of relatives who influenced her as well as her legacies. The book includes journal entries, letters, articles, and photos.
I met Mary several years ago through Behind Our Eyes, an organization of disabled writers, of which I’m president. Unlike her, I tried a few of the physical activities in which she participated, fell once or twice, and gave up. I admire her courage and determination. Anyone reading this book will be enlightened and educated.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

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.

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My Christmas Gift #Thursday Book Feature

Today, instead of reviewing someone else’s work, I’m tooting my own horn and offering a gift to all my loyal readers and followers. I’m pleased to announce that my two latest books, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds and The Red Dress: A Novel, can now be purchased from Smashwords absolutely free from now until January 1st. See below for more information about each book and links to where it can be downloaded from Smashwords. Happy reading!

 

The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books


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.

 

Click to order from Smashwords in various eBook formats.

 

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

Copyright 2016 by Dld Books


In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor. She was in her mid—forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.
She discusses learning to dress him and transfer him from one place to another, sitting up with him at night when he couldn’t urinate or move his bowels, and dealing with doctors and bureaucrats to obtain necessary equipment and services. There were happy times, like when she played the piano or guitar and sang his favorite songs, or when they went out to eat or to a concert. She also explains how she purchased a wheelchair accessible van and found people to drive it, so they wouldn’t always depend on the local para-transit service’s limited hours. In the end, she describes the painful decision she and Bill made to move him to a nursing home when he became too weak for her to care for him in September of 2012. He seemed to give up on life and passed away a month later.

 

Click here to order My Ideal Partner in various eBook formats from Smashwords.

 

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Deck the Halls/It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas #Monday Musical Memories

When I was growing up in Tucson, Arizona, my family made the yearly pilgrimage to the Christmas tree lot. Unlike other places, Arizona rarely had snow at Christmas or any other time of the year. Unlike other families, we didn’t trek into the forest to cut a tree. Dad didn’t even own an ax or chain saw back then.

At the lot, I wandered among the trees, touching their branches, breathing in the aroma of fresh pine, and occasionally singing what little words I knew of  “Oh Christmas Tree.” I wanted every tree. Because of my limited vision, my parents didn’t take my suggestions to heart. We finally found the perfect tree and hauled it home. Then, the real fun began.

While Christmas music played on the phonograph, I watched, fascinated, as Mother and Dad, with meticulous care, strung the lights on the tree. At first, tinsel was used. But when my baby brother, then the cats, pulled it off the tree and dragged it all over the house, my parents gave up on that idea.

Once the lights were strung, the decorations were hung. I loved the colored glass balls. Mother showed me how to hang each one on a branch and take care that it wasn’t placed on the same branch as another ornament. We also had angels, snowmen, Santa Claus figurines, and, of course, candy canes, which didn’t last long after my younger brother developed an appetite for them. I believe most of the decorations were handed down from my grandmother or great-grandmother.

After we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1973 when I was twelve, we discovered that most tree lots were indoors. But it was still fun to purchase, take home, and decorate a Christmas tree. Nowadays, with just me in the house, I don’t bother with a tree or any decorations. Besides, there’s no room in my living room for a tree. Although I can appreciate Christmas trees and ornaments despite my visual impairment, if I’m the only one around to see them most of the time, to me, it’s not worth the time, money, and effort. Instead, I play recorded Christmas music when I’m working or doing other things.

Today, I’m singing two songs for the price of one. They’re both about decorating for the holidays. Click the link below to hear them and enjoy!

 

Deck the Halls/It’s beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

 

How about you? What do you remember about decorating for the holidays when you were growing up? Did you cut a tree in the forest or buy one from a lot? What kind of decorations did you have? Were they handed down through generations?

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

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.

***

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Announcing BOE Fair #Thursday Book Feature

Today, instead of reviewing one book, I’m going to share an event where you can learn about fifteen books from nine different authors. I’m president of Behind Our Eyes, an organization of disabled writers scattered across the country. We meet at least twice a month for critique sessions, guest presentations, and other activities and publish an online magazine called Magnets and Ladders. We’ve published two anthologies of our work, and we’re working on a third.

We recently held a book fair, showcasing work by nine authors, myself included. This was recorded and is available to the public. Below, you’ll find information about the event plus links to the recording and to more information about Behind Our Eyes. Happy reading!

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Good Books, Unique Gifts, and New Opportunities at your Fingertips
First Book Fair

Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities, held its first book fair and two-hundred-seventy-third call attended by nine presenters and many Behind Our Eyes member listeners. Bonnie Blose and Marilyn Brandt Smith hosted this two-hour event. A brief introduction to the focus and activities of the organization was followed by a parade of books: novels, memoirs of personal challenge, writings of the holiday season, adventures and essays with agendas, and a sure-to-be-classic disability awareness book written to assist blind and visually impaired consumers in navigating the healthcare system. Fifteen books were presented by their nine authors. Visit http://www.behindoureyes.org/wp/bookfair/ to read more and download this conference recording. Share it with your friends and newsletters, magazines, etc. Visit http://www.behindoureyes.org for a contact or membership form to offer feedback, ask questions, or join this amazing organization.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

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.

***

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My First Love #Creative Nonfiction

His name was Brett Claytor. He was in third grade while I was in fourth. We were both students at the Arizona State School for the Deaf & Blind in Tucson in the 1960’s. He played the piano, and I played the ukulele.

We decided to perform together in the school talent show. One of our favorite Three Dog Night songs was “Joy to the World.” After school while waiting for our parents to pick us up, we practiced in the second grade classroom which had a piano. I had a hard time playing this song on the ukulele. So, I finally gave up and stood next to the piano and sang while he played and sang with me.

On the night of the talent show, I wore a long red dress Mother bought for me while he wore slacks and a shirt. I was partially sighted while he had no vision. So, I let him feel my dress, and he said, “Wow!” Our performance was flawless, and we got rave reviews from parents and classmates.

Our relationship continued after that. He liked rockets, so I dreamed about us blasting off to a faraway planet to start a new life. We often went to each other’s houses where we listened to music.

Once I showed him one of my dolls and said it was our baby. He said, “That’s a doll.” I should have realized he wasn’t as serious about our relationship as I was.

A year later, he and his family moved to Oregon, and although we agreed to write, we lost touch until 1976 when I was a freshman in high school.

By this time, my family was living in Sheridan, Wyoming. One night at the dinner table, Dad said, “Honey, what ever happened to that boy you knew in Arizona?”

“You mean Brett?”

“Yeah, Brett, did you ever hear from him?”

“No,” I answered, and to my surprise, I found myself wishing I knew where he was.

“You wanted to marry him, didn’t you?” asked Mother.

“Yeah, and I still do,” I said, without thinking.

“Well, maybe we can find him,” said Dad. “I’ll bet he went to the school for the blind in Oregon. Let me make some calls.”

Apparently, Dad was concerned that I didn’t have a boyfriend when other girls my age did. He wasn’t the old-fashioned parent who wouldn’t let his daughter date until she was thirty.

A couple of weeks later, again while we were eating dinner, the phone rang. Dad answered and after a moment said, “Abbie, it’s for you.”

“Who is it?” I asked. I didn’t get many calls.

“You’ll just have to find out,” said Dad, handing me the phone.

“Hi Abbie, it’s Brett Claytor,” said a male adolescent voice when I said hello.

Speechless, I turned to Dad, who was already sitting at the dining room table with Mother and my younger brother. They were all quiet.

I don’t remember much about our conversation except that we exchanged addresses and promised to send each other tapes of our music. Since our parting in Arizona years ago, I’d become proficient at accompanying myself on the piano, like him.

A few weeks later, his tape arrived. I listened, enthralled, as he talked about his life and played a lot of songs, some on piano, others on electronic keyboard. He even played a drum solo.

He didn’t sing, though, perhaps because his voice was changing, and he didn’t think it was any good. It didn’t matter. I still found his talent amazing.

I made him a tape with some songs I enjoyed singing, accompanying myself on the piano. At one point, I told him I still loved him and hoped he felt the same way about me.

Weeks went by, and I didn’t hear from him. Dad said, “Maybe he’s waiting until he can learn more songs to play for you.”

After another month or so, it was clear I’d scared him off. Maybe he had another girlfriend. I was embarrassed. If only I’d kept my feelings to myself, we could have still been friends.

 

THE END

 

I posted the above piece here a few years ago. It appears in this year’s fall/winter issue of Magnets and Ladders.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

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.

***

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A Timeless Holiday Crlection #Thursday Book Feature

It may be a little early to think about the holiday season. But since this delightful book contains ideas for a Thanksgiving game and Christmas cards, it wouldn’t hurt to buy it early. Click below for a review of this wonderful collection of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and January poems and stories.

https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/review-the-christmas-carriage-and-other-writings-of-the-holiday-season/

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

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.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Stormy Weather #Monday Musical Memories

Tuesday, November 5th, will be the seventh anniversary of my late husband Bill’s graveside service. He passed on October 30th, 2012, at a nursing home here in Sheridan, Wyoming. He was buried almost a week later in his hometown of Fowler, Colorado. You can learn more by reading My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Now, I’ll sing you the song I performed at his graveside service.

 

Stormy Weather

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

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 Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.