*Kindling Friendship* Abbie Johnson Taylor

Image contains: me, smiling.Thanks to Joan Myles for allowing me to promote my work and myself on her blog today.

Jewniquely Myself

Friends,

It’s been about a year since I joined Behind Our Eyes (BOE), a 501(c)3organization which promotes the writing of blind and disabled individuals by way of a virtual writer’s group, as well as its own magazine, Magnets and Ladders. And I am privileged to find myself in the midst of some pretty amazing people. While we sometimes share common challenges, issues around disability are not our only creative focus. We are writers after all, writers like writers everywhere, whose inspiration is multifaceted, and whose efforts result in poetry, memoir, fantasy and much, much more, spanning the veritable cosmos of ideas.

Today as my guest, I welcome Abbie Johnson Taylor, newly elected BOE president. Abbie delivers soft-spoken compassion through a straight forward communication style, in her writing, as in her life.

Me: Abbie, how nice of you to drop by.

Abbie: Thank you for having me. You have a lovely…

View original post 1,167 more words

Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Pleasant and Read (Synonyms Only)

This feature was created by Colleen Chesebro. This week’s words are “pleasant” and “read.” This time, I couldn’t find synonyms of these words that said what I wanted to say, so since I couldn’t think of another direction to go with this Tanka, I traversed off the beaten path, as it were. Instead of “read,’ I used “absorb,” and instead of “Pleasant,” I used “good.” I wish you all a bundle of pleasant reads.

***

I like to absorb

a good book that transports me

To another world

filled with love, passion, joy, loss,

grief, rejuvenation, peace.

***

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: Campbell’s Rambles

Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life

By Patty L. Fletcher

Copyright 2014.

 

In 2011, Patty Fletcher, a totally blind single mother, acquired Campbell, a black Labrador seeing eye dog, from the facility in Morristown, New Jersey, and brought him home to Kingsport, Tennessee. She first explains how a friend with a guide dog and an incident in a shopping mall inspired her to apply for a dog of her own. She then talks about her boyfriend’s initial reaction, a good foreshadowing of what’s to come. She goes on to describe, in great detail, the trip to New Jersey and the rigorous training process, made more difficult by her fibromyalgia and side effects from her medications. She discusses how one particular trainer influenced her during her training and afterward.

After describing the arduous trip home, she gives the reader a sense of what it’s like to acclimate a new guide dog to new surroundings. She details her disintegrating relationship with her boyfriend, including some instances of abuse, and touches on how that and her bipolar disorder affected her relationships with family and friends. The book has a positive ending.

Once I got into Campbell’s Rambles, I couldn’t put it down. Many anecdotes about her training experiences made me laugh, and I felt her frustration and depression when she messed up. Close to the end of the book, I was virtually on the edge of my seat.

Patty is a remarkable woman. I’ve known her for years, after first meeting her through Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities to which I belong. After acquiring Campbell and her experiences with domestic violence and bipolar disorder and other medical issues, she now runs Tell It to the World Marketing, promoting writers and other entrepreneurs. She has a blog, Campbell’s World, and other social media pages where her clients’ writing can be found. She’s written a second book, Bubba Tails from the Puppy Nursery at The Seeing Eye, and is working on a third.

She’s a survivor. If you take anything at all away from Campbell’s Rambles, it’s this piece of advice her dog trainer at The Seeing Eye repeatedly gave her. “Take a chance. There’s a fifty percent chance you’ll be right.” This applies to all aspects of life, not just the use of a guide dog.

***

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.

 

To Ana At Eighteen

Image contains: me, smiling.I wrote the following poem for my niece in Florida who is celebrating her eighteenth birthday this month. You can click below to hear me read it. The title poem in my collection, That’s Life, is also dedicated to her.

***

***

Image contains: Ana, smiling, indoor graphic.

TO ANA AT EIGHTEEN

 

 

At thirteen, all you wanted to do

was go to the beach or mall with friends.

When your aunt from Wyoming visited at Christmas,

you reluctantly accompanied the family

to a performance of The Nutcracker.

 

Now you’re eighteen.

You still like to hang out with friends,

but you have more important things to think about:

high school graduation, college, a career.

Your whole life is ahead of you.

***

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.

Song Lyric Sunday: Song of the Soul

Image contains: me, smiling.

This feature was created by Helen Vahdati. This week’s theme is “soul.” This song’s artist, Chris Williamson, is from my home town of Sheridan, Wyoming. I don’t think she’s as popular, although she’s made quite a few recordings over the years. These don’t seem to be on Amazon, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this song on YouTube. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s about one of the things I did as a registered music therapist, working with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities. Enjoy, and sing along.

***

***

—Song of the Soul

Written by Chris Williamson

 

Open mine eyes, that I may see

Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me

Open mine eyes, illumine me

Spirit divine

Love of my life, I am crying

I am not dying, I am dancing

Dancing along in the madness

There is no sadness, only a song of the soul

(chorus)

And we’ll sing this song, why don’t you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time

Why don’t you sing this song? Why don’t you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time

What do you do for your living?

Are you forgiving, giving shelter?

Follow your heart, love will find you

Truth will unbind you, seek out a song of the soul

(chorus)

Come to your life like a warrior

Nothing will bore you, you can be happy

Let in the light, it will heal you

And you can feel you, sing out a song of the soul

***

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.

 

Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Discipline and Purpose (Synonyms Only)

Image contains: me, smiling.

This feature was created by Colleen Chesebro. This week, she encourages poets to choose their own words. Recently when I went out for Chinese food, I ended up with a fortune cookie that said, “You have good discipline and a sense of purpose.” I was thus inspired to use synonyms of “discipline” and “purpose.” In the following etheree poem, I used “persistence” and “field of study.” You can click on the title to hear me read it.

***

WRITING WITH PERSISTENCE

In

my field

of study,

I’ve learned to craft

works that mean something

to those who will read them.

This has long ago given

My life a sense of clear meaning.

Inspired by love, sadness, hope, truth,

Beauty, wonder, miracles, I’ll soldier on.

***

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 Tidbit: What Time is It?

Image contains: me, smiling.

On Monday morning after we moved off daylight savings time, my smart speaker woke me as usual at six thirty by playing a local public radio station. A minute later, I was horrified when the announcer said it was 7:31 a.m. I asked my smart speaker for the time, and she assured me it was only 6:31 a.m. Apparently, someone at the radio station had forgotten to set the clocks back an hour. I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that the radio wasn’t my only source for the time.

This reminded me of a time that I talk about in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Below is an excerpt. My late husband and I traveled from our home in Sheridan, Wyoming, about five hundred miles to Fowler, Colorado, to visit Bill’s sister. In our haste to catch a bus at three in the morning, I forgot to put on my watch after showering and didn’t realize it until we arrived at the bus station. For the next two weeks, I had to rely on Bill and other sources for the time.

***

One morning, soon after we arrived in Fowler, Bill shook me awake and told me it was seven o’clock. Shirley’s cleaning lady was due at eight, and I didn’t want her to catch us in bed. At a quarter to eight, after having showered and dressed, I settled in a recliner in the living room with my radio and headphones.

Shirley wasn’t up yet, and this seemed odd. I also noticed that it didn’t appear to be getting any lighter. I tuned in a public radio station out of Pueblo, and after fifteen minutes of national news, a local announcer said, “Good morning. It’s six a.m.”

Barely able to contain my anger, I stomped into the bedroom where Bill was dressing. I didn’t want to yell for fear of waking Shirley. “You idiot! It’s only six o’clock.”

Bill laughed. “I thought my watch said it was seven.”

“Yeah, right,” I said, as I sat on the bed and took off my shoes. “That’s why I don’t use a Braille watch anymore.”

“Well, let’s go out to breakfast.”

“You go out to breakfast,” I said, as I lay on the bed and covered myself with the blanket. “I’m going back to sleep.”

I turned on my side and closed my eyes. I heard him leave and knew he was mad, but I didn’t care. As I drifted back to sleep, I vowed never to forget my watch again. Little did I know that this was the last trip Bill and I would take together.

***

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.