Memoir Delivers Powerful Life Messages #Friday Fun Reads

Stand Up or Sit Out: Memories and Musings of a Blind Wrestler, Runner and All-around Regular Guy

by Anthony R. Candela

Copyright 2020

What Amazon Says

In this memoir, Anthony Candela, a self-described “all-around regular guy,” traverses a lifetime of challenges. Some of these are accidents of birth, like his poor eyesight and slow trek to blindness, and some are of his own making, like choosing to compete as a scholar-athlete. Infused with lots of New Yorkana, a touch of California, and a few related historical references, this memoir conveys that in any environment, life does not always follow a prescribed course. Moreover, as humans, all of us are imperfect. This includes people with disabilities who are often thought of as transcendent beings, but who should also be regarded as “all-around regular guys.” Just like the rest of the human race, they often strive imperfectly to get through life.

In his descriptions, the author hopes that readers will understand a little more about the nuts and bolts of running and wrestling, not to mention skiing and scuba diving. The ups and downs of coping with life and progressive loss of eyesight and, by extraction, disability in general will be clearer. Readers will come away with a fuller appreciation of the ways people deal with challenges. In the end, we all have a choice whether to stand up or sit out.

The story related in these pages will occasionally give you cause to chuckle or even shed tears of sadness or joy. Above all else, it will enlighten you about why things happen the way they do. Ultimately, this memoir increases our understanding of what it means to be truly human. Perhaps after reading it, we will be kinder and gentler to each other. Most important, perhaps we will take it a little easier on ourselves.

 

My Thoughts

 

I took an interest in this book when the author was a guest speaker at a recent meeting of Behind Our Eyes, a group of disabled writers to which I belong. My late husband Bill was on the Colorado State School for the Deaf and Blind’s wrestling team in the 1950’s. So, naturally, I found Mr. Candela’s experiences with the sport fascinating. I also enjoyed reading about his adventures in running, cycling, and other sports as well as his academic and social life. I appreciated his insights on human relations and disabilities. Anyone who reads this book, able-bodied or not, will learn from his discoveries.

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

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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Hurrying Through the First Draft #Open Book Blog Hop

This week’s question from blogger Stevie Turner is this. “Do you hurry through a first draft, or are you conscious of flaws as they go down? Has that changed over time?”

My policy is to write now and edit later. This applies to everything, not just books. The idea is to get the words and ideas down, then go back and organize them.

That having been said, my novels and memoir were written one chapter at a time. By the time I started writing my first novel, We Shall overcome, I’d met my late husband Bill. He was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I, here in Sheridan, Wyoming. When he expressed an interest in my writing, I emailed him each chapter after I’d written and edited it, and he offered suggestions and feedback. Since he wrote mostly computer manuals, most of his ideas were from a reader’s point of view, but I still found them helpful.

After Bill passed, I started writing My Ideal Partner, which tells the story of how I met and married him, then cared for him after he suffered two strokes. By this time, I’d joined a writers’ group that met once a week and critiqued each other’s projects. So, I had another outlet for feedback on my work. Members of this group also supported me through my writing of The Red Dress and my current young adult novel-in-progress, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, which is now finished.

Speaking of which, when I’m done writing a book, I put it aside for about a month, then go back to it with fresh eyes. I read through each chapter one or more times, depending on if I find any serious rewriting that needs to be done. Then, I read through the whole thing one more time. By this time, it’s usually ready for publication.

I don’t set goals for when books will be published. It would be nice to have Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me published in time for Christmas, since it ends during the holiday season, but I’m not going to rush it. As the song goes, “You can’t hurry love.” It’s the same with books. You can either have it fast or have it good, and I’m sure my readers appreciate it good.

If you’re an author, I’d love to hear how you write your books. Please let me know in the comment field below, or click the link above to learn how to participate in Stevie’s blog hop.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

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.

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract – #Memoir – My Ideal Partner by Abbie Johnson Taylor #Re-Blog

Thanks to Sally Cronin for featuring My Ideal Partner on her blog. This book, along with my latest, The Red Dress, is available free this month from Smashwords. Click here to visit my author page and download these books. Happy reading.

 

Via Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract – #Memoir – My Ideal Partner by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

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

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

Re-Blog: Book Review


I read this book several years ago but never reviewed it here for some reason. Like Mary, I was a MASH fan and was drawn to Alan Alda’s work, which I give a definite thumbs-up. Enjoy, and happy reading.

Book Review

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
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Thursday Book Feature: The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living

The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: A Daughter’s Memoir

By Mary Hiland

Copyright 2017.

 

In 2012, Mary Hiland, legally blind as a result of retinitis pigmentosa, was forced to move her 96-year-old  mother, blind, deaf, and suffering from dementia, to an assisted living facility. At the time, Mary was living in Columbus, Ohio, and her mother was miles away in Indiana.

After describing the circumstances necessitating this difficult decision, Mary explains how she, with the help of her son and daughter, orchestrated the move to a facility in Columbus, where Mary could more easily care for her mother. Although Mary wasn’t her mother’s personal caregiver, she was still responsible for her bank statements and laundry, making doctor and other appointments, and dealing with the facility staff.

She reminisces about her childhood and her relationship with her mother. She describes a trip they took through the British Isles years earlier when her mother was starting to go downhill.

Mary provides insight on what it’s like to be blind, answering many frequently asked questions by sighted people about how blind people do certain things. She tells several humorous anecdotes about mistakes she made as a result of her blindness, like the time she made chili with canned grapefruit instead of beans.

Mary describes the adjustment process her mother went through after leaving Indiana and all her friends and moving to the assisted living center in Ohio, where she lived for two and a half years before she passed. Her mother eventually made friends with other residents at the facility, even though she couldn’t remember their names. Mary describes the group activities in which she and her mother participated. She eventually started an unofficial red hat group there as an attempt to help her mother and other women at the facility become more socially involved.

Mary describes the healing power of music during this time. Her mother played the piano, and after moving to the assisted living facility, she often played for the residents. One gentleman even sang while she accompanied him. In the end, when her mother was in hospice care and could no longer play the piano, a music therapist brought a key board to her room and played and sang her favorite hymns.

Although I cared for my late husband Bill at home for six years before he passed, I could still relate to Mary’s emotions, especially her guilt. Throughout the book, she keeps saying she could have done things differently. Now that I think back on Bill’s life, I feel the same way. However, in the four years since his death, I’ve come to realize that thinking one could have done things differently doesn’t do any good now. I certainly hope Mary has come to realize this, too.

The scenes in the book where music played a role nearly moved me to tears. I was once a registered music therapist, working with nursing home residents. After Bill suffered his strokes, I couldn’t do for him, as a music therapist, what I could have done for other residents like Mary’s mother. I wish a music therapist could have been available to work with Bill on singing in order to improve his speech. During Bill’s last days, instead of me playing the guitar or holding his hand and singing his favorite songs, I wish a music therapist could have played a keyboard and sang songs while I held his hand and sang along.

This book is similar to my own memoir, My Ideal Partner, in which I explain how I met and married and then cared for Bill after he suffered his strokes until he passed away. We’ll all grow old eventually and may need to move to an assisted living facility or depend on someone to care for us in our last years. Therefore, I recommend reading both books for insights on life, aging, and disabilities.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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