As a reader and a writer, I love stories. I love settling down with a book for a while or hearing someone tell a really engaging story. I love conversation and discussion, I love visiting other worlds and exploring the complexities of our own world and the people who inhabit it through story.
Yet as a blind person, I seldom see myself reflected in the books I read. I have read a handful of books featuring blind characters, but it was only back in 2015 that I read a book that I felt emotionally understood my experience of being blind and it was only last year in 2017 that I read a book by a visually impaired author that I felt fully understood the very specific experience of being blind.
I have read some really great disability blogs and I have known some disabled people say they considered book blogging and disability blogging and went for disability blogging. Some great blogs have been born like this. But for me, as a writer, a book lover and a blind person, I wanted to combine all three. I wanted to talk about the way disabled people are represented in fiction and the experiences of disabled writers.
There are so many great disability blogs out there, yet there is a shortage of material on the intersections of disability and writing and disability and books. There are some great blogs on these subjects, that provide really amazing information, some of which I hope to link to and share with you in the course of producing this blog. However, for one reason or another, many of them have shut down.
But we still live in a world where misconceptions about disability are widespread. I walk down the street and have people make assumptions about me: they worry that I shouldn’t be out on my own and worry about how I’ll possibly be okay; when I’m out with other people they address the other person when wanting to know something about me, assuming that my lack of eyesight constitutes a lack of brain functionality and I’ve even had someone randomly come up to me, well actually they didn’t address me they addressed the person I was with, insisting that because of my lack of sight I had enhanced other senses. I feel that a lot of these assumptions about disability come from what society’s experience of disability is. Many people haven’t met a disabled person, so their experience of disability is what they’ve learnt about disability, quite often from what they’ve experienced through media, tv, books, films and so on. But quite often much of the disability coverage in the media, particularly the things that get most attention, are made by able bodied peoples’ ideas about what they think disability is like. Which is why I think it’s really important that we have portrayals of disabled people in the media, that aren’t misinformed and as a result building on society’s existing problems with misconceptions about disability.
So, Diversely Creative is going to be a blog where I, a blind writer and book lover, talk about disability in fiction. There will be a focus on blindness, as that is my experience of disability. While I will use a very inclusive definition of disability including anyone who may identify as disabled be their disability physical or mental, visible or invisible, I will not be providing any in depth information on specific experiences that are not my own. For instance, while I will write about disability representation in general, as there are many things that must be considered when writing about disability and talking about disability that apply to all disabilities, I will not be giving information on disability specific experiences, unless that information is written by someone who has that disability. This is because, contrary to popular belief, the actual specifics of disabilities vary widely and just because you have a disability doesn’t make you qualified to comment on other disabilities you do not have.
My aims for this blog are several. Firstly, I want to educate people about the problems with much of our current disability representation and how they can go about trying not to make those mistakes in their own work. I also want this blog to be a place where I can share my thoughts and experiences of being a disabled writer the other disabled writers. Thirdly, I would like it to be a resource for you to find some of the other useful places on the internet that relate to these themes. I’ve spent much time searching for such information and often times happened upon it by chance. Therefore, I’d like to build up a collection of resources here.
Let me also tell you a little more about me. I’m a writer. I mainly write novels, but have also written poetry and scripts. I also write articles and blog posts.
I love books. I read a lot of science fiction, fantasy and young adult fiction mostly, but I do also read other things. I enjoy histrical fiction, humour and poetry from time to time. I’m really passionate about diverse books and love reading them.
I am blind. I’ve been blind since birth. I have a bit of useful vision: I can see light and colour, I can see things a little, but not detail. I read and write Braille, which I love very dearly.
If you’d like to follow the blog on social media, then you can find me on Twitter at @diverselycreate
If you’d like to contact me with any ideas, comments or suggestions, then you can email me at: email@example.com or head over to the contact page for a form.
Thanks for dropping by. I hope you enjoy your time here and that you come back often.