It’s not my style to talk about it, but I live with cerebral palsy. I’ve spent my life running from it, metaphorically speaking. Chances are, if you saw me on the street, you wouldn’t know.
I’ve written about it sparingly, first off for the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities’ Pen2Paper contest in 2013. The poem I submitted, ‘Dis-ability’, ended up on the shortlist.
I was thrilled, but after a while, I returned to my usual place of not really wanting to write about something I know so intimately. I live a life of looking twice, making sure that there isn’t something which could trip me up lurking unseen on the pavement.
I’ve received continued support for my work from the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, much to my amazement and delight, including Director of Communications, Laura Perna, reading one of the poems from Stones in the Road: Poems of Grief and Growth at their open mic event in Texas. (Watch that here)
Even so, I still wasn’t comfortable exploring my experiences any further. Then, I came across PETRIe. I was excited to contribute, thinking I might send a couple of poems which were casualties of the small press struggle. I was hardly surprised when their Creative Director informed me that he wasn’t entirely sure where the market was for such work, so the ethos of PETRIe is more geared towards collaboration between writers and other artists.
I was excited about that, and even more so when he added that they were interested in writing on the fringes of society, the kinds of things that people don’t usually discuss. I then elaborated on my experience of writing about loss, and he seemed interested, although it took a while to get my point across.
When I went on to mention the fact that I live with cerebral palsy, he warmed to the idea immediately, and thus I am working on an article on disability and transparency for the April issue of PETRIe‘s online magazine.