Writing with a disAbility can create many issues, which leads to creating new possibilities – sometimes even a “paradigm shift” in thinking.Recently, I was invited to be a guest author at a book club two hours away by car. Sitting in a car for two hours can be fatiguing and painful for me. Had I not had family living in the area, I may have graciously turned it down. But, I accepted and had a wonderful experience meeting and making new friends.
Two interesting things came out of it (besides new friends):During the book club conversation, one of the members stated that she liked that I did not give distinct and detailed descriptions of my characters, but was still able to create a clear image in her head of that person. Another person agreed. Then, a member who was African-American stated that, in her mind, she saw all the characters as black. I loved this and thanked her. Why had it not occur to me that we see characters in our own image? I know for a fact that through a particular Facebook page, I have a large readership who is African-American.
After I left, I played a game with myself imagining each character a different race. Some ethnicities did not lend themselves to these characters, but others did and it was a worthwhile experiment for me as an author - ever learning and growing as a writer.Secondly, right before I left for the book club, my sister had suggested I offer to Skype book clubs in other states. Then while at the meeting, someone suggested the same thing!
It had never occurred to me to offer that. What a great idea. I can be a part of a book club meeting anywhere in or out of the USA (and not leave my home). Well, at least my face and voice can participate. Just sit me down on your coffee table. Now groups, with or without disabilities, can have me in their living room participating in a discussion of my novel. Fascinating and creative idea. What a great way to reach out to readers. In researching this idea, I found that it's not new. It's been around for a while, so my sister can't take full credit. But, it's new to me. Also, if you're technically-challenged, then I am available to speak with book clubs over the phone.I’m making this official: anyone wishing me to participate in their book club meeting contact me through my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. No charge. Only prerequisite is that those present will have read “Once in Every Generation.” Otherwise, I’m going to look very foolish on your computer screen, twiddling my thumbs and humming to myself.