1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

It Could Fill An Ocean #BlackDisabledLivesMatter #SoCS

I haven’t done one of these in a while.

I could say I’ve been lazy, but this is a double “z” post and so that won’t cut it.

OnzYDXJ.jpg

I’m genuinely
puzzled
by so many things, too many to list, but I’ll give it a try.

How people disregard the potential seriousness of this coronavirus.

I know we need an economy and we need human contact and touch and socialization and companionship. I know I know – when I hear people I once spent time with, how they think there’s more than this virus to consider. Of course there is, but I also know I’m afraid of getting covid-19 and it destroying my life with my father’s kidney, let alone worse possible outcomes. I am not overly cautious, but I also haven’t gone out much. I try not to let it take over, but it is here to stay, for the foreseeable future. I am scared, when I hear reports of how other organs are damaged, not only the lungs.

When I hear the phrase now: “I can’t breathe,” I think of both George Floyd and all biopic who fear for their Black men and women, not wanting the children to inherit this version of the world, and I also think of people on ventilators and I shiver slightly for a moment in bewilderment.

That racism is still a thing or ever was one.

Of course, that’s a simplistic, childlike way to look at it and I am no longer one, still wishing I could be again now. I know the reasons behind, as awful as they are, and I am doing my best to educate myself even further.

I’ve been away from blogging, on the whole, for a while now and I’m more overtaken by all that’s going on in the world.

I am worried this will be a long summer, longer than last year after I hurt someone badly and even longer than the summer of 2016 when the whole world seemed sure Hillary Clinton was certain to win.

I was confused about how people could be so sure because I wasn’t.

Now here we are again. What happens in the US seems to leave its mark on us in other places. As hard as I’d like to escape from the reality of racism in 2020 and in the prospect of #45 winning a second term, I cannot.

I am genuinely baffled that anyone ever saw him as successful and, thus, giving people hope they could also be rich and powerful? I think that’s what it is.

I sense bullshit easily and he has always given off that air, even before people called him Mr. President.

People are out in the streets here in Canada too, protesting because this matters. I am puzzled by power and the lengths some will go to get it, but I wish I could experience a Black Lives Matter protest. I admit I am afraid, even with being outside and social distancing and masks, I am afraid I could be exposed and be one of those who are worse off after being positive. My kidney won’t work forever, like my technology won’t, but I am still hoping to avoid losing my transplant to this pandemic.

I’m always puzzled about computers and how they work. I don’t get there naturally.

So before this stream of consciousness threatens to run wild, I will end by offering one final observation, less timely than what I’ve been writing so far.

But wait…

I note the differences between the US and Canada like I think of the letter “Z” because, while we say it as “ed,” the US says it like: “e.”

And that’s just the start of our differences, but when it comes to thinking Canada is so much better adjusted than our neighbours, I want to believe it, but I know, wherever you are, there is tribalism and fear of “the other” in our society. I am genuinely bowled over by some things, but I can’t look away and pretend I don’t see.

I am blind and I see less and less, but I am more and more puzzled by the state of things and I feel it all most intensely.

Speaking of technology, I do like to think of zz as a funny sound when my technology, my screen reader says it, zz zz zz zz

It makes me want to go to sleep: zzzzzzzzzzz

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Culture-Hacking and Seeing the World Differently #Culture-Hacking #Podcast

I came across a woman, near the end of last year, who had a strong message in her own story. I reached out to see if she might consider me as one of the first guests on her show:

Episode 2 – “Seeing the World Differently”

On this episode we talk about gratitude and when to speak up. I firmly believe we must share our stories with one another and be proud of the life we’ve lived.

So thank you
twitter daniella young
for this opportunity.

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I Am No Rarity #JusJoJan

I took yesterday off, from this
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
challenge, but there remains a lot to do.

N0VqFzG.png

I had an
experience
yesterday, a speaking invitation to something called
PROBUS.

This was a chance to be a guest speaker for a room of retired professional women. I wasn’t just there to speak about my life as a sideshow of what’s known as inspiration porn, meaning a story of my disability that does nothing to truly educate, challenges preconceived notions and to show them what has been kept too well a hidden secret up until now.

I wanted to talk to the ladies about my life, my blindness sure, but of some of the things I’ve accomplished. I made the theme fear and travel and they were amazed I traveled to Mexico alone, to attend a writing workshop in 2017. Sure, many sighted people are amazed I can dress myself let alone travel by myself.

The point is that there are ways to know what I’m wearing and how I get to my gate to fly somewhere. I don’t do it without practice and, sometimes, without assistance.

I talked about my fears and the fears my parents had when they first learned I was blind. I talked about my loss of sight over the years and how I faced my fear of rejection to start this blog and share more of my writing with the wider world. I talked about how to face the fears and push passed them, while they keep on coming.

I impressed them, all kinds of them coming up to me after to shake my hand and tell me to keep it all up.

I couldn’t hope to change every mind about the capabilities of blind people, but maybe I enlightened some of them so that they will realize that I am not such a rarity, that many blind people live happy and active lives.

There is much work to do, why I’ve become involved with the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
to, in many cases, fight back against society’s fears of blindness and what it’s really like to live with it.

I want to improve opportunities for my own life and for those born blind or who go blind later in life. It isn’t a black hole of hopelessness.

The government could be doing a lot more to help. If they listened more and realized it is a good investment to make into disability communities like that of the blind, that given the right kinds of opportunities and supports and training, we can give back to society like we want, like anyone else might do.

Our challenge is to make blind people, struggling to know their options and worth and opportunities, understand and believe that they can live the life they want.

I have been to a yearly convention for the CFB in Canada for the last two years and to one in the US in 2018. I wish I had more money for travel because it isn’t only a chance to do that, but it’s a chance to gather together and share with one another and boost each other in our lives all the rest of the year. I face my fears by traveling, again and again and again, and to put myself squarely in a situation where I am anxious and uncomfortable, a large crowd or group of people.

The experiences I’ve had since I realized my power to make changes through advocacy with like-minded blind people have been some of the best of my entire life and I’ve met people that inspire me for those times when I do feel like it’s all too much and I’d like to give up all together.

It’s often stressful because there’s more work to do than those of us willing to pitch in with our own unique talents and skills, but it’s a brand new year here and I know I’ll keep busy, whatever happens. Life is rarely ever boring for long.

Thanks,
Dan,
for this prompt that I had a lot to speak on. My life has been a rich tapestry of meaningful and impactful experiences for sure.

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Writing A Wrong, #JusJoJan

A bunch of holes, punched into a piece of paper – what is it?

FZ8sL0q.png

As it was once done, braille still can be written with the slate and stylus, a piece of metal or plastic with lines of the six cells that make up braille.

A piece of paper is slipped inside the slate, lined up, so the stylus can
poke
holes in the appropriate spots to make all the individual braille letter combinations.

I know it sounds confusing and complicated to people upon hearing this, but it is how I’ve known to read and write since I was a child.

Handy when writing postcards when traveling, though they are less common than when I was younger.

It makes that simple thump thump thump sound as I press the stylus into the correct spot in the small six dot space, which lets me know I am right where I mean to be. One centimetre off and the letter I meant to write has a wrong dot in it.

Though I no longer use the slate and stylus method, as I prefer the speed of Perkins brailers or, nowadays, my electronic/Bluetooth braille display.

Sure, technology truly is amazing and has made literacy for the blind more efficient, but without the basic yet brilliant invention of braille to begin with, the world would be without the beauty of braille for all these years.

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Viewfinder, #JusJoJan #Outlook

Here’s my view. It’s taking a while to find what that is, but this blog allows glimpses of some of the insights I seek.

Welcome to 2020 on this blog and off of it too. New decade and I overwhelm myself when I look back on the last one. So, instead, I try to live in this moment.

I do like having this first month designated for finding my direction for the year head. The blogging world has given me many tools, including this
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
for jotting down thoughts to hopefully unscramble them.

GeNZfF9.png

Day one of
Just Jot It January
because January 1st was a restful New Year’s Day and a Wednesday, which will be my break day throughout the rest of this month and this blogging exercise.

y3zWLvn.jpg

Today’s prompt is about taking a photo and posting/sharing with any jot that might go along with the image.

This image is one taken on Monday, my day to travel a distance of less than an hour, to my brother’s town to record the half hour radio talk show on disability/blindness. I do this with my brother.

We have guests on occasionally, mostly we like to do interviews, but this time it was a friend and we had him in the background, as more of a guest host really, as we did a round-up of 2019 for Outlook.

After which we went out for lunch to celebrate the holidays. We’ve known him since before we can remember.

Thing is, I am blind and I still find managing the world of the sighted difficult, specifically when it comes to photos. They are an important part of life for most people, or at least a common enough occurrence. Hell, my brother is a photographer and a damn good one, but my memories of pictures that capture a particular moment in time fades as the years pass me by.

I wasn’t born unable to see photos at all. I am at that point now though.

I find many things about losing more sight frustrating, but then I try to tell myself it doesn’t really matter, to focus on the things that do make sense to me.

I don’t take the pictures housed on my iPhone currently. My mother took this one, one of four she ended up leaving, after she deleted some. She told me what they were, but I forgot the order of the four and am on my own today as I post this.

I usually like to include a caption in words, when I post a photo on my FB page or on the public pages I run. I do this for any other blind people, like me, who don’t see the photos and still want to know, to feel included as best we can.

This time, I don’t know if the photo I have chosen is just my brother and myself or if our friend is in this shot. We were at a restaurant that had a Christmas tree and some photos were taken in front of it. The other, at our table.

I fight with my frustrations, the sighted world being one of them, but I wanted some photos to choose from, to post on the FB page of the radio show we do. It’s called Outlook and past episodes can be found at our podcast archive page:

https://soundcloud.com/ketchuponpancakes

There are more and more forms of technology now, including photo recognition apps, but they are far from perfect. I often grow more frustrated when trying to use them than I would if I didn’t bother.

I will find a more upbeat and positive outlook for my 2020 and here, hopefully, as the month goes on. It’s there and coming.

I think it’s important to share and show the frustrating moments, as well as the times where a more optimistic tone can be struck. I have both inside. That’s what this first month is for, finding a balance, though I’ve been away from this blog for far too long and I need to warm up to it again.

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Serenity and the Frail Petunia

Dear Reader:

I am blind and getting more blind by the decade. It’s not all I am, not by a long shot, but it’s a core part of me that I wrestle with every day, some days more in a nuisance way and some days it brings me down.

I wrestle with how to balance that part of me with the rest, in my interactions with people: if I bring it up too much, I’m using it as a crutch; if I pretend it doesn’t have an influence, I won’t ever speak up for what I need or get those needs met in any way necessary.

Different blindness organizations have differing views, but as I grew and went along, I felt I had to get involved in something I felt represented me, without letting the activism and hard work of advocacy take over my life entirely either.

It’s hard enough to focus on ourselves, let alone having to work or worry on or about the issues someone else might be living with. Some prefer to get things squared away in their own lives and leave it at that.

I am like most in Canada and those living in North America in 2019 – I only recently heard of
the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB)
recently, but I found people and projects there that did make me feel like I belonged and had something worthwhile to contribute.

Just a few of the things we are constantly fighting and working to improve:

The guide dog discrimination and misinformation issue just won’t go away. In fact, depending on who you happen to ask, it’s grown worse in recent years.

People get refused service from businesses and things like Lyft or by Uber drivers. Sometimes a cab will see the dog and then pull away, intending to pretend that they were never there, leaving the person waiting in vane for a ride.

Blind people are one of those groups of people who can’t simply get behind the wheel of a vehicle and get somewhere themselves. Public transportation and rides from helpful friends or family are our best bet if we want to leave our homes. PSST…we do.

Those who say: “no guide dog allowed” claim it’s an allergy issue or a cultural one. These do give the issue a two-sides-to-every-story feel for many people, but it matters to those who depend on their guide dog to give them back their independence.

Also, I am trying to get my local library to offer me as much access to literature as possible. People unable to read print have only about ten percent of the access to the written word and books as those who can see. A library should want to do all it can to get me access to books, as I can’t pick up any book on their shelves and read at will.

Being in my local library now makes me sad and resentful. I can deal with the fact that I’ll never see print again, like when I was a child reading large print, but I go to my library twice a month (to attend a local writing group) and I am surrounded by some of the things I love most in the world, yet they are just out of reach.

There are places to get more access to books:
National Network For Equitable Library Service
and
Centre for Equitable Library Access,
but they are not just duplicates of each other. If one has even one more book than the other, that the other does not, don’t I deserve access to both?

Libraries in Canada have always kind of passed the buck of literacy for the blind onto the
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB),
but (in my opinion) they should care for every client and want to offer inclusivity and a welcoming atmosphere for all.

Instead, I am disregarded and left not wanting to even step foot into the building most times, even to see writer friends I love and to share stories with them, because the library has become a bittersweet and even painful place.

And finally, there’s this…

****

The antidotes to job-seeker deceptions presented here reduce but don’t eliminate employers’ risk of getting snookered. For example, I’ve had clients with a disability who withheld that information, knowing there now are laws that limit the interviewer’s ability to ask about them. And then as soon as hired, they disclose the disability because now they’re protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

****

Go ahead and read the
full article (for full context),
but many do not and so I’ve decided to paste in the above paragraph separately.

I really don’t want to give this article more views, but I also think people should be aware of where stigma like this persists from. I happen to believe the written word is a powerful thing.

I am not into shaming or attacking anyone/not without cause or reason, but I do believe we should do more calling people out on something if it is hurting a whole group of people.

I believe this writer disguised this attack by inserting this as one of his final points of proof of his main article’s point of view.

Most people won’t see this because attentions are short in 2019 and reading to the end of an article is often not practical for those on the go and with mile long to-do lists. I probably shouldn’t have even made this blog post this long and left this part for the end. This is not an accusation, as I understand people’s time is precious. I just wish people were more thoughtful about things )like this writer) and I hope someone does get this far in my post.

I believe, in life, we should all pick our own battles, but I am getting tired of visible ablism and the perpetuation of stigma.

The reason I wanted to start a support and resource group, which we’ve called our Employment Mastermind Group or EMG, and through some Canadian Federation of the Blind members and others, we are doing it, is because of writers such as Nemko.

We can argue all day about the real unemployment rate for people with disabilities and who are blind, but either way it’s much too high still.

Of course, the ways in which we’re told we can reach people and change minds are things like social media, Twitter private messaging, but I don’t really think a tweet sent from me to him will get me anywhere. I came here, though I write here less often than I used to, because I have a place to speak openly and honestly about something that hurts, as much as I try not to take it to heart.

Do guys like this truly think he’s helping anyone, to warn unsuspecting employers? What was the editor of this article thinking, putting the Psychology Today name on this?

I may have thought, as a freelance writer, of writing for this publication at one time, but I don’t think I want to now. (One to cross of the list.)

The question of whether to disclose disability on a resume or application for a job is often asked in the blindness community. People only want to find meaningful employment like anybody else, to feel useful and for independence and self sufficiency.

We are honestly afraid we’ll be weeded out before we’re given a chance to prove our skills. We’re not saying we deserve special treatment, given a job even if we aren’t up to it, but employers are often afraid to hire someone with a disability because they think it’s not going to be worth their time/money/energies, that it will be too much of a hassle or a risk to them because not everyone understands that blind people aren’t helpless and don’t need to be watched over every minute.

Who would admit they do this? Doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly what some employers (not all) would do, hoping not to be caught doing it.

It’s like when you want a person to like you, on a date, so you hold back on something you think it may be too soon to share. You do have to take the risk sooner or later, but you have no idea how they will take it when they find out. This is where it can get tricky. Maybe…you think…if they get to know you a bit first, then when you do finally bring it up, you’ll have left such a wonderful impression that all will work itself out. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.

I happen to think being upfront, as soon as possible, is best (in all types of relationships/be they personal or professional), but I know it’s a nerve racking thing when you think you’d be good at a certain position and you don’t wish to be pitied for the rest of your life, wishing to carry your weight and support yourself, but fearing the injustices of the real world.

This writer is including people with disabilities as “the deceivers” of those poor employers. Aren’t we just so incredibly evil, pulling the wool over innocent eyes and those eyes must be warned that we’re coming?

Maniacal, aren’t we?

Inaccessibility is everywhere you look. I couldn’t and wouldn’t include everything it is here because I would be writing for days. Let’s just say that even the comment section for the article, when I went to share my thoughts, was no simple thing to tackle.

So if it sounds as though I’m complaining too much, you’re right because I do get tired of having to bring these things up all the time. Really, I do. I wish I didn’t have to and I could go back to staying quiet and saying nothing, just so I don’t rock the boat, but that doesn’t get us to a better place.

If you are on Twitter and you feel like helping this writer and career coach learn why what he said was so harmful, he can be found @MartyNemko and you can also try @PsychToday.

Thank you for listening/reading/considering.

Signed,

KKHerheadache/Kerry

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TToT: From Beach to Bog and Through the Pages of a Storybook #ByeCoolBog #10Thankful

“Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.”
—Robert Bresson

I am struggling with my own life/self/situation and with that of the wider world. Still, I always have things to be
thankful for
and that’s what keeps me going.

I’m thankful for a lovely weekend with siblings, parents who are grandparents, and with nieces and nephews.

I’m thankful for those times when my niece or nephew takes my hand to walk somewhere.

They know I am blind, learning it by degrees as they grow, and all they really know is to be helpful. I am proud of the kind little people they are.

I’m thankful for lovely weekend weather to enjoy family time out in.

I don’t like the humidity and this final, full weekend of August was not too humid-just perfect.

I’m thankful for a beach day.

The water was cold, on initial immersion, but the water out beyond the rough shoreline was pleasantly refreshing, but felt great being out there.

I’m thankful for a niece who loves rides and a nephew who loves the water park facilities at
Storybook Gardens
in London.

I’m thankful for the fresh smell of the water park. I enjoyed lounging on a chair while they played. It smelled so fresh there and the air was cool and breezy.

I’m thankful my niece and nephew from out of town came on
Outlook CFB
with me and Brian.

They were their silly, sweet selves and we wanted to ask them about having an aunt and uncle who can’t see, but that question wasn’t one they could verbalize.

We think this is a good thing because it means our blindness is simply something about us, the aunt and uncle they love and know, but that it is not a big deal. They are often asking questions and their curiosity means they are learning.

We wish, in a way, that every child was born into a situation where someone in their family had a disability of some sort, blindness specifically. Then, instead of people never having come across someone who is blind and being totally unprepared to react/interact, everyone would just know about it and have lived with it. Only saying, this would be helpful, but not the way it is of course.

I’m thankful for glimpses of the Downton Abbey movie.

I’m thankful I’ve had someone to talk over what’s been going on lately. It helps because it’s a fresh take on things.

I’m enjoying time with family and trying to klook toward the future.

lakbfon.jpg

Caption: my family with Humpty Dumpty at Storybook Gardens in London, Ontario.

I’m thankful we packed Storybook Gardens and the bog and ice cream all in in one day.

We have been talking about checking out a local bog for a while and the kids were fascinated. It was a lovely walk, along a boardwalk, and we all stuck a foot out into the muck of the bog.

Bye cool bog and bye August/summer.

The northern sky was amber and pale green over the fir tops. The air was cool, for August was nearing September

ANNE’S HOUSE OF DREAMS

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TToT: For Those Rookies I Love and Remembering To Breathe #PeaSeason #JustBreathe #10Thankful

I spend a lot of time being attracted to songs with messages about remembering to breathe. I do it, of course, and I’m thankful I can. Still, I’m most thankful for music and reminders of such a thing.

Tough year so far, ups and downs, but if it weren’t for a few familiar favourites about this time of year, I would be totally lost.

I haven’t done one of these in months. It’s partly from the tough year and partially because the whole process of this
Ten Things of Thankful
thing is different now than it once was.

Yet, I am back and trying to fill out this middle of 2019 with a few items of gratitude and this is the place to do that.

I am thankful for July being the month for fresh peas.

They’re so fresh tasting, sweet yet healthy. I am thankful for the whole podding process that I am expert in after so many seasons of practice. It’s so sweet to me that my niece and nephew love peas too. I don’t even mind doing the podding for them, especially, and even the sharing of the final product. If I’m going to share my favourite fresh vegetable with anyone, it’d be those two. I try not to feel affronted when the two-year-old takes too many in a handful or one or two or a few more are dropped. (Common mistake for a rookie.)

I’m thankful for new experiences for those I love most. I can stand a difficult time of it for myself a little easier if I know someone else I care about is having a memorable time of a summer.

I’m thankful for the return to regular summer days amongst the really humid days.

There’s a big difference between when the sun is hot but the air is still fresh, with a lovely breeze and those days when it’s a sauna in the very air I need to breathe.

And, of course, I’m thankful for AC because, though I know I am spoiled in that, I am grateful I don’t have to tough it out.

Such heat and humidity is one of the main triggers I’ve so far discovered with my pain and headaches and I am glad I have another option.

I’m thankful we’re getting some more exposure for our show from a media source like
Accessible Media Inc.
with a feature on their TV network.

Check out Outlook on AMI This Week.

This was four months in the making.

The media are maddening in many instances, but some cases prove the opposite of that.

So, soon we say goodbye to July and summer half over. That may anger some, but I am looking forward to September.

I can’t say when I’ll be back here, but I’m thankful for my blog, always.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0r1AJMK79g

I need those reminders to breathe, between the other lyrics that get me through, especially with the headlines in places all over the world today.

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KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 17 – Lifelong, Long Life (on location at The Potters’) #Plethora #VIPs #Podcast #Pottercast #QuadrupleL

OH BOY! OH MAN!

Lifelong, Long Life (on location at The Potters’)

Almost July, but check out our plethora of moments in time, a review of our connective quadruple L, as June is Pottercast month on
Ketchup On Pancakes
and he remembers all.

Join us…as we gather around for a conversation about and filled with family, memories, creativity, and humour…lots of humour.

After all, what really makes a family anyway?

We, the VIP’s (visually impaired persons), get together to take a walk along memory lane and we do it, live from the Potter’s reck room.

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Two People and a Baby: On Accessibility and Literary Publishing

I’m glad to see this on Brevity and wanted to share it on my blog. This writer is correct. The literary community, though a community of words (which are written) are still a part of the artistic world, still writers come from a mostly visual place. I write to create a world with words, but inside my own head, I am seeing everything, as I am a visual person still too. The sight I once had just doesn’t vanish completely, but stays hidden somewhere in the recesses of my brain. As such, this goes on all while I am seeing nothing with my eyes and so I turned to words, words which are accessible with technology and braille. We just need to work together, with the sighted world of writing and everything else, to make things more equal and level for all.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

4293161316_4739d166fb_b Two People and a Baby

By Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter

My fingers manipulate keys, navigating Facebook. Arrowing down, the cursor lands on a picture, and I hear, “Two people and a Baby.” Great, I think, no context. I continue to arrow down, finding another picture. This time, the electronic buzz of my computer’s voice says, “Man in sunglasses.” Again, zero context for me.

Fifteen years ago, I became visually impaired. I transferred my visual understanding of the world into a non-visual medium. To use a computer, I now use a program called JAWS, which is a text-to-speech screenreader. It reads whatever the cursor highlights, allowing me to still do email, Google-search, write and, of course, shop! However, if pictures and graphics are not properly captioned, I have no clue what they are.

Recently, a writer friend spoke about the aesthetic appeal of a literary journal she stumbled upon. It occurred to me…

View original post 838 more words

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