1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Writing

Staging an (Accessible) Online Reading: A Step-By-Step Guide

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz_sonyaBy Sonya Huber

The typical literary reading presents an obstacle course for many people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. From finding transportation and parking to staying up late to navigating stairs and chairs, every decision involves stress and difficulty. My recent essay collection, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays From a Nervous System, deals with the twists and turns of living with chronic pain, and I knew that I needed to find ways to connect with people with chronic pain. I was surprised to find that an online reading was easy and fun, and I believe this is something other authors can easily do to extend their own audiences and make literary readings more accessible.

My first foray into online readings was through a Facebook Live Event. I hadn’t seen this done before so I kind of winged it, and in the end I think it turned…

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Tongue Tied #Language #SoCS

“Language is your medium and use it to the max.”

—Anne Rice

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

I think about language as I sit in the quiet room of my local library on certain Wednesday nights. I am trying to come up with a bit of story to read out loud at the end of my writing group and I want to use the right sort of words and sentences.

Anne Rice is one who believes in adverbs, even though many so-called writing pros condemn the use of them. Ugh!

How am I supposed to know what is the right way to go?

I’m just glad I’ve managed/mastered the English language this far, when I wish I’d focused harder and done better at learning French when I was in school. I am proud that Canada is a multi-language nation and it can only serve as a benefit.

My family doesn’t all speak Polish or German. I wish we did. My father’s parents didn’t teach him their native European languages, by speaking them at home when he was young. I think they were so focused on learning English, as still fairly new to North America, that they couldn’t be bothered. I hope they didn’t feel any sort of shame surrounding the speak of their birth countries, being recent immigrants to Canada.

My mom learned German, as my grandparents always spoke it, but a certain dialect of the language. My grandpa used to tell me stories of how he didn’t even speak English before going to school. It was always German in his home as a child.

My mom speaks some and understands it. This allows her to speak to my uncle who visits from Germany every few years.

I was recently blown away by the beauty and rhythm of Spanish, as I prepared to travel to Mexico. I tried, for months, to learn some so I wouldn’t be totally lost when I went down there. By the end of my week, I’d gotten better at recognizing what was being said around me, but I would have needed many more weeks there to be able to speak any with much confidence.

Language is hard. It is one of those things that gets harder and harder to learn as you age. I am so set on learning to play the violin, at age 33, that I can’t possibly fit in learning any other language on top of that.

Ah well…there’s always my forties.

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TToT: Dead Ends Sometimes Lead To Beautiful Leaves – May Days Eh? #MayDay #AtoZChallenge #10Thankful

The rain comes down. It keeps coming. Rough weather and natural events going on all over: flooding and tornados in the United State’s southwest and an earthquake in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon. One year ago a giant wildfire spread in Alberta. Homes were destroyed by the flames.

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I can’t see the colourful flowers and buds in my yard. I can’t see the photos of earth, seen through saturn’s rings.

Okay, just getting the bad stuff out of the way. Now the gratitude can begin.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a pitch acceptance to start off the week.

I almost hate to talk about it at all, for fear that it will always wind up as a dead end, but it wasn’t a bad way to kick off a week.

I am thankful for a morning visit with my writer friends.

We met on Facebook and decided to meet in person when we, the three of us, all realized we lived so close.

One is a mother of teenagers and has had several years in the world of freelance writing. The other is a young, first-time mom, who is a science writer. Then there’s me.

We make for an interesting mixture, but we all love writing.

I am thankful for a suggestion made.

The three of us try to offer ideas for publishing opportunities we think might fit for one of us. We help each other out. That is how new opportunities are found.

I am thankful for time with my brother.

He’s been so busy, finishing school and playing with his band, but we just got a chance to hang out. We made some food and talked about where he goes from here, now that he’s graduating, and where I go with things in my own life.

We talk about that a lot. We hope to add a plan of action to all that talk now.

We plan to get back to the podcast we started last year, before things got crazy busy, but we needed one time to discuss how we want to return to it.

I am thankful for the birds that make a nest in the roof of my porch.

They fly away when I come out onto it, to sit on my porch swing, squawking at me from the tree in the front yard. They are afraid of me and angry that I dare disturb them.

Maybe by the end of the season they will get to know me and we can share the space.

I do like that they feel secure to want to build their home there and I can hear them singing, just outside.

I am thankful I got to meet and the chance to know this writer.

The Most Delicious Reason to Go Night-Foraging in Croatia

We got to do a teamwork writing exercise in a town square in Mexico together and she showed up at the airport, so I wouldn’t be alone to start off my long journey home.

I am thankful a brown immigrant got to exercise his right of freedom of speech. (His words.)

I am thankful I survived the entire month of A to Z.

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I decided to put together a summary of all 26 days.

From Apple to Zip Lining

I am thankful my father is safe in doing the job he was meant to do.

London Police investigate death of taxi driver in convenience store parking lot

You wouldn’t think this could happen. This did happen, in a town, not far from mine.

My father drives a wheelchair van. He helps people get where they need to go. Things can happen when you’re picking up random people.

I am thankful for a season finale.

I was pleasantly surprised to like Anne The Series. It became my reason for loving Sunday night. I really started to look forward to that day of the week.

This wasn’t my favourite episode, but it did end the season on a cliff hanger and I really hope there will be more episodes to come.

I will miss it while it is gone, but I can re-watch, as they are online and will be on Netflix next week.

Wicked Game – Lydia Ainsworth

End of one month and beginning of another. End is a dead one, but there lies newly discovered beauty.

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My Silent Fight #Clickbait #FightClub #AtoZChallenge

What’s the first rule of Fight Club again?

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Honestly, was never a big fan of the movie on my one and only viewing, but I decided to go for the dreaded clickbait, something I usually stay far away from doing in my writing.

The A to Z Challenge – R is for Rules

But today I am breaking my own rules.

I am breaking the rule of this A to Z Challenge, which is post on the corresponding day of the month, but I didn’t feel good, didn’t feel like it, and am instead posting the following morning.

I just had a conversation with my sister about this sort of thing. I am known to family and friends and possibly vague acquaintances as the woman who is nice and polite and doesn’t make much of a fuss.

Or, just maybe I like to break that rule. Or, perhaps, I’m simply waiting for the right moment to break it.

The common rule in the writing world (though I suppose it applies to many other things) is that first you must learn the rules, before you can even consider breaking them.

Once you do that, however, break away. Rules not laws of course, but even so…even if…even sometimes then, them, or that.

So maybe I’m still learning and you just never know when I’ll know enough to break the rules I choose to finally break.

Or maybe I’ll do it, so sneakily, it will be as if to never tell I’ve done it at all.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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TToT: Mid April and Easter Update #Easter #10Thankful

“No matter what happens, people need to get their stories out. Sometimes I think this is my life’s work: bearing witness, and helping others to bear witness. Bear witness, expel torment, see the red cardinal in the bare tree.”

–Carrie Snyder, “Red cardinal in bare tree”

One of my favourite writers, Canadian writers, and she speaks on what my writing mentor told me, as I grew more comfortable with my own writer status.

We who write, who call ourselves writers live as such. We are constantly observing the world around us, to write it all down when the time is right.

This week’s TToT is a little or a lot muddled all-over-the-place, kind of like my own life right now.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the chance to see myself in the media.

Check out this commercial. This girl has a YouTube channel and she is a public speaker, on Canadian television.

I believe it is important that the world sees that beauty and these products mean just as much to those of us living with a disability in the world.

I am thankful I could help my sister.

She has stuff to do to get ready for a friend’s wedding next month and she finds it hard to get a lot of it done at home, as she always becomes distracted by stuff that needs to get done around her house.

At mine, I could hold the baby and she could work. Not a bad deal.

I am thankful for yet another helpful violin lesson.

I picked up the second line to Minuet 3 easier than I thought. I really do love this song.

It did require me to use my fourth finger, which is not strong at all. It is difficult to stretch a fourth on the string.

I am thankful for a lovely Easter surprise from my friendly new neighbour.

I was not expecting the gesture of beautifully wrapped chocolates, in tissue paper, with a bow.

She wrote a lovely note with it.

I am thankful for another enlightening episode of Anne.

This one revealed more about characters like Gilbert. This is better than I could have imagined. I love knowing more about people, even fictional people.

I am thankful for the beautifully written verbal audio descriptions on several Canadian television channels, like the CBC when I’m trying to watch an Anne episode.

“The Woman is elegantly dressed and has a kind face.”

I am thankful Canada got something before the U.S. for a change.

Yeah, I said it.

I didn’t realize this one is the same one premiering on Netflix soon.

Either way, it should appear first on Canadian television, as it is our story after all.

I am thankful for women in history who made Canada better.

A novel idea for the 19th century: women are capable of talking about serious issues – Who is Kit?
        
I am thankful I could find out that there seems to be no problem with my plans to try zip lining.

My fear was that they would be hesitant to let anyone try it who is blind. So far, according to the woman I spoke to and her manager, if I will be with a group it shouldn’t be an issue.

I am thankful for the rain and for the warming April weather.

Spring is in the air and you can feel it.

I am thankful for Easter chocolate.

I don’t know what I think about religion. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the world powers, drunk on their desperation for even more. I don’t know what I am doing in my own life even.

I do know I am thankful.

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When We Grew Up #AtoZChallenge

We all wanted to be a lot of things when we grew up. We’ve all dreamt of being many things. I know I did.

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Librarian. Artist. Doctor/ Nurse. Psychologist. Novelist/writer. Bookstore owner. Travel blogger. Author/speaker.

The A to Z Challenge – M is for Marine biology

I now dream of a career in writing, but once I dreamt of studying to become a marine biologist. I loved/love the ocean and all creatures within, so so much, that I wish I could have done better in science and somehow become someone who could study marine ecosystems and make a difference to the oceans and everything living in them.

I didn’t do too well in science and I am afraid of boats. Always have been. I believe I carry a healthy, respectful fear of the sea. Its immensity makes me feel as small as anything else ever could. Yet, I am utterly fascinated by it and everything existing in it.

I want to study jellyfish.

I want to study dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles, rays, from the smallest organism to the blue whale. I love it all.

We sometimes must admit that we won’t ever be what we once dreamed of, but I keep the faith I might one day get to write about the ocean, even if I will never study it scientifically.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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Never Call Yourself a Writer, and Other Rules for Writing

Yeah. All this.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

shawna kenneyBy Shawna Kenney

First thought, best thought; revise, revise, revise. Write first thing in the morning when the mind is alert; write at night and never while sober. Do it alone, in an office with the door closed, surrounded by books; write in coffee shops, surrounded by stimulating characters and conversation. Use traditional quotation marks and capitalization Unless You Are a ‘Genius.’ Journal in longhand; always type fast. Sentences longer than three or four lines are unacceptable and tedious, unless you are William Faulkner, William Beckett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jamaica Kincaid, Virginia Woolf, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, David Foster Wallace or one of those other people who can get away with it. Short is good.

Write with an ideal reader in mind; fuck the audience. Never show anyone an early draft; find a workshop for feedback. Write to please everyone; quit workshop and hire an editor. Take classes…

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