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Choking on Chicken Soup

I can't decide what to think of this. I got an email from a friend about a book in the Chicken Soup Series that says it's for "the special needs soul". I deeply appreciate the fact that she sent it to me, because it might be an interesting opportunity. I've got several thoughts running through my mind, and before I rush to a conclusion, I want to write and see what I come up with. I'd really welcome some feedback from others on this issue. Even if you and I don't agree on the issue, i'm interested in what you have to say.

On one hand, I really do not want to be "inspirational". I kind of prickle when I hear that adjective. I'm not inspirational. Look at all of the stupid things I do. Look at all of the struggles I deal with and how frustrated I get. I'm not making a difference like Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King JR. I'm just Nickie. My blindness is so much a part of me, I feel like it's like me saying "Wow! You're so inspirational! You have a belly-button. I see it as part of me. It's not good, it's not bad, it just is. I know that God has used it. I just don't think I do anything extremely special. I'm me. I can't be, and don't want to be, on a pedistal. What if I fail? I know i will. I'd rather have people look to God than look to me.

So, I have a hard time with a whole book about disability as an inspiration. But I think this book could actually be very helpful. Not everyone is at the stage where they're comfortable with their disability or the disability of someone close to them. How are they supposed to doo this? How will they learn without the help of mentors who have disabilities. If we, as people who have disabilities share our stories in a way that helps people see that our disabilities are not something to fear, we may actually help someone deal with these issues. I've come across several people who I can tell are afraid of blindness. They can't understand why I think RSD is worse than blindness. This may be a chance to share with them and help them deal with that transition.

I don't know if I will write for this book. I am very interested in submitting something. If I don't share my perspective on disability, who will? It takes a lot of people doing little things to make a difference. I wonder if this could be a chance for some of us to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities who don't have positive role models. If we don't speak up, who knows who will?


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Sep. 7th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
Like it or lump it, people will always see us blind folks as inspirations simply because we can walk, talk and chew gum at the same time. It doesn't make me any happier than it makes you. I have seen enough evidence to more than convince me that the most feared disability, by far, is blindness. I would venture to say it's almost a primal fear. That's why so many people see us as inspirations. Unfortunately, what that means is they see us as exceptions to the rule and keep on believing their misconceptions. That's why I see convincing people that blindness isn't the worst calamity ever dreamed up is not just an uphill struggle, it's more like scaling the side of a cliff. I say write for the book, by all means. It needs voices like yours.
Sep. 7th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
You're very right about blindness being the most feared disability. I'm still waiting for, and wouldn't be surprised to see an article about how Billy is so amazing, and look! He doesn't need any help going to the bathroom. I think I'm a bit cynical right now...

Thanks for your confidence. I think I will write, or adapt something from here and submit it. The worst that can happen is they say no, and in that case, I just go on.
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Sep. 7th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
I definitely think you should submit something. I'll be interested to see what you decide. Sorry I've been so scarce commenting lately. Things get so crazy sometimes around here.
Sep. 7th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
I saw this email this morning. I think that overall it's a really neat idea, as long as we don't get little old ladies writing in about how they saw the poor blind person cross the street and how remarkable they thought it was. SMILE! I think that if enough well-adjusted people, (not just blind but other disabilities too), wrote in with stories, the book could become a good way to educate people. I've read a lot of the other books in the Chicken Soup series, and I've really enjoyed them. who knows, maybe this could end up being a really neat thing.
Sep. 7th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
I saw some of the topics, and it looks good, but the title makes me gag.
Sep. 7th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
I can definitely agree with the title thing. Wonder if there'd be a better term than Special Needs?
Sep. 7th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
I had several sarcastic suggestions, but nothing usable (smile). "Chicken Soup for the Souls of People with Disabilities" is the only serious one I have.
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
I suppose it could have been worse. They could have used "differently abled" soul, or my personal all-time favorite, "handicapable" soul.
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree, those would be just as bad. What about a new book "Chicken Soup for the Anti-Label Soul?"
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hmm, but either title might portray an image that some of us wouldn't want to show to the public...I don't see myself as having a disability or a special need. Then we might definitely have people saying "poor child, she/he's blind. but how amazing it is that this person can walk across a street.." This is an interesting idea; I'm not sure if it's a good one.
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC)
I think the book will have to be done very carefully to avoid making the "look, she can cross a street" impression. And I hear you on he labels, I just wish there were a good solution.
Sep. 7th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you. I don't think I'm special. I don't think being blind is a huge deal. But then I think of the mothers/fathers with the kid with CP, or the teenager who is deaf who feels as though they have nobody, and that's why I think it should be done. "Dang, I can do it." That's what I think they're going for.

Could you send me the info on it, possibly? I'd be interested in seeing what they'd like contributed; and maybe help them out some.

Email; unspokenanswer@riseup.net

Sep. 7th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
I will try to email it to you with in a few days. It's on my BrailleNote, but I can't send emails directly from my school from my BN. So, it might take me a bit.
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
I would submit an article, you're a very articulate and readable author. However, also send a request for a less stupid name.

If you could email it to me as well, I would appreciate it.
Sep. 8th, 2006 03:00 am (UTC)
I'll definitely pass it along. And thanks for the kind words.
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