Friday, May 17, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
Hello all. So quick housekeeping note: I've been traveling a lot, but I just picked a winner for the exclusive content booklet. I'll be contacting that person today since it turned out to be someone who tweeted. So keep an eye out for that if you entered!
Okay, now on to some other stuff.
Recently I got my first guide dog. She's an adorable ball of love and affection and she's crazy smart. We've only been working together a month, but she goes everywhere with me and she's already made a huge difference in the way I travel. I'm so glad I made the decision to get her.
But along with the good, there comes some bad.
Dogs are different than canes (my last form of mobility). Canes don't need to go potty. Canes don't cost money to feed or groom. Canes don't try to go sniff other dogs when they're supposed to be working.
And canes can be folded up and put away when you don't want people to know you're blind.
In some ways, I have what could be called an "invisible disability." As in, you can't look at me and tell that I am disabled. This can be good, but it can also be really, really frustrating. I've been accused of "faking" my disability before because I have some residual vision and look at things. I've been yelled at for sitting at the front of the bus when that's for "disabled people! Not you!" because I am young and healthy and I don't "look disabled." (By the way, telling someone they "don't look disabled" is not a compliment because it implies that looking disabled is a bad thing. So don't do that.) Having an invisible disability can suck, but in some ways, I liked it. Because it also meant my blindness didn't have to be my identity. It meant people could meet me and not know. It meant I could "pass."
I want to clarify something here before I get any farther. I am not ashamed of my disability. I never have been, never will be. This is not a thing of pride. I liked hiding it, being able to pass, because when people don't know I'm blind, they treat me like anyone else. I like that. I like being treated like a person - not like a BLIND person.
When you have a visible disability, it becomes your entire identity. People don't see YOU, they see your cane or your wheelchair or your hearing aid. You are seen as "other" - someone to assist and pity. You are the subject of a thousand misconceptions and stereotypes. Everything you do is seen as "inspiring" and that's the part of you that everyone wants to talk about, no matter how successful or interesting you are outside of your disability.
So yeah. Sometimes, I liked to hide my cane and pass for an able person. Sometimes I hated myself for it, too.
But now that I have my dog, that's not an option. I can't fold her up. I can't hide her (at least not well - we're talking sixty pounds of fluffy German Shepherd. Not the easiest to stash away.) My ability to pass is, for the most part, gone. I say "for the most part" because for some reason a lot of people assume I"m training my dog, not actually using her. And when I correct them, I again get the "Oh, wow! You don't look blind!" thing. Again, not a compliment, guys.
Now my disability is very apparent, where as before, with the cane, it was only obvious part of the time, now it's obvious (to most people) all of the time. All of those negatives of invisible disability are gone - no one yells at me on the bus, for example - but all of the negatives of visible disability are piled on at full force.
Especially the identity issue.
It sucks to know that when people see you, they don't see a person, they see a disability. I have a lot of worries and fears about being honest about my disability because of this. I feel like I"m taking a risk every time I write a blog post about it because I'm opening the doors for assumptions and questions and comments about how "inspiring" I am for "overcoming" my disability. (Please leave your inspiration at the door, folks. There is no reason to be inspired by me living a normal life. Loads of disabled people do it every day. It's honestly not a big deal.) But I've let myself be pretty candid on here, and until I start seeing these negative things happen, I'll continue to do so.
The thing that really bothers me is, there are a lot of things about disability that I want to be able to talk about openly - the guide dog process, my thoughts on accessibility and technology, political issues regarding the disabled, etc - but the thing is, I don't want to put myself in the role of "spokesperson." Unfortunately, that's sort of what happens whenever you're an outspoken member of any minority group. People like to take your words and assume they represent the whole of your community. "I know this blind person thinks this, so that must be how they all feel." I'll be unfront and I say that I have very different views from some other blind people on many different issues - just as I have different views from other white people, other women, other Christians, etc etc etc. I don't speak for the whole community, nor do I wish to.
The other thing about speaking out is that once you start talking about disability, that's all people want to hear about. I recently had a thought about making some youtube videos discussing disability related issues and accessible technology, but then I thought, "But I just want that to be something I do, not who I am."
I don't want to be seen as a Blind Person. I'm a person. I am a woman. I am a feminist. I am a writer. I am a vegan. I am a Southerner. I am a liberal. I am an animal lover. I am a reader. I am a fan of TV and film. I am a brunette.
I also happen to be blind.
It is not my identity. It is one part of a whole. One piece of the puzzle that creates me. Yes it informs my identity, just as many of the things I mentioned before it do, but it isn't who I am. I'm okay with people knowing I'm disabled, just as I'm okay with people knowing I'm all of those things above. I just wish it wasn't the one thing strangers focus on. I wish I could talk about it more freely without fear of it consuming my identity.
Unfortunately, I think this is true of a lot of minority groups. POC, LGBT, disability, etc - people find the one part of you that's "different' and zero in instead of seeing the person as a whole. Our society has come a long way over the past century, but we still have a long way to go.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Then you came to the right place!
Next week, several New Leaf Literary authors (including myself) will be signing together at Powell's in Portland, OR. Everyone who comes will get a booklet of exclusive material - short stories, maps, etc - from the authors. (Lisa Desrochers, Leigh Bardugo, Kristin Halbrook, and MORE!) and you could get the booklet, too!
An example of the material? I wrote a scene from Wesley's POV in THE DUFF.
So how can you win this booklet (which will be autographed by the authors)? EASY!
For 1 entry, comment on this post.
For a bonus entry, tweet this giveaway and link your tweet in the comments.
And that's it! This bonus material is all REALLY awesome, guys. Trust me, you want it. And also, here is the flyer for the event, in case you live in the PNW area!
Posted by Kody Keplinger at 10:50 AM
Monday, February 11, 2013
Posted by Kody Keplinger at 6:06 PM
Saturday, January 12, 2013
- How did you get started writing?
- How did you get THE DUFF published?
- How do I find an agent/get an agent?
- How do I write a query?
- Where do you get your inspiration?
- Can you make your books into movies? And can I audition?
Thursday, November 29, 2012
(Via my Tumblr.)