This past spring I finished a manuscript titled Amara. It’s not published yet, but here’s a little teaser for you.
No one ever tells you how to forget but that isn’t going to stop Becky Cooper from trying. The baby wasn’t born, so there’s no need to remember how she was going to give her away. Just focus on learning to walk again; don’t even think about that old guy who ran the light. And no matter how hard Claire pushes her, don’t talk about it. Just forget. About everything. It was a good plan, wasn’t it? Why then, did she wake up one morning and decide to walk away with someone else’s baby girl?
As part of my research, I needed to study what it was like to be in a wheelchair, to be using crutches and canes. I had some first-hand experience to draw on, and I watched my good friend Nora as well. Hanging out with her was the first time I started to notice accessibility issues.
One person, however, challenged my thinking more than anyone else–and in very good ways. At one point in my manuscript, I wrote these words for the doctor to say: “We’ll get you back to a normal life, Becky.”
Denise took issue with that line, reminding me that her wheelchair had nothing to do with whether or not she was normal. She didn’t ask me to change the wording, noting that such a statement would be quite in line with what a teenager like Becky would think. I changed it anyway because the line was in the doctor’s dialogue, and in my opinion, he really should have looked at it differently.
I should have looked at it differently.
Her blog is full of such wisdom but there is one post, entitled Practicing Pride, that I return to again and again. The blog post is based on a poem by Laura Hershey, You Get Proud by Practicing. Denise writes:
I sat there questioning if I was truly proud of who I was, or maybe still a bit ashamed of needing to ask for accommodations. If I was ashamed or embarrassed to ask for or demand equal opportunity, why? I read the last stanza again and again.
Remember, you weren’t the one
who made you ashamed,
but you are the one
who can make you proud.
practice until you get proud, and once you are proud,
keep practicing so you won’t forget.
You get proud
My friend Denise’s words are important. Consider popping over to her post at DeeScribes to read the rest.