I was a former music teacher declared legally blind in 2013. However, I function well with a large screen computer and talk-to-text. I have been writing the last four years..Newspapers, Children's stories, and Poems about anything else you can imagine. I started freelance writing December 2. 2016, and have delivered more than 900 poems to more than 50 countries around the world. My first children's book, "Brainstorms! A Cave, A Stream and A Grandpa That Dreams" was published in the spring of 2017. My second book "Brainstorms! A Big Hole and the North Pole," was published in October 2017. Then in the summer of 2018 we released "Life Stinks! So Why Can't I?" Now in August of 2019, book number four found its way out of my twisted head, to the most colorful imaginative book yet. "Brainstorms! Fuzzy Frogs and Slippery Bears," became available 08/01/2019. All are wonderful rhyming children's books that are fun to hear, fun to read, and promote imagination in a colorful way.
Here is how I described my disability in 2013
I’m Going Blind, Not Losing My Mind
At age 55, I was declared legally blind due to Diabetic Neuropathy, Glaucoma and Corneal Neuropathy. As a result of losing my job and the ability to drive, I was tempted to concentrate on what I could not do, rather than what I could do. Through amazing friends, a loving wife, and my personal faith in Jesus Christ, I determined to set my sight (or what little sight I had) on what I could still do.
I had always enjoyed cooking, so my first thought was to open a restaurant. I would call it, “The Blind Side.” However my cooking experiences discouraged me. Like when I put a bagel in the toaster, and it “magically” turned into an English muffin …or when I was unable to tell the difference between bake and broil on my own oven, and when I cooked a hamburger in a skillet and heard a loud bang because I had placed the skillet on top of an “invisible” baking stone on top of the burner.
I “envisioned” (see how many words are used for sight in our daily lives) handling complaints from customers who said their food was not cooked right with the simple phrase, “I don’t see anything wrong with your food.
My next thought was to open a day care. I would call it “Blind Guy’s Day Care.” My motto would be “I won’t see anything bad happen to your children.” So far I have only placed my granddaughter up-side-down one time in her swing and almost always get the bottle in the right opening.
As my vision worsens, my selection in movies becomes less “action” and more “dialogue and emotion.” YUCK! I have also become an addict to the game show network, since sight is not necessary for answering trivia questions. I feel quite ready for “What is the fourth moon of Jupiter, Alex?” or “Which came first, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ or ‘Purple Rain?’ “
Developing a positive attitude about my disability is an attribute I inherited. My father (severely diabetic) was the most optimistic person I ever knew, even with artificial legs, quadruple bypass in his heart and a rapid deterioration of his sight. Dad would walk into a hospital room of a patient facing amputation, take his cane and strike each of his own legs with a loud “whap”, and would say “It’s never as bad as it looks. There is always someone worse off than yourself.”
Following this example, I have tried to draw upon my strengths rather than wallow in my weaknesses. I turned my vision loss into an opportunity. I had a “hidden” desire to write Dr. Seuss-like children’s stories. With the exception of a rhyming Christmas letter to friends, my job and other obligations kept this talent buried.
Through the encouragement of a friend and the prodding of my seven-year old granddaughter, I started to write. When thoughts exploded in my head, I would “speak” them into my cell phone’s voice recorder. My loving wife then entered the words into the computer. I have now taken children on adventures to strange lands like “Gonclaray” or deep inside their computers to discover the “critters” that everyone blames for the glitches.
Long after my sight goes dim…my imagination AND OPTIMISM will continue to take myself and others on many amazing adventures. I can’t wait.