Saturday is for Sharing
Patty L. Fletcher, Author
July 7, 2018
SCAN is hosted by
Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert.
If you are NEW to SCAN, we recommend: Just SCAN it!
Patty L. Fletcher
Patty is the Owner of
Patty, It is wonderful to have you here today as our First Guest Author.
I first met you on an internet writers group some years ago. I have watched you create a remarkable career through your publications and your many accomplishments through the blogs you write and manage and the authors you promote. That includes me, and It’s great to work with you.
I’ll begin our interview with this question:
Patty, What is the most important thing you want people to know about you?
I am kind, caring, and honest.
That is important because, to me, being kind, caring and honest is a large part of a person’s foundation. It’s important for others to know these things about me because people need to be assured that those they keep time with are decent people.
It is important to others because the world in which we live today can be a cold cruel place to live sometimes.
People can be unkind but I think people must feel safe, cared about, and loved.
I simply want to project the type of person I want around me.
I treat others how I want to be treated, and make sure they know that whether they’re someone who is important to me or someone I’ve just met they will be treated well.
Q_ How do you decide what really matters in your personal and professional life?
I decide what really matters according to my values.
I think it has a lot to do with how we grow up and what our family values were. Things we are taught as children stay with us for a life-time and learned behaviors are hard to unlearn. I’ve had many in my life who were not so, and the scars will never go away.
Q_Do you have a handicap of some sort? If so, how does it affect your life and what you do?
Yes, I have multiple disabilities. I am totally blind; have Fibromyalgia; suffer from Bipolar Disorder; and Short-Term Memory loss.
Being totally blind affects how I get from place to place, how I dress, cook, clean my home, and even my writing.
As a totally blind person I must rely on others to drive me. If a person who doesn’t drive doesn’t live in an area where there are accessible forms of public transportation they are left to the mercy of friends and family.
No matter how well-meaning folks are when they say, “Call if you need anything” they cannot be expected to drop everything they’re doing every time someone needs to go somewhere.
Sometimes a person just wants to go out for the heck of it. Maybe run out and grab a bottle of wine or a burger.
People aren’t just going to drop what they’re doing to come get me at 2 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon all because I have a craving for a cheese burger, fries and bottle of wine.
Luckily, I live in a town where there is a public transit system and decent taxi services.
Even when I moved into an area where I could not walk easily to a public transit stop, I found our Dial-a-Ride services well run and easy to use.
We have same-day-service, unless the system is extremely booked, should I suddenly decide I want a burger or bottle of wine I can get a ride.
Our taxi service in the area is not bad either. If I want to go out and about on the weekends when our busses are not running, I can still go out.
Fibromyalgia is a horse of a different color.
Sometimes Fibromyalgia causes so much pain and discomfort I have trouble doing the simplest of tasks.
There are mornings when I can barely get out of bed to take my guide dog out for his first walk of the day.
I find that having the dog does lots more for me than providing safe travels to and from all the places I want to go.
Campbell keeps me going and helps me push through days that I might simply choose to give up and stay in bed all day.
Having to get up and be active whether I feel like it or not most times makes it easier to deal with the pain I sometimes experience.
Bipolar is the worst disability I deal with.
Being an emotional person can be a problem all by itself.
Being a person who suffers from wildly swinging moods, and at times what is considered to others strange behaviors can really cause problems in my every-day life.
It causes problems in relationships with family and friends. It causes problems with dating and it for sure has caused me to lose people in my life.
Short-term memory loss is just,well, a pain in the tail.
Imagine not being able to remember where you sat something down. Then compound that problem with being blind and not being able to sweep your gaze around the room and see where it is sitting.
That, friends is problematic in the worst kind of way.
When I was working in the public sector and needed to be at work on time I had to be absolutely certain of where everything was the night before and sometimes even take notes about it so that in the morning’s rush to get ready and leave for work I did not waste time hunting here and there.
People advise putting things in the same place all the time.
That does not necessarily work because if the memory loss kicks in that place where ever it was, is forgotten.
Q_How can a person overcome a handicap and what would you want that person to know?
Overcoming handicaps like mine takes arduous work,
perseverance and patience.
I don’t mind the challenging work, and persevering is something I’m getting better and better at but I’m still running very short on patience.
As far as how my handicaps affect my writing, well as I say I am totally blind. I use a screen reader or voice over technology on my computer. The sighted world forgets about blind persons a lot of the time so lots of times things do not work for me as they do for the sighted computer user.
Examples are: screenshots, memes and info graphics are not readable for screen reader users.
The world is full of them and no matter how many times I remind people of that fact, many do not take those things into consideration when they put their works out for the world to “See.”
This is a topic I am quite passionate about these days.
In fact, just today, I’ve been involved in a Facebook conversation about this issue.
A friend was really in a tizzy over an update that changed the fact that when the background colors are changed on a post, a person using a screen reader or voice over can no longer read it.
The comments on their posts ranged from mild annoyance to downright rude angry and childish.
So, I got onto my own timeline and wrote how I understood that it is annoying when sites like Facebook update and our needs are left out of the mix. I, too, lose my cool at times and rant on it but if we have educated conversations with people about it we would find that people would listen to our side of the situation. Many times things would get resolved.
A friend of mine commented that the old saying was true and that we would most assuredly get more flies with honey.
I wrote back the following.
I love this way of looking at it.
I hated to be in such a snit about this, but it just gets so old reading people’s puling on and on about how the sighted world just gives us no thought at all.
It’s simply not the way of it.
It’s no different from the fact that I don’t have a clue what it takes to drive a car. I have no idea how tiring it might get driving from place to place, how much strength it might take, how uncomfortable it might be for someone who has a back issue whatever.
My point is:
People simply cannot know what they don’t know, and they don’t put into the forefront of their minds something that they do not deal with all the time.
Just a little while ago I clicked onto a page of someone who had shared a post. I like the stuff they write and say or share from others so of course I wanted to see what they had to share. Well, when I got there it was a darn photo and all I got to read was, “Photo may contain text “Well it disappointed me. I really wanted to know what it said. So rather than go into a rage rant snit about it I wrote.
“Shame it’s one of those pesky pictures
that only says to me photo may contain text”
Then the poster and I had a chat about it.
People today want everything right now. The youth of today knows nothing of what it was for blind people even ten and twenty years ago. They’re covered up in technology that makes their lives easier than those who grew up in even the 80 and 90’s knew. And we’re not going any further back than that because they could not possibly comprehend it. I get so annoyed when I read someone griping about a book that has not yet made it to Bard. (Bard is the National Library Services For the Blind and Physically Handicap)
See: That All My Read
First, I want to know why they cannot spend $4 and buy an eBook that is one-hundred percent accessible with voice over and Amazon even has a free Kindle app for their computer, so they can read it.
Second, I want to ask them how they’d have liked it if they’d had to sit around and wait on the mail to bring cassette tapes or records that might or might not play when they arrived. (I’m dating myself here, but the youth of today is soft spoiled and plane out nerve-racking.)
Not long ago I wrote a blog post called “Challenges of a Disabled Writer”
I felt it was time to start raising awareness on a higher level. Sometime later in a different post the subject came back up yet again so I re-shared the post link into that conversation’s comment section.
I spent the remainder of that day having a ton of magnificent conversations with a whole bunch of bloggers on the subject and by the end of that day, more people had an idea of what they could do to make things easier on those of us who do not see.
Blindness does not define who I am. None of my handicaps do.
They are a part of me, I must live in this world and like it or not, persons who are disabled are the minority.
I obviously cannot walk around angry about it all the time so, to me, the best thing to do is to talk about it in a polite rational informative manner.
We, all of us, have issues that we deal with. If people really stopped and thought about it everyone in the whole wide world is handicapped in some way.
I have a saying…
“There is no right way. There is no wrong way. There just is, a way.”
Q_Patty, can you talk a little bit about how and where you do your writing?
Do you write in solitude or in public places?
I mostly like quiet solitude when I write.
There are times when I toss my Laptop in a backpack, grab a set of headphones, my phone and Bluetooth keyboard and all other necessary writing tools and head off to a favorite bar or coffee-house.
I usually do this when I find myself running low on inspiration.
Sometimes I don’t really need to engage with others. I just need to be able to listen to conversations and activities going on around me while I write.
It seems to help my writers’ block when I change my environment.
When I wrote my first book,
How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life,
I wrote a sizable portion of this first book sitting in the phone room where I worked.
We would get quiet time sometimes on the phones and I had to have something to do to fill that time.
I found I could write my book there because people I worked with loved hearing the stories of things that happened during my time at The Seeing Eye so while I told stories I wrote them down.
Final Comment from Lynda and Miss Opal:
Patty, Miss Opal and I agree that your interview and story is encouraging to us. We appreciate your honesty and courage and how you described your daily battles & victories as a person with multiple disabilities.
We know our readers will be inspired and encouraged by your courageous journey and we thank you for being our first guest at “Saturday is for Sharing.”
Q_Patty, please give us a final thought about your book,
In this magical and love filled tail, King Campbell (AKA Bubba) travels to the puppy nursery at The Seeing Eye to help ready a group of puppies who are just about to embark on the fabulous journey of learning to become Seeing Eye dogs. Just as he is about to finish his tail, a wee pup becomes very frightened of all that lies ahead, and one frightfully stormy night she runs away! Will King Campbell hear the urgent call from the puppy nursery in time? Will they find her and save her so she can fulfill her destiny?
The use of “Tail ” instead of “Tale” – and – “Magik” instead of “Magic” is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell
The use of “Tail” instead of “Tale” for story and “Magik” instead of “Magic” is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell
Patty’s final comment:
I’m very grateful for having had this time to share a
bit of myself with you and your readers.
Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright July 7, 2018. All rights reserved.
Saturday is for Sharing
A weekly series coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner. Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg. Miss Opal has a sister-cat named Miss Bessie. Lynda is married to Bob Lambert and the couple share their home with 2 rescued dogs; Mitchell and Miss Dixie Tulip. Lynda is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, and she is a fiber artist and author.
Lynda is the author of 2 published books:
Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!
Lynda has just completed her 3rd book
Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – 60 poems
AND her FIRST CHAPBOOK
first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.
Both new books are now available for publication. Editors, please contact Lynda for the manuscript.
~Thank you for visiting with us today~
Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert
Contact: Lynda & Miss Opal at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTIONS are always welcome.
PLEASE SHARE by Re-Blogging this article on Social Media.