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art Gifts of the Spirit Walking by Inner Vision Writing

Give me some LOVE TODAY…

 

 

Post # 249

November 6, 2020

 

GIVE  ME SOME LOVE

TODAY!

 

Lynda McKinney Lambert 

Gifts of the Spirit  Blog

 

Photo shows a Stack of 3 gift boxes.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

I am thinking about

The Book Cover-of-the-Month Contest

 

 

The book Cover features a detail of western Pennsylvania wild flower – Yellow Crown Beard.  Photo by the author, Lynda McKinney Lambert.

 

Lynda is a visually impaired artist and author.  She is a retired professor of fine art and humanities at  Geneva College, located in Beaver Falls, PA. She lost her sight in 2007 but this did not stop her from pursuing a new career in writing.  This book was her first book published after profound and permanent sight loss!

Despite profound sight loss, Lynda continued to make art and write books full-time since her retirement from teaching.  She has 4 books on Amazon at this time and is working on 2 new books for publication in 2021.

PLEASE VOTE TODAY for MY BOOK COVER!

I LOVE YOU FOR THAT!

You can show me some love today

by VOTING

for my BOOK COVER – it is FREE and EASY.

VOTE HERE!

 

Photo of book cover, Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems. The cover is deep dark green, with a brilliant yellow wildflower - the flower is a Yellow Crown Beard. Lynda photographed the flower in the woods on one of her daily walks.
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems.     The  Front Cover of this book is a photo of  Yellow Crown Beard.      Lynda McKinney Lambert is the photographer of this photo, taken in the woods near her home in western Pennsylvania. Bright yellow flower on a deep green background.

 

 

My book is Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems.

If my book cover comes inn at the top 100 book covers today,

it will move on to the next round of competition.

Vote NOW!

 

I NEED YOUR VOTE to MAKE it TODAY.

*

Photo: Lynda stands with her display of books at a book-signing event in Pennsylvania.  2019.

 

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright November 6, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Contact Lynda and please share happiness – Share this post with your Friends.

Who is???  Lynda McKinney Lambert

Lynda’s Book Reviews

Categories
Gifts of the Spirit Lynda McKinney Lambert Walking by Inner Vision

Can you JUDGE a BOOK by its COVER? Gifts of the Spirit – VOTE

Post #248

 

Gifts of the Spirit

-Vote –

Pennsylvania author

Lynda McKinney Lambert

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that.

 

If you like the cover

of my book

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems

please vote for it for the Cover-of-the-Month Contest

 

My Book Cover!
Photo of the cover of Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems.
Vote NOW Please!

It is FEATURED NOW on AllAuthor.com!

I really WANT to be in the TOP 100 at the end of this week.

the TOP 100 will move on to continue the BATTLE to WIN.

 

Please help me get there.

 I need support from you guys.

Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here:

Vote Now!

Thank you for your interest in my writings.

Please contact me at any time if you need to speak with me or need to ask me to pray for you.  I am a Prayer Warrior.

*

Who is?   Lynda McKinney Lambert

*

My MISSION STATEMENT

  • I am the keeper of memories. I distil and share them through art and writing.
  • I reveal what is forgotten, lost, or unseen.
  • I write spare poems and thoughtful personal essays.
  • I create art with brilliant colors &  precious materials – one stitch at a time.

 Go Ahead – Make my day!

SHARE my POSTS

with your social media contacts.

Share Happiness!

 

Categories
art Article

My Interview Went MIA

Post #178

SelfIE -Interview

When things get lost in the shuffle ~

What do you do?

For example –

Last November, I was asked to respond to a list of questions for a virtual interview  on a blog.   After some months, the interview never appeared.

It turns out that my interview is floating around in Cyber Space – somewhere.

My interview went  MIA

I decided the lost interview would be a fun twist –

My responses to the questions that were sent to me are posted below.

This is the interview that went MIA

 

My Friday Favs – a Selfie!

 

Let’s call this a “Selfie”

which could be much like a “Self Portrait,” for I am an artist.

The Responses and Photos are my SELFIE.

 

Lets do it!

ME_ Thanks for inviting me to come over today. This is such a balmy March day, and it is a pleasure to visit with you. Let’s take our coffee and go into your beautiful living room. I love the light that is filtering through the window and your room looks so comfortable. I see you love plants!  There is nothing like being surrounded with plants – I feel right at home for I am a collector of succulents, too.  In fact, my spectacular “Partridge Breasted Aloe,” is blooming right now in my Reading Room window.

Photo of Partridge Breasted Aloe, by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Q_ What part of the country do you live in?

 ME_I live in a small village in south-western Pennsylvania. The village is over 200 years old. It is called, The Village of Wurtemburg.” My ancestors settled this village in the mid-1700s, when they came from Germany. I have lived in my home in this village for fifty-one years in a century-old house that sits on a ledge overlooking the Connoquenessing Creek.

I envision my ancestors walking on the same paths that I walk on – I feel them. I am an overlay of my ancestors. As I walk through the woods, some days, I speak to them and I listen for their gentle responses. They inspire my writings.

Q_ What do you like best and least about living in western Pennsylvania?

ME_The connections I have to a long history in this area are meaningful to me. This is a rural area in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains and it is located about forty miles north of Pittsburgh. What I like most is the privacy and seclusion of my home. I am a rather solitary person who loves to have lots of time alone where I can create my art work or do my writing in a quiet setting. The woods all around this area inspire me. I love nature in all her variety of seasonal changes. My husband, Bob, and I, take walks in the woods several times a day with our 2 dogs. We appreciate the wild animals and birds that live here. We feed feral cats and provide shelter for the cats or any other wild animals that may come around.

I cannot think of anything that I don’t like about where I live. We think of this as our little piece of heaven on earth.

A View of the Connoquenessing creek from the First Bridge, in Wurtemburg, PA.

Photo by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

 

Q_Is your writing influenced in any way by where you live?

ME_ Without a doubt! My writing begins when I stand outside at night looking into the sky. It begins when I am walking in the rain along a path in the woods. It begins when I watch the seasons changing. I am moved by nature in every aspect that I see reflected in the land and people around me here in rural Pennsylvania. I love the vernacular speech I hear every day. This place is filled with memories   of local and regional history that is unique. I am deeply rooted in this place. I am a firm advocate of “Bloom where you re planted.”  While I have written extensively of other places in the world, this is the place I call “home.”

 

Q_ Can you describe your writing process for me? For example, do you have a certain time of day you find most productive? Or a special place where you find inspiration?

ME_I don’t know if it is apparent in my work or not, but I don’t sleep much. Much of my writing is done as I sit in a dark room with the blinds closed – during the night. I often get up at 2 or 3 a.m., come downstairs to my office, and turn on my computer. I wake up with ideas, at times. Once an idea comes into my mind, I feel like I have to grab onto and get it down on paper, before it goes away and never returns to me again. There is a sense of urgency about it.

Ideas come to me in a word or to, most of the time. It will be just a short phrase that appears like an image in my thoughts – and I grab a large black marker and write it on a sheet of paper. Later, I will put it into the computer and begin expanding on the idea.

 

Once I have the initial idea, I begin the research that is necessary for me to do. I will put down pages of research information. This will be the raw material from which I will begin to build a poem or an essay. I work only in poetry and creative non-fiction essay forms. I don’t care for fiction – seldom read it. It does not interest me much at all. I think there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from mythology, ancient stories, and history – as well as the present moment in our contemporary life.

 

I take strands of old and new, and begin literally to weave my tapestry.

Tapestry, woven wall piece by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

When I worked on my undergraduate BFA degree in Painting, I also worked on tapestries that were part of my final exhibition. I’ve always worked across disciplines in my art and writing.

My academic background and passion are in fine art (Painting and Fiber Art) and in literature. I write exactly the same way that I would create a painting or a work in fiber art. I work in layers. I lay down layer, upon layer – and the most important aspect of what I do is that I keep the piece open to change at any point in the creation of it. Change is very important to me. I work back and forth between creating and destroying – I put down, and I take away…and this is the process that continues throughout the work. These ways of working are why my writing is so different – I do not work in traditional ways.

 

Q_ What got you started writing?

ME_ Writing was an integral part of my academic experiences. I chose courses in a variety of disciplines that were labelled as “intensive writing courses.” I quickly learned that I was very good at writing because of my background in the Humanities.

My German art history professor spoke with me one day,

“You don’t write like an American student. Your writing is very European.”

So, with that comment, I realized this professor gave me insight into my writing style. What I did not know back then, was that I was working with the creative unconscious part of my brain – receiving information from  the Ancestors. I just knew my work came from “somewhere else,” and I had to turn my back on everything around me, and look into the work and respond to that.  I thought of my work process as prayer – I was engaged in praying non-verbally, my hands and my entire body.  In addition to this, I often dreamed and saw myself working in ways that were unknown to me. I was  actually tutored by dreams.  Many of my poems and art works ae Dreamscapes.

My style  was natural, and nothing I had learned or studied. I just knew that I wrote and thought differently than the students around me when I was in the university programs. I learned it was an asset and I embraced it. It was unique to me.

 

 Q_ Why do you write? I mean, if you could sum it up in a word or in a simple statement, what keeps you writing?

 ME_ I willingly step into the Mystery.

 

Q_ What genre is your favorite right now?

ME_ Always –  it is poetry.

Not the traditional rhyming, sing-song stuff of past generations, but the gutsy, tough, bold stuff of now. Rhymed poetry makes me shudder. It is usually so predictable that I can barely get through a poem that is written like this. Typically, a poet concentrates so much on the end rhymes, they lose sight of the mystery and magic of their idea. The poem becomes locked-in and stiff. I am a descendent of Whitman, and I am all about a modernist tradition of AMERICAN POETRY.

Q_ Who are your favorite writers?

 ME_ During my academic student years, while earning 3 degrees –

I focused o the work of these 4 poets:

John Donne – Walt Whitman – William Carlos Williams – Robert Bly –

 

During my teaching years, I came to love the work of:

Louise Glück – Yusef Komunyakaa – Dorrianne Laux – Rita Dove – Louise Erdrich – Ranier Maria Rilke – Kafka – Irene McKinney – C. S. Lewis – Gail Trembly

Q_ What color would you say best expresses your personality? Why?

ME_ I suppose the colour YELLOW must be important to me because my house interior has every shade of yellow you can imagine on the walls. Yellow is combined with rich shades of Turquoise, orange, terra-cotta- and delicate greens – my entire home is decorated in the colors of Puerto Rico. Bob and I went to PR every year in March for many years. We wanted to live in a home that made us feel happy the moment we stepped inside. No neutral colors in my life – none!

 

I do not embrace timidity in any area of my life!

 In my personal style, I wear red and purple a lot. I consider them both neutral colors – and I can put any other colour with them and it’s smashing! I am never without jewelry and lipstick. I make just about every piece of jewelry I wear, but I also love vintage jewelry.

 

In decorating, I am a Maximist. I like to be surrounded with art and rich colors and objects. I collect contemporary art and antiques. I don’t have a minimalist bone in my entire body or in my home. I like layers of beauty and objects in my surroundings.

 

Q_ What do you like to do on a rainy day like this?

 

ME_I love to knit. I started knitting when I was a child of about 8. I knew no one who knitted, and a lady in a local shop helped me get started when I purchased yarn and needles in her store. I knit clothing that I wear – wearable art.

PHOTO: My Library and Fiber Art Studio.

Notice my lovely cat, Miss Opal, on my poetry shelves.

My knitting projects surround me.

 

 

Q_ What’s your favorite part of going grocery shopping? What do you think that says about you?

 

ME_ I shop the perimeter of the store. I’m a vegetarian since my early 20s, so shopping for me is quick and easy. My food choices are very basic – vegetables and fruits, and some yogurt or cheeses usually.

What does it say about me? I hope it says that I truly love animals and respect their position on this earth – kindred spirits and creatures who are a creation of God.

 

 

Q_ Did you ever bring a stray animal home with you? What happened?

 

ME_ Strays are my specialty. I’ve picked up stray animals my entire life – beginning as a child.

Fortunately, my husband is like this too – so we are always looking out for and caring for animals.

We purchased 2 German Shepherds in our life together and all of the other pets have been ones we found or rescued. Because we live beside the woods, dogs and cats seem to be dropped off nearby. We take them all in and care for them – many of them over the 52 years of living in this place.

 

 

 

Q_ What is your favorite punctuation mark?

 

ME_ My favorite punctuation is the period that is inside the quotation mark. I get stressed when I see that a writer forgot to put a period inside of the quotation mark. If it is outside of the quotation mark, where it does not belong, it annoys me. I think of the quotation mark as hugging the period and keeping it warm in winter time. I guess this is a pet peeve of mine – when a period is displaced and lost out there past the quotation mark. It’s kind of like being lost in Cyber Space!

 

 

Q_ What role have children played in your life? How about in your writing?

-What is your favorite fairy tale/children’s story? Why?

Favorite myth is about Persephone and I have researched and written about this Greek myth quite a lot. I’ve done academic presentations on it, poems, and essays. I am fascinated with the ancient concept of FATE, FORTUNE, and the OLYMPIANS. I’ve never had the good fortune of visiting GREECE, but I love the old stories and legends of GREECE. When teaching, I lectured on Greek art and history – and its fascinating.  I love the big picture we get of our own work, today, when we understand the ancient past and how all of this has influenced everything we experience now.  I feel sorry for any student  in our culture, who is  not well-read in the Classics.  Their understanding  will be quite limited for they do not  understand their own past.  When my son came home from his first semester at Bard College, I was so delighted to see  that Classical texts were the center of his early education.  They are supremely important. 

Q_ Tell me about your family, please.

ME_ My husband and I had 3 biological daughters. We adopted 2 children, from Vietnam and Korea. All of the children are grown and most have children of their own.

We have 7 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren. It is obvious we like kids! Christmas time at our house is super joyful because they all come home for the holidays.   They play games around the dining room table all night long.

 

I don’t write about children and I don’t write for children.

 

 

Q_ Tell me a little more about your writing and where I can read your work?

ME_ Sure. I’d be glad to share that with you.

First, I’ll begin with where I am at this moment in my publishing life.

I have a new book at the editors right now.   I worked on this book for the past 2 years.

The book’s title is STAR SIGNS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS.

As the title indicates, it is a book of sixty poems.

 

The book is divided into 4 sections.

Each represents a different aspect of life: Sky, Legends & Metaphors, Earth, and Seasons.

The book’s title is the opening poem of the collection, “Star Signs.”

 

 

Second, I am currently working on a revision of my first book that was published in 2002. “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press.

I am updating and expanding the scope of this book of poems and journal entries.

It will have a new name as well and a new look.

This new book will be published in 2020, under the title, “Pilgrimage.”

 

 

Finally, my latest book that is available now on Amazon and other selling sites, is

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017.

This book contains 27 essays and 16 poems. It is organized as a trip through a year, from January through December. Each chapter is a month of the year, and opens with a poem for that season.

 

I am pleased to say that the book is being recorded by Perkins Library, and will be available later this year as an audio book through that library.

 The book will also be produced as an Audible option and available eventually on Amazon.

At this moment it can be purchased through a variety of book sellers. Check my short bio below for more links and information. Thanks for the INTERVIEW. In the spirit of the age, I loved the IDEA of the SELFIE Interview! I hope you did, too.

This essay is brought to you by the author, Lynda McKinney Lambert.

View Publications Page for updates on my stories and poems being published.

Walking by Inner Vision.

Lynda’s Author ‘s Page

This blog post is the property of Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS but be SURE to include the entire article with Copyright information in tact.

 

SHARE THE HAPPINESS

We Love you for That!

 

Categories
Gifts of the Spirit

Thursday Travels

Post #80

May 16, 2018

Thursday Travels:  Venice, Italy

I sat on a bench and drew  in my sketchbook.

My annual weekends in Venice were nearly always in July.  I came to celebrate Redentore Festival.

Link to Redentore Festival, 2018 schedule

I was usually outside on the streets most of the day when I was in Venice. There is so much to see and enjoy. I didn’t want to miss a bit of it.

  I enjoyed watching the city come to life each day.

There is a feeling you have in Venice that is different than any place I’ve ever visited.  Elegance, history, and beauty surround you any time of day or night.

First, the street sweepers  arrived before dawn.

They begin cleaning the streets of  accumulations from the day and night before. Each morning  the streets are renewed by a team of street sweepers.  They work quickly and I love watching them. This morning ritual was like watching a lyrical dance on a stage.

Next, the people who live in  the buildings that surround the campos arrive.

Some scurry off to work; others are opening their shops; some to church services; others, to sit quietly and talk toge.  You have the feeling that this activity has not hcanged over the centuries – it is a ritual of awakening each day in such an historic place.

I always carried my sketchbook with me on my excursions. 

I sketched; wrote poems; snapped photos. 

This photo captures life in Venice, Italy. 

PHOTO:  The 2 Venetian women never saw me sitting nearby  for they were absorbed in conversation.

This is their  hood.

___________

Thank you for visiting my SCAN blog today!

How I appreciate all of you!

This essay and photograph is brought to you by the author, Lynda McKinney Lambert.

View Publications Page for updates on my stories and poems being published.

Walking by Inner Vision.

Lynda’s Author ‘s Page

this blog post is the property of Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright May 17, 2018. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Categories
art Memoir Nature

Solitude

When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign is Solitude!  

—Hermit

 

I arrived at the Hambidge Center  in Rabun Gap, GA in the summer of 1988. It was late at night.  In the darkness, I drove into the driveway after my long journey from western Pennsylvania. I walked  to the main house where I met the manager  who would take me to where I would live  for the next month. I was going to be doing a Residency  and would be given a studio and place to live where I could do my art every day.  It was a great opportunity and a dream come true for me.

My guide  said, “I hope you like isolation.” My reply was, “Oh, yes! I love isolation.” The fact is, I did not have an inkling what isolation was but it sounded good to me.

Of course, I had no idea what isolation truly was for I had just arrived at this isolated art colony deep in the Georgia mountains. My normal life was back in Pennsylvania where I managed my busy home and family.  I cooked meals from scratch every day for my husband and 5 children. My homemade pies were famous among the ladies at my church.   The first thing I did each morning was 3 loads of Laundry.  In between the layers of  the business of taking care of husband, kids, dogs, cats, and anything else that came up, I was a non-traditional student pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.  Every spare moment I could find, I painted.  Painting was my obsession.

Driving up the steep mountain road, I followed his car.  Then we turned onto a pathway to the isolated little house where I would be living and working.  After the man left me there, alone, in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains – in utter darkness – I began to get an idea of what solitude would be like. While I was excited to be there, to have this opportunity, I was also stuck with the reality (and fear) of solitude.

My life was changing. I was diagnosed with breast cancer just 2 months before this trip.  And, my father died 2 weeks before the day I found myself alone at night in a strange place where I would live for the next month. My nerves were a frazzle.

 

But, the month I spent there, away from everyone and everything that was my normal life  was one of the most productive times in my creative life.  In this mountain solitude,  I was united with my “better self.”  Twenty-nine years later, I remain at peace  and solidly united with my “better self.”

Article and Photography by Lunda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright, May 16, 2017. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Lynda  McKinney Lambert

.Front Cover

Blogger:

Author:

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press), 2002.

   

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017 

Lynda is a Peer Adviser  and writes articles on sight loss and blindness for  Vision Aware Blog

CONTACT ME: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

 Author – Blogger – Visual Artist

Categories
art Nature Seasons

Pennsylvania Spring

Pennsylvania Spring

The final week of May in Pennsylvania

Photos from my early morning walk.

Rhododendrum  is a STAR at this time of year.

Look for it in shady places, forests and woodlands.

 

 

Rhodedendrum16_May_Compressed3

 

Rhodedendrum16_MayCompressed4

 

 

 

Delicate PHLOX is now SHOWING in the woods and fields all around Western Pennsylvania.

Don’t miss the show!

 

Phlox16_May_Compressed4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Music Writing

The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey Along an Unmarked Path

Meet  October’s Guest Blogger 

 Donna W. Hill

The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey

Along an Unmarked Path

 

Blog15_DHill_Redwoods_Donna-&-Hunter-on-path-Glowing-Mist_by_Rich_Hill

This photo of Donna W. Hill with her guide dog, Hunter in ” Glowing Mist in the Redwoods” is by Rich Hill

 

It was 1954. A four-year-old girl with blond banana curls was in the living room. The house was quiet. Her parents were at work; her brother and grandmother in the backyard. She felt relieved to be alone. She didn’t know, nor would she for 14 years, that she was already legally blind.

 

The voice startled her. She stopped breathing, her ears scanning the house. But, it wasn’t necessary. She had felt the message settle into her spirit.

 

“You are here to do something important involving music.”

 

What did it mean? She instinctively took it as an anointing from God, though one with a disquieting lack of detail.

 

The Calling

 

That four-year-old was yours truly, and at sixty-five, that message still puzzles, intrigues and guides me. Initially, I assumed it meant that I was to become famous for my music. I didn’t share the experience, but I begged my parents to get me an accordion.

 

“You’re too small.”

 

Always a literalist, I was amused in second grade when — instead of the “massively-huge” accordion” — they bought me a piano . I progressed quickly, my nose on the brightly lit book, developing my memorization skills.

A Rude Awakening

 

Later that fall, I was selected for the Christmas concert. I was sure my ship had arrived. I was, however, wildly mistaken. I soon realized that there would be major obstacles.

“Go up to the top row of the risers.”

I was in the auditorium for our first rehearsal. I didn’t know what risers were, but I was soon on a contraption that shook and rattled with no way to steady myself. I didn’t understand how tunnel vision impacted my balance, and neither did anyone else.

Almost instantly, the director ordered me down, dismissing me from the group. She wouldn’t give me a few minutes to work it out or let me stand on the floor. The lesson wasn’t lost on me; although my voice was good enough, something more important about me wasn’t.

 

That spring, my teacher took my workbook away, despite my above average grades. She wasn’t comfortable watching me struggle to read. The other shoe dropped the following fall. I was placed in “Special Class,” where only first-grade large-print books awaited me. The thrust of my education was to fulfill the tiniest assignments, after which I was encouraged to play with pre-school toys.

 

My ophthalmologist was outraged. I was removed from “Special Class” and placed into a normal third grade class. The teacher, displeased with the placement, delighted in allowing open bullying of me and punished the girl who read me the questions from the board.

A Mission Slipping Away

 

By sixth grade, my vision was worsening, and piano music was far more complicated. My ability to memorize it was at a breaking point. I did what I thought any self-respecting twelve-year-old would do. I quit.

 

How was I supposed to interpret what I had heard in the living room? For the first (and far from the last) time, I considered the possibility that it could have merely been the ravings of a deranged mind.

In Search of a Miracle

 

Had God changed His mind? Or, perhaps, I needed to do something else first. If so, I knew what that was — get normal sight. It was obviously impossible to be successful without it.

 

Years before hearing televangelists discuss healing, I somehow knew I had to believe it would happen. Every morning for months, before I opened my eyes, I thanked God for restoring my sight, imagining the bright and detailed world that awaited me. My eyes, however, opened to dimness and confusion.

 

Progress and Compromise

 

At fourteen, I was devastated without music in my life. I asked for and received a guitar. Though I was too shy to share them, I started writing songs, beginning the inexorable link in my life between music and language.

 

In Junior High and High School, the bullying became more physical. The increase in work coupled with declining central vision necessitated a prioritizing of my work — literature and science were in; history and math out. Braille and recorded books were never discussed. I was legally blind in a world where it was more important to read and navigate with your eyes, regardless of how many mistakes you made, how much time it took, how sick you got or how many other things fell by the wayside, than to learn nonvisual skills.

 

The overt bullying stopped when I entered college. Nevertheless, I had lost the reading vision in my better eye that summer and was ill-equipped to take full advantage of the college experience. For the first time, however, I used recorded books and readers.

Reawakening the Dream

 

After graduation, I tried to make up the deficit. I trained with my first guide dog and learned Braille. I would pursue my dream of being a self-supporting musician — initially, as a street performer in Philadelphia’s Suburban Station.

 

I had my own apartment, kept an organic garden complete with a compost pile, baked whole grain bread and made everything from soup and tomato sauce to pesto and spanakopita. I started performing at schools, churches and other venues. I wanted my audiences to have a comfortable experience with a blind person and learn a bit about how we do things. I released two albums — “Rainbow Colors” and “Harvest.”

 

“If I had healed you back then,” said the same voice, “You would have never known that blindness didn’t have to limit you.”

 

Sidetracked

 

While recording my third album, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment, Rich and I married, and I finished the project. Just as “The Last Straw” was coming out, I found another cancerous lump. The drain on our energy and finances prompted a change in plans.

 

What about my mission? Had I done what I was supposed to do? Perhaps it had something to do with the many small contacts I’d had over the years. Maybe it was the man who wore out his copy of “Rainbow Colors” while recovering from an auto accident. Maybe it was one of the thousands of kids who had seen my school programs. I was well aware by then that we are all here to do something important. putting forth our best efforts and walking in love is the greatest, most difficult and most rewarding mission.

 

I didn’t give up. Blind people still aren’t being welcomed with open arms. Education, digital accessibility and unemployment remain major problems. I learned to use a computer with text-to-speech software to pursue another dream. In an effort to promote acceptance among the general public, my novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill was designed to allow the reader an intimate look into the mind of a blind teenager, embroiled in an exciting adventure. And, the music angle? Abigail’s a shy songwriter.

 

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Donna’s novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill, an educator-recommended diversity and anti-bullying classroom resource for middle school and older readers, is available in print, eBook versions and accessible formats for readers with print disabilities. For more information and to follow Donna’s blog, visit:

http://DonnaWHill.com

 

 

Photo by Rich Hill. Photos used with permission of the photographer. Thanks so much!

 

 

 

Donna is a singer and songwriter.  Click on the LINK below to enjoy listening  to Donn as she sings, “Love of my Life.”

 

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Special THANKS to Rich and  Donna W. Hill for allowing me feature this story on the blog today!

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