Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Power of Print

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, a week ago, the Herald-Palladium ran an article that talked about my involvement in Geoff's book and other writing endeavors.

It's amazing how powerful print can be. I heard from people who've been out of touch for months, and even heard from some people I've never met. One woman is a neighbor. She wrote me the following e-mail:

Hello! I just wanted to congratulate you on all of your achievements you have achieved in writing and with horses as well as the lovely article that the Herald Palladium featured on you this past Tuesday.

Theo is a gorgeous horse! I live... right near you and caught my first glance of Theo as we were driving down (your) road. Since then we have gotten to see his growth process. A few times, my black lab has gotten loose from me and ran over to play with a dalmatian on your farm! It was so very nice of you to share writing tips with those that dream to write as well!!

I have been home disabled almost 4 years now, when I became ill at the age of 30. I had professionally modeled for several years, went to MSU, and became ill along the course. I have had 2 guest columns in the Herald Palladium, as well as several editorials. I am trying to use my illness to bring out my creative side. Growing up I was in a writing program for a few years, and I have written some poems throughout my life. I find it very therapeutic and the written language beautiful. Perhaps that is why my other favorite hobby (besides my dogs and writing and advocating for my illness) is reading!

I thank you so much for the tips you gave in your article! They definitely helped inspire me to set some goals for myself writing since I have so much time to myself!

When I responded, I thanked her for her kind words and mused on how sad it is that it takes a newspaper article for neighbors to meet. I also congratulated her on her writing successes, and made the following comments on living with disabilities:

Since we've been wrestling with my husband's medical condition, I've come to the conclusion that though a disability makes doing "normal, everyday" things more difficult, it may be God's way of freeing up a person to do the Thing that really matters with his or her life.

Many perfectly healthy people work in windowless, fluorescent-lit cubicles all day. I daresay that they don't often get the opportunity to think about what they're going to do with the time they've got on the planet. Yet, in our experience, having a disability forces you to examine the Big Questions on an almost daily basis. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Her response:

Your words regarding disability just touched me.

I'm still adjusting to the limits I have with (my condition). I'm struggling to turn it into a positive situation instead of labeling myself and staying negative and burdened by it. What you have just said shows me that there is an entirely different view to look at my situation and that I really do have time to do anything I can and want during my days, I'm free and not stuck!

Good luck on your deadline!! It's very honoring and touching when authors respond to their readers!

I hope she does pursue her writing. Print is still a powerful product. It can energize, invigorate, draw people together, educate, and inspire.

Powerful, indeed.

In Other News:

I received this on Monday from my friend, screenwriter and playwright, DonnaMarie Vaughan:

I just found out that ME, II will be performed locally here in Buffalo at the New Phoenix Theater in November as their season's second show.

ME, II is a musical, more than 2 years in the making. I co-wrote the "book" and helped with ideas for lyrics and songs, which were written by Grant Golden, the other co-writer of the book. Many editing dinners and rewrites later, we were finally happy and started to submit it - and immediately it was snapped up for production!! YEAH!!

ME, II tells the funny story a man so eager to get out of his lengthy doctor's appointment that he sneaks a peek at the file and writes down his diagnosis! -only to discover via the internet, and only AFTER he's gotten engaged that he is dying! In a desperate measure to avoid telling his fiance about his impending illness, he and his best friend seek a solution - but no good deed goes unpunished!

And talk about small worlds and circles in life... David Granville, who directed my IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH full length stage play in 1988 is once again back as director for ME, II.

For those far away, I know you can't attend, but wanted to share the good news. Hard work and co-work sometimes does pay off. I doubt there will be any money from the production (no cultural funding here with the budget cuts, so all plays rely on ticket sales) but it's an addition to the resume, and hopefully we will snag some press along with it.

Congratulations all over the place, DonnaMarie! I wish I could attend opening night.