Friday, April 17, 2015

Picking through my blogs for a coherent message

I haven't had the need to go through  my writings  since Andrew Sutton put together a book out of 33 of my earlier posts. It was impressive to see my words on paper coming together to get a message across. The specific texts were then picked for a reason. There was a key that Andrew used for his selection, it needed to have a certain flow and tell a story. His interest and focus was on my childhood experiences, my time in Hungary and Conductive Education- and how all these things tied into my adult life and my work at the time for the Jordan Klausner Foundation. The point is- he did a good job making it work as if it was written for that purpose. With an angle of course and a bias of sorts if you will, but still- it was impressively coherent. There was of course more to my story as it continues to be and my postings covered a wide range of topics, that seem central to me and my life as I saw it, but where outside of his interest. Recently I had to sit down and peruse through my years and years of blogging as if I was compiling a follow up to the "Lawyer On Wheels", a new chapter, but with a different key in mind. My nonprofit approached me to select texts for the FDAAF's website that would serve as a "President's Blog" section of sorts. Yes, part of the logic behind it was that we were low on content and we needed to build a base of disability themed text. But, as Florida Disability Access and Awareness Foundation is my brainchild, who better than me to explain my logic  behind putting it together? The charity was formed in response to some of the things I was going through as a person in a wheelchair, as somebody in a wheelchair and a man with Cerebral Palsy. You'll see traces of what formed that vision in my posts from that time. The point is, we're not putting them on there as a filler- it's all the experiences that made me think, that upset me, that angered and disappointed me, that took me from "somebody should do something" to "I should help make the change I want to see". The deep understanding that we have a disability awareness and image problem come through most of those stories as if I've written them today. They do reflect a certain state of mind and a certain time, maybe I would write some of them differently, but for the most part they don't age. They're not memoirs or diaries, they state a problem. A wheelchair against the word, disability versus a flight of stairs and man faced with ignorance and indifference. Just because I don't write about places that have narrow doors or inaccessible restrooms every day doesn't mean that somebody went in and remodeled those places over night. Just because I don't record every instance of a hateful word, people trying to give me money on the street or young girls hanging out at the handicapped bathroom doesn't mean that it doesn't happen all the time. I would just get more upset and my blog would get repetitive or boring. For a while, when a similar story happened to me as the one I wrote about before, I just twitted that blog link again. But it a way for my own sanity I stopped letting those things get to me that much. I chose stories that talk about accessibility issues around town. All the instances when I have issues getting somewhere and I still would. Some stories of independent living. What it's like to be me while we gather stories of other people and what it's like to be them. What people think of me as they see me and what I think about them and how FDAAF came to be and what it means, what my hopes and dreams are. In a way I hope you can read it as a book. Seeing those texts back to back  I notice a story and an evolution. Not only does it capture one person's state of mind, but serves an introduction to a discussion about a problem. A sketch of what the problem is as I found it, how I see it, how others do and how we want to use FDAAF to help address it as we're about to launch our first big project in a few days. The idea behind this selection is to tackle issues of accessibility, empathy and inclusion with the texts that are most relevant today. Please visit

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