Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Gimpy Life Premiere!!

You guys, I have been so eager for this project all year. It's a webseries created/starring Teal Sherer all about being a Hollywood actress who uses a wheelchair.

Teal went to my alma mater, graduating two years before me. I discovered this after seeing her role in The Guild and wikipediaing her. We've chatted via email about about being artists with disabilities, and I'm super excited to share her work!

I watched episode one today and totally coffee spit-taked. Oh how I know "the stairs are fine...."

Watch, like, subscribe, promote!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I'm back from Youth Leadership and have of course spent the past few days fighting off the camp equivalent of con-crud. It takes me about as long to get over the exhaustion as it takes to cause it.

This year, my body decided to be my enemy during camp instead of just after it. I sprained my foot four days before leaving, my legs got more swollen than they had been since my last surgery--causing me to panic, and the intermittent hip pain I've been dealing with all year reared its head whenever these other issues weren't driving me nuts. All of this made me tired and annoyed.

It was not my finest year.

It can be hard to admit to your own pain when you're surrounded by people who--potentially--have it worse off. But pain, like joy and fear and sadness, is relative. One of our sayings at YLF is that the only normal is "normal for you." Normal for me the past few weeks has been an incredible amount of happiness and possibility. I wanted so badly to share that with everyone at YLF--because let's face it, I'm not usually the cheerful one. And it made me angry that I couldn't, that the pain and worry overshadowed the excitement. I didn't want to burden anyone else's week with my problems, especially since I was staff, not one of the kids we were there to take care of.

Here's the thing, though--the people I was with? They've seen my ups and downs. They've helped me through the petty trials of adolescence and advised me through the insanity of college.  They cheer on my every success and support me after every failure. They're not going to begrudge me one rough year.

And I've learned that I can't pretend that whatever issues I have with my body two days before camp are going to go away during the week. No part of life is a vacuum. I'll be better prepared to care for myself next year.

And if I'm not--if something else is going on that requires me to commandeer one of the spare wheelchairs again, there will be plenty of people to help me steer.

Mostly because they know that the sixteen-year-old who started going to YLF would never have admitted to needing a chair if her life depended on it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time!

It's mid-July! Know what that means? YLF!

YLF is the Youth Leadership Forum in Tallahassee, FL where I volunteer. For four days, I turn my writerly brain off down (let's be honest) and hang out with awesome teens and other volunteers who I've known for years.

I love hanging out in the FSU dorms ordering Hungry Howie's until the wee hours, but more than that I love getting to be a role model for the delegates going through YLF for the first time. Some of them have no idea that they can achieve the same things as their non-disabled peers. Sixteen-year-old me would definitely have been pleased to know that in seven years she'd be chilling in this gorgeous Cambridge apartment.

I'll be mostly off-line if last year's wi-fi is anything to judge by, but I'll let you all know the highlights of the weekend when I get back!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


More than ever lately, I've become a girl who wears many hats. I do disability advocacy by day, write by night. (Which is weird, because during the semester it's the opposite). What amazes me is how many people I have supporting me in both areas.

Next week, I go to Tallahassee for the Youth Leadership Forum where I've volunteered since the year after I attended as a delegate. These are the people who have always listened to my disability rights rambling and who have watched me grow every summer. Now, I also have an awesome group of co-workers who talk the disability advocacy talk, and I'm always excited to talk with all of them.

One of my roommates in Fabulous New Apartment (henceforth: Ravenclaw Tower) is also a writer. We've both been amazed by how nice it is to walk into the living room with your laptop and see someone else already typing away. We can talk about plot and characters like they matter, and no one thinks it's strange. (Except, perhaps, Third Roommate, who is learning our ways).

Yesterday, my writing group met up for the first time in months. It's a few of us from my program, but we've been familiar with each others' work in all stages, so it's fun to write with them and see what they're working on.

Sunday night, I went to dinner with Matthew McNish who was visiting from Georgia, and a few other Massachusetts writers. There's something amazing about meeting people you've only known on the internet, and more than that about realizing how small this world really is. One of the attendees was Anna Staniszewski, who wrote My Very UnFairy Tale Life, and is also my writing instructor. Also, Kristen Wixted who I'd connected with earlier in the week via the Authoress's Crit Partner dating service. This universe is really small.

Anyway, my point is that it's so much more fun to have people around who share your passion, whatever that passion may be. It makes this path just a little bit easier to tread.

Pictures from Sunday. I look a mess.

Writers Poking Lizards in Eyes

Heather Kelly, Anna Staniszewski, Kristen Wixted, Maddy, Matthew McNish, Sarah Fine and me!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Something to Blog About

It's funny, last summer I kept up a very regular blogging schedule, but I wasn't really doing anything. I spent the summer at my parents' house reading and having surgery. I did see Taylor Swift, so that was something, but mostly I wasn't doing much but reading and writing. This summer I'm working, writing, going to dinner with friends, watching Buffy with my roommate and generally doing things.

One of my writer friends and I have discussions about the writing vs. living balance. We both think that living life is a necessary part of writing, the writing brain is always working etc. However,  I don't let that be an excuse not to write. I make sure I spend decent chunks of time working on my current project no matter what else is going on. Other things fall to the wayside. Other things like this blog. I'm going to work harder to make sure that doesn't happen, but I don't regret letting whatever spare brain energy I have at the end of the day go toward working on a novel as opposed to a blog.

It's how I maintain the life/writing balance. Or try to, anyway.