Sunday, June 25, 2017

Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth

Published by Orca Book Publishers
Published in 2014

A year after their dad's death, twins Justine and Perry travel from Australia to Canada.


This mystery hooks me. I read on...

Are You Seeing Me? is told from two points of view
Perry--high-functioning autistic--and his sole caretaker his sister Justine.  These POVs are augmented by excerpts from their dad's journal. The journal documents the twin's life and was a gift to Justine on her 18th birthday. 

Are You Seeing Me? underlines one of the major problems the world has with people with invisible disabilities--we 'look like everyone else, act like no one you've ever seen'. (p. 11)

And so Justine explains....
'Before people get confused or angry or frustrated or gooey or freaked out, I give them the standard spiel:  Perry has a brain condition that can cause him to feel anxious or upset in different places and circumstances. He has trouble with people--mixing with them and communicating with them--and it sometimes results in inappropriate behaviors. I appreciate your understanding and patience.' (p. 12)
This passage made me pause--I wondered how I'd explain my invisible disability to a stranger. What would I say, what do I say?
(Now there's a blog topic)

Other issues that this novel explores...
-It's not just we, the disabled--everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
-Autism isn't Perry's strength or weakness--it's simply part of who he is.
Justine:  ' "He's just like the rest of us--amazing in his own right, and no better or worse than anyone else." ' (p. 205)
-It's difficult to raise a child with a disability

Favourite quote...
'People treat disabled adults a lot different than kids.' (p. 198)


An article about Are You Seeing Me? by the author Darren Groth

Quill and Quire's review

Happy 150 Canada

Next post:  
In support of publishing in Canada
Published on Saturday, July 1st Canada Day
At approximately 5 PM PT

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Writing advice to my younger self by Leanne Dyck

Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 1992

The Artist's Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron is a twelve-week program that will inspire and inform your creative journey. It inspired me to write...

Dear younger Leanne,
You know those stories that you’re working on. Well, you might think that you can just throw them out—unfinished. You may think that because they belong to you, you can do whatever you want with them. Well, you’re wrong. You can’t. You can’t because they belong to me—older Leanne—not you. So, instead of tossing them away, you better file them away for safekeeping. You better or else…
Oh, yeah, and another thing, you might think that by writing all those stories you’re just having fun. WRONG! You’re doing important work. However, you’re only doing half the job. You also need to get someone who can spell and knows grammar to edit them. Ask Mom, she’ll help you. Then you need to send them to literary journals or short stories contests. 
Oh, yeah, and don’t just do it once and think you’re done. 
Don’t just say, “Oh, well, I submitted it. I didn’t win. I don’t have to do that again.” 
Don’t think, I tried, failed and now I’m done. The only way you failed is by being done. 
Simply by continuing to submit your stories you’re proving that you are a winner.
 If you don’t continue working until the job is done, well then you’ll leave all that work for me. And trust me, I won’t be pleased.
Oh, yeah, and the most important thing, you may not think you’re smart, but I do. I know how talented you are. And you’re doing a grave disservice by not sharing your talent. So do it. Do it now!

If you've enjoyed reading The Artist's Way, you may also like...

Big Magic:  Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book of essays in celebration of the creative life. 

Published by Riverhead Books:  
an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC in 2015

Note to Self:  A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth by Laurie Buchanan is a personal exploration to guide you in developing a healthier you. 

Published by She Writes Press:
a division of SparkPoint Studio, LLC in 2016

Next post:  Book review:  Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth
Published on Sunday, June 25 at approximately 5 PM PT.
If you enjoyed reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, you enjoy Are You Seeing Me?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

My mother-in-law recommended I read this book. She's an avid reader and knows a good book when she finds it.

Originally published in hardcover in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape, Ltd, London, in 2005, and subsequently in hardcover in the United States by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 2005.
Mark Haddon's website 

A quick read that brings the reader inside the mind of a person with autism--fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone.

It is also a...


A dog is found dead. Who killed him and why? Christopher Boone sets out to answer these questions and
unearths even more mysteries.

Funny Book

This is a funny book even though Christopher explains that he can't tell jokes.

Craft Book

Christopher Boone is attempting to write a mystery inspired by the dog he finds dead. His teacher, Siobban, helps him by giving him helpful tips.
'Siobban said that when you are writing a book you have to include some descriptions of things.. She also said that I should describe people in the story mentioning one or two details about them so that people could make a picture of them in their head.' (p. 67)

Big Idea Book

For example...
Christopher doesn't believe in Heaven. He believes that our bodies are broken down and become one with all of earth. 

A book that explores commonly held misconceptions...

For example, if a person has a mental disability we think they are intellectually challenged. But Christopher is alive with boundless curiosity and seemingly endless knowledge.

 'Chillaxing on a Summer day' photo by LDyck
Next post:  Writing Workshop review published  on Sunday, June 18 (at approximately 5 PM PT)
'One cute mug' photo by LDyck

More about this dog mystery on July 2nd. Look for the post titled 'Shakespeare and Snorri'.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

About dyslexia by Leanne Dyck

I read this at an open mic night on Mayne Island -- and I wanted to share it with you...

"The Wise One"  photo by LDyck

Dyslexia is an inherited condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language.  People with dyslexia are of average or above average intelligence. Having dyslexia is kind of like this...

A Love Letter

We have always had a special relationship. When we meet you wooed me with your clever tricks.You were never the same way twice. Sometimes your 'b' looked like a 'd'. Sometimes your 'p' looked like a 'q'. I was surprised that you didn't entertain everyone in this manner.
Our relationship grew and I learnt that you could be collected into a group. I was informed that this group was read as a word.
Ah, how your words danced before my eyes. Sometimes 'w-a-s' danced. How it waltzed; how it jigged; how it jived. Watch it now as it twists into 's-a-w.' Amazing! Thrilling! Yet you only danced for me.
Your behaviour does make our relationship challenging. Words dance before my eyes. Sometimes I am forced to guess at your intent. You are always a puzzle, a surprise. You intrigue me; you entertain me; you embarrass me.
Do you remember the time I was reading you to a group of children? I thought we were having a merry old time until one of the children stopped me. It seems you had fooled me yet again, but you hadn't fooled the child. Never mind, it was long ago, and I have forgiven you.
It doesn't matter to me that your relationship with others is easier and more harmonious. My passion for you grows stronger every day.

People with dyslexia are round pegs in a square peg world. Lack of support leaves many of us with health and employment problems -- some of us wind up on the street or in jail. Potential lost; lives wasted. But it doesn't have to be this way. Something must be done. All of us deserve an opportunity to write our own success story.Increasing society's understanding of dyslexia is a good starting point. 

How can you help?

I need you to know that I am capable -- even when I show my inability.

I need you to have faith that I will be able to pick myself up when I fall.

I need you to let me show you what I'm capable of -- before you help me.

I need you to shout at the top of your lungs, "Yes, you can! If not now -- someday; 
if not without me --with me."

I need you to believe in me, even when -- especially when -- I don't.

That's where I stepped away from the microphone...but I shouldn't have. I should have said...'
And some of us are writing our success stories, right now.

Successful Real Estate Agent, Barbara Corcoran swims with the fish in the TV program Shark Tank

And there are others...

in business:  Virgin chairman Richard Branson

in literature:  Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Philip Schultz (YouTube video)

And there are more famous dyslexics (YouTube video)

A disability is only a disability if you let it be.

"an early Summer day on Mayne Island" photo by LDyck

Next post:  Sunday, June 11 (at approximately 5 PM PT)
Book review:  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon