Over Labor Day weekend I attended my first Decatur Book Festival. It was quite impressive. Decatur is located outside of Atlanta and has a wonderful town square around the old courthouse.
Beneath tents were table after table of books in about every genre you could think of. I had my books on the romance table along with about twelve other authors. The Georgia Romance Writers had their own tent, and I had an opportunity to meet our fellow PFS friend Mary Marvella.
I had signed up along with many other authors to talk in the Emerging Writers tent and had five minutes to tell about The Silver Crescent and Rue Toulouse. I normally begin by telling a little about myself and how with my vision loss I use computer screen reading software to write my books. I do this not for sympathy, but to let people know how wonderful technology is, and if it wasn’t for this I couldn’t be doing what I love to do, which is write.
A man named Kevin was to go before me, and we waited while they set up the stage for his wheelchair. When he came to the stage it was apparent he has a severely debilitating disease.It turns out he has cerebral palsy and has written a mystery. Now, I have to say I get frustrated when my computer stops talking to me and I have to get my husband to help, but when I heard Kevin’s story I was truly humbled.
Kevin also uses a computer to write, but he uses a system called Eyegaze. He has to stare at cells on the screen to give commands, select programmed words or phrases, or form letters individually. Can you just imagine having to write a book this way? Kevin has to be one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever encountered. He used a computer-modulated voice to tell us about his past history and his writing. He said he’d always wanted to write and was determined to do so. He also competes in marathons. This shows that if you want something bad enough, give it all you’ve got and never stop trying.
People say be grateful for what you have because there’s always someone worse off than you. Kevin certainly showed me this to be true. Yes, my vision is going, and some aspects of writing can be difficult for me, but I’m physically able to do so much more than Kevin, and I’m truly thankful for what I have.
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Monday: Mary Marvella
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