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Like any writer, I’m a big believer in the power of story. Our culture right now is experiencing a bit of churn as those of us who have been historically overlooked, vilified, and ignored are getting out there and telling our own stories, without much invitation or permission.

I had a lot of fun at The Art Academy of Cincinnati last semester teaching Don’t Call Us Dead, a powerful book of poetry by Black, queer poet Danez Smith; Get Out, the subversive screenplay by Jordan Peele; and the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Sympathizer, which was written by Viet Thanh Ngyen, an author who’d endured being separated from his parents as a child immigrant. (I know, I know: all men! The semester before I’d featured all women, so that’s the way the see-saw tipped.) As always, I’d urged my students to tell their own stories, and to share the stories that spoke the strongest to them.

In future classes, I would love to feature brilliant disabled poets, screenwriters, and novelists. I know they must be out there. (And maybe slowly getting published?) If you have any suggestions, add to comments.

Let’s lift each other up.

UPDATE: I just found my next poet, WordPress author Susan Richardson. https://burninghousepress.com/2018/06/23/3-poems-by-susan-richardson/comment-page-1/#comment-963

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We Interrupt this Narrative

I’ve been meaning to construct a nice, orderly narrative of my most recent visit to the NIH, one that didn’t jump around in time too much, but I’m going to interrupt this account at the point right before I meet my phlebotomist—Who wouldn’t want to delay getting pricked?—by announcing I have just now learned I have a new diagnosis—severe osteoporosis. Which I never would have tested for had I not joined this latest NIH study, which recommended a dexa scan.

I can’t afford to get too worked up about this. I’ve got an hour until I leave for my first day of teaching Artist as Reader. I know half my students from previous classes, and they give me great hope for the future. We are going to make art in response to the screenplay of Get Out, my current favorite move, The Sympathizer, my current favorite novel, and Don’t Call Us Dead, my current favorite poetry collection.

Don’t call Ms. Lab Rat dead. Osteoporosis is just another bump in an admittedly bumpy road. If I hadn’t been ordered to take a bone scan, I certainly wouldn’t have. And I wouldn’t have learned a kind of important new feature of my ever changing body. 

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