Writing and publishing can be a difficult life at times. It can take years to break into the business and grow a significant reader base. Not to mention all the time it takes to develop one’s craft, so that you produce the best stories you possibly can.
It can be particularly discouraging if you suffer a chronic illness or disorder, such as arthritis, bad eyesight, lupus or even (for instance) dystonia. (What’s dystonia? It’s a rare involuntary movement disorder. You can read about it here.) I bring up dystonia because I have it. Due to a stroke (caused by a congenital heart defect and from which I otherwise completely recovered), now my left hand and foot constantly clench. The movements are involuntary, so I have little control over them, and they can be painful, plus the current treatments for the condition are far from perfect. Furthermore, there’s no cure (not yet, at least).
Although rendered blind and deaf by illness before the age of two, Helen Keller not only attended college, but while she was there she wrote her autobiography, THE STORY OF MY LIFE.
Keller wrote other books and stories, too. She became famous and traveled around the world to speak to many groups. Not only was Helen Keller a prolific author and lecturer, but she was known for her support of women’s suffrage, workers’ rights and socialism, and her outspoken opposition to war.
So, every time I feel sorry for myself (whether it’s due to dystonia or publishing industry woes), I hear this little voice in my head. What do you have to complain about? Think of Helen Keller . . .
Just to be clear, I am second to none in my admiration for Helen Keller. However, on the other hand, she makes me feel like a damned slacker. I mean this woman was deaf and blind, but look what she was able to do. Which means, if I get discouraged and give up on my dream of being a writer, it’ll be more than a mere defeat. It’ll mean Helen Keller will have totally kicked my ass.
Also, just to be clear, I’m not a particularly competitive person. But if I could accomplish even a small fraction of what Helen Keller did, I’d feel like I really did something.
When you come right down to it, Helen Keller makes me realize, I have no reason to feel sorry for myself. So my hand and foot clench–what am I going to do? Sit in a corner and cry about it all day?
So, I’d like to thank Helen Keller for being an inspiration (and a thorn in my side).
I may never accomplish as much as she did, but I know one thing for sure. I’ll be damned if I let Helen Keller totally kick MY ass!