Sorry to Rose and everyone else for the late post today. Been travelling and WIFI has been sketchy. Better late than never!
Hello, everyone! I’d like to thank Ionia so much for featuring me this week on Readful Things. I’m really excited to be sharing this interview day, and Ionia is right. I do talk to myself.
So, Rose, tell us a little about yourself.
Seriously? That’s your first question.
Come on, go with it. It’s not like I can just launch into asking questions about your project.
Oh, for Pete’s sake.
Okay, okay. I’m in my late 30s, I worked in early childcare and in a veteran’s hospital. I’m a lifelong book nerd with a high geek-quotient. I love science fiction and fantasy because they’re all about exploring what’s possible and pushing boundaries. I’m also fascinated by gothic horror and fairytales. I was homeless in my twenties and I’m a domestic violence survivor. That’s why there’s only a logo and no photographs of me on my blog. Rose B. Fischer is a pseudonym. So, I try to bring a lot of my life experiences into my writing, even though I’m usually writing SFF and the circumstances don’t look much like mine on the surface.
Wow. So, what are you working on these days?
The biggest thing is an interactive blogging project called Redefining Disability For Writers. Back in February, I started a blog series that examined concepts related to disability awareness and the Independenet Living movement. I looked at film and television characters who are — or could be — iconic representational figures for people with disabilities, and I used them as the basis for discussions about life with a disability, disability awareness, disability rights, and the Independent Living movement. Some of my readers suggested that I do a series geared more toward helping story creators find better ways to include characters with disabilities in their work.
It’s going to include topical posts on areas like :
- The introduction of the character/concepts
- Things I will strangle you for doing common clichés,
- How to address frustrations and insecurity without getting a whiny character (me on that topic should be interesting given my fundamental lack of patience for whining and insecurity.)
- Realistic handling of adaptive equipment,
- Adaptive equipment/assistive technology in a low-tech environment (I’ve done that, it’s possible)
- Concerns related to service animals (they’re not always a good idea, but there should be more of them)
- Deaf Culture (I’m not expert and would really rather have a deaf person’s perspective to do this, but I have spent some time in our local deaf community. See below about getting involved in the project.)
- Pain management and medication,
- Why NOT to use magic-reactive pain and as a control device for a superpowered character.
- Realistic integration
- Handling of sexuality
- Handling of parenthood
- Non-cliché, positive handling of mental illness
And anything else that comes up while the series is evolving.
I’ll be posting full-length example stories (running about between 3000-6000 words each) in the Free Reads section of my blog, and we’re hoping to host some regular discussion threads where people can ask questions or give feedback.
I really the series to be interactive and have my post topics cover the things that other writers want to know about. I want to get as many people involved as possible, both writers and readers, and I want to include as many perspectives as I can. I was born with a neuromotor disability, and I live with chronic health problems that have developed in the last 5 years, but there are a lot of people with disabilities whose experiences are vastly different from mine.
Eventually, my goal is to collect everything that comes out of the Redefining Disability for Writers discussions and publish them as an ebook.
Holy crap. That sounds like a lot of work. What made you decide to put something like that together?
You know, when I first started blogging, I had no intention of writing anything about disability, much less advertise my personal experience with having them. I didn’t intend to hide anything, but I didn’t think it would be relevant to my blog, and I didn’t want to be pegged as a “disability blogger” or a political blogger of any kind. As I got out into the blogging community, I realized that many of the bloggers I knew were writing about media representation for women or LGBT+ people. I also knew a handful of bloggers who wrote about racial and ethnic diversity (or lack thereof) in the media. Very few people were talking about representation for people with disabilities. Those other issues are important to me, too, but I finally realized that I was in a position to write about representation for people with disabilities where those bloggers probably weren’t. If I didn’t do so, I had no right to complain about the lack of characters with disabilities in prominent media roles.
So, what are your other goals for the project?
In short-term, I’m looking to get a small group of writers together (in various genres, and fanfiction writers are very welcome) to help shape this series by commenting regularly both on my topical posts and on discussion threads. I’d like to get as many people who live with disabilities involved as possible, because my voice shouldn’t be the only one. So…
If you’re a writer (or story creator in any media format) interested in diversity and representation for people with disabilities, check out this post and follow my blog.
If you’re a person with a disability (whether you create stories or not) and you want to see better media representation, follow my blog and check out Redefining Disability
Rose B. Fischer is an experienced blogger and author of speculative fiction who is currently developing an interactive project to promote awareness and media representation for people with disabilities.