I’m open to a great number of inspirations. There’s a little understood affectation on people’s faces when they’re happy, when they’re sad, lying, telling the truth. Their faces betray what their words do not. However, not many people on the planet are very good at reading or understanding these micro-expressions.
For example, when a person is really happy, their eyes show it first. Their eyes brighten and lines around their eyes lift and tighten (I think), regardless of what their mouth actually does. At least this is what I understand.
I was inspired by these facts or theories and wrote a little story called “Deception.”
Deception is about a woman who believes she can read others’ micro-expressions and no one can read hers – because they’re not bothering to look.
I submitted this to one editor and he rejected it with a passion. I think I struck a nerve. He was obviously offended.
The story is fiction. It’s completely fiction. But, obviously, something about it was too real for him.
I believe it might be a bit too real for many, many people.
It’s in the summer issue of Delphinium. Available now.
An extremely good conversation in my literature class about intelligence (Inspired by Ted Chiang’s The Great Silence). We talked about other species that fall under the definition of intelligence, which is “the ability to understand and apply knowledge.” Considering Alex the Parrot and Koko the Gorilla, and other species: crows are problem solvers and remember faces. We discussed dogs, cats, and others. Is love, as an abstract idea, understood and applied by animals? And then – is intelligence found in showing love?
This is what good literature should do. Teach, delight, and create wonder.
I’ve finished my Tana French detective series and didn’t want to go to bed without another book in hand. (Nevermind there are three on my bedside table).
I began browsing my bookshelf, which is semi-organized: books I’ve read and loved. Books I want to read. School books. Writing books. and, of course, Poe books
I also have something mixed in that would seem, at first glance, not to belong. Books on psychology, the law, philosophy. I assume many writer’s bookshelves are this way.
A writer needs a wide variety of knowledge.
I know we have google at our disposal; however, I find reading books about, for example, the Psychology of Marketing allows me to get an in depth look that a wikipage or a few short articles are not going to give me. This allows me to create a more realistic character or more thorough background to make the story more believable.
For West End, I needed to understand two things, the idea of an absent or unloving mother, and the different forms depression can take. Anxiety runs throughout my work from Of Strays and Exes to Life of Clouds – which features children affected in different ways by the disappearance of their father.
I’ve heard handymen say they are the jack of all trades. I think writers are akin to that. We need to learn many things in order to live many lives.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m very glad to be here.
As I’ve been reading over the questions you ask, I’ve decided the best way to begin answering them is to start by telling a bit about myself, and why I write.
As you read, you’ll also see that I’ve included Campbell my Seeing Eye Guide Dog and why I chose to do so.
My name is Patty L. Fletcher. I’m a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am very proud. I have a great son-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. Three girls, and two boys. I own and handle a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee—a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames.
I’m multiply disabled. I not only suffer from Bipolar Disorder, and Fibromyalgia but I’m totally blind as well. I was born premature and my blindness was caused by my being given too much oxygen in the incubator. I was partially sighted until 1991, at which time I lost my sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. I used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a Guide Dog, which was the inspiration for my first book, ‘Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life’ CN-2014.
When I began my writing career with the publishing of that first book, my purpose was to tell the story of how going to The Seeing Eye™ and getting Campbell, learning to love, handle, and work him, then coming home and adding him to my life, gave me true freedom. I told of how changing from being a 31-year cane user to being a guide dog handler taught me things about myself I had never known before. I told of the wonderment I experienced when I finally took that chance.
Continuing onward, as in the beginning, a major goal of mine is to help others who find themselves in domestic violence situations. I also want to help others learn more about mental illnesses and how different situations and environments can drastically affect those with such challenges.
As I write I focus on bipolar disorder, on how it can go horribly wrong and cause a person to behave in ways they normally would not.
Another thing I have attempted to show in these many years of writing is how, in certain institutional settings, attachments can develop—and how those attachments can become unhealthy for all concerned if they are not handled correctly. Most simply, I want others to know more about me.
I’ve written a second book as well. Campbell and I wrote it together.
‘What do you mean? What was the purpose of this book?’ You ask. Let me explain.
The book is, ‘Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye’
In Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye, it is King Campbell Super Seeing Eye Dog A.K.A Bubba’s turn to tell his tale.
While helping to ready a group of pups to go and meet their puppy raiser families, so they too, might one-day become Seeing Eye dogs, he tells of what it was like for him, to grow up and become a Seeing Eye dog.
As he speaks to the wee pups, he speaks about the importance of facing one’s fears, of honesty and how telling the truth no matter how hard, is always best. He speaks of love, faith and of believing in one’s self
Because Campbell and I are together I feel it is important for you to know him as well.
WHO IS CAMPBELL AND FROM WHERE DOES HE COME…?
Campbell was born in Chester N.J. November 28, 2008.
He lived with his Dog Mother and Litter Mates until he was approximately eight weeks old, and then he went to live with his Puppy Raisers.
Then, when he was just over a year-old, he was taken away from his Puppy Raiser family, to be trained at The Seeing Eye.
After only four short months he was chosen to become the guide of his now human mother Patty L. Fletcher.
One more important thing we must add, because of The Seeing Eye being the first ever school of this kind and due to its continuing to be the largest and oldest school in the world, before we continue, we’re obligated to post the following information. We’d love it if you’d visit the site sometime to learn all about how this wonderful Guide Dog movement began and what it takes to continue today.
What do you think the publishing world needs to do more of in order to meet the needs of those who are differently-abled/disabled?
I must say I am quite pleased to have an opportunity to answer this question. Being a multiply disabled writer most certainly can be extremely challenging. So much so that I wrote an article about it. Which, I might add was well received by many in the self-publishing world. If readers would like to have a look they may visit: https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/challenges-of-a-disabled-writer/.
In the article which was also published in the Indie Publishing Magazine, I talk about the various challenges disabled writers face. Things such as:
I must say the next question you ask is my favorite and comes to me at a time in my life when I find daring to be different whether by design or choice is hard as the devil to do.
What do you think the world in general needs to do in order to understand the needs of those who are differently-abled/disabled?
The best way I can answer this is this…
Be open minded. Don’t put people into boxes. I’m a multiply disabled person. I think, act, and work differently than anyone else.
That’s not all due to my disability and I see a lot of this going on.
The world needs to be more accepting of things that aren’t the “Traditional way of doing things.”
One of the biggest reasons I gravitated to Indie Publishing and especially blogging was so that I could go my own way, do my own thing and be OK doing so but of late I don’t seem to fit in.
Honestly, it’s starting to seriously drag me down. Seems like no matter where I go or what I do someone somewhere disapproves.
Well, to be blunt I’m quite tired of it. No two people are the same. We’re all “differently abled” All of us no matter who we are have things that are hard for us. If people stopped and seriously took a good, long, look at themselves they’d realize that no one is without some kind of disability and I just get tired of there being all these pigeonholes that I’m supposed to fit into.
I just want to be allowed to be myself, write in a way that makes me happy, tell my stories in a way that feels comfortable to me and not have all these other people telling me what I should and should not do.
I am not them and they’re not me. They don’t live my life and I don’t live theirs.
I am a 51-year-old totally blind woman who suffers from other types of disorders as well and these disorders cause me to think, feel, and process life around me in a way that is unique to only me.
Is that not true of everyone? Do we not all deal with life as it comes to us in a different way? If you read something and I read that same thing are we both going to receive the very same message?
If you choose one way to put your work out there for the world to enjoy and I choose another is your way any better than mine?
I guess I’m just tired of the “world” thinking it knows what’s best for me.
I’ve a favorite affirmation it goes like this…
“The world is not perfect, so there-for I need not be perfect.”
If I were to sum it all up into one word it would be, ‘allow’
‘Allow’ me to be who I am. ‘Allow’ yourself to be who you are.
In closing let me share these words a dear friend once wrote to me during a time in my life when I was doubting my ability to succeed. He wrote…
Congratulations on your success! Yes, success. All successful people (writers are people too!) get criticized – a lot. There is an entire industry based on criticizing books, movies, plays, sports, cars, etc.… the list goes on forever.
Don’t let the criticism get to you. You put in the work, you made it happen – only you get to decide if it turned out the way you intended. No one else is qualified. Forge ahead, do what is in your heart, write your books, sing your songs, dance your dance – be you. Everyone else can worry about being themselves!”
Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak about myself and what it is to be a disabled writer in a world in which it can at times be hard to work and belong in.
Thank you, Patty!
Maybe it’s me, but I doubt I’m alone in this: A writer’s support system sometimes seems a shaky and insecure. Some people do not understand, others say ridiculous things, and some are even jealous of our steps forward.
Finding a support system is an active and ongoing endeavor. People move on, they step back, and we need to keep moving forward, be unwilling to let negative people and comments to hold us back.
Don’t be afraid to move on. It doesn’t mean you have to cut contact with everyone or even anyone, but you certainly want to keep those who are positive supporters of your in the forefront of your mind and heart.
Sometimes, we feel very alone. Writing is a solitary act, but we don’t have to live in a bubble. Make contact through writer’s groups, online and in person. Meet other writers at conferences or critique groups and stay in contact with them. Join a book group, we need friends.
How did the three blind mice meet?
Why were they chasing the farmer’s wife?
Go – Write it!
Something I often hear as a counselor is clients speaking about the weight of expectations they feel they’re carrying on their shoulders; and the frustration, guilt, or resentment they feel in relation to them.
Many of these expectations are often tied to a particular role they “fall into,” that contains within it: unexamined assumptions relating to some action(s) they feel they should be doing, rules for communicating (what they feel they should be saying, and how), pressures to take on board “shared” viewpoints…
Often they express feeling as if they lost their center or connection with themselves.
Some roles are consciously/purposefully chosen. I choose to relate to clients within the boundaries of a counselors’ role. At other times, individuals can fall into an interaction where there is an expectation/pressure to engage in a “role-play”… mindlessly… pulled by some emotional pathway, deeply engraved by a lifetime’s worth of conditioning… For example, many adults continue to feel strongly affected by their parents’ perceived expectations of them…
Sometimes individuals’ roles within relationships include assumptions about hierarchy (in some cultures more than others), expectations relating to distributions of privileges, expectations relating to the division of weight that is placed on the inner experience of each individual. Often, the language which does not fit an expected role-script is unwelcome, discouraged…
One of my favorite historical examples of a figure who modeled the importance of rising beyond roles and cultural expectations, and embodied authenticity and inner strength, was Jesus. I admire the way he kept right away from describing himself via popular roles or politically loaded terms of the time, which he perceived as a poor fit with his life’s journey and purpose.
I love the way Jesus preferred to describe his inner experience and communion with God using creative metaphors-that beautifully made use of people’s familiar associations (e.g. used imagery such as harvests, laborers, etc.) yet transcended the language of the well established familiar social and political roles, traditions, expectations, and their underlying beliefs and perceptions.
Jesus had a hard time with the Pharisees. Perhaps they perceived his non-compliance with the established roles that reinforced their power and privileges-most unsettling. Jesus smacked too much of personal power, disregard for the authority of political/social pecking order…
Possibly to connect with a sense of inner peace, he was documented to withdraw into solitude oftentimes, perhaps in this way he restored his strength by nurturing his connection with God. Just as in his case, I believe that it is a helpful first step in our journey towards authenticity to find ways to connect with a loving place of self-care and strength within ourselves.
Given the powerful focus our society (and at times other people) have on trying to hijack our attention and encourage us to look to the outside of ourselves for fulfillment–creative expression of, and reflection on, our inner experience allows us to re-center and reconnect with our inner journey of transformation.
And, support us in reclaiming control over reconstructing our experience so that it resonates with our values, faith, the direction of our journey, and more closely aligns with our truth.
Many Thanks for sharing!
A writing exercise to get your rusty writing pipes lubricated.
Write the same scene from three different points of view. I know this doesn’t sound new and groundbreaking, but when is the last time you did it? And what types of characters did you choose?
Let’s lighten it up for you – stretch your skills. If you’ve never written from the opposite gender point of view – try it. This is an exercise I did with Dad Shining. This story could not have been narrated by a woman, it had to be chronicled by a man. And that man, it turns out, had to be the son. Dad Shining was published by Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal – so I must have done something right.
But don’t stop there – go further. Write it from a pet’s point of view. The Art of Racing in the Rain is an adult novel narrated in total by the dog. And it is a GREAT novel! Imagine a story from outside of the human point of view.
Or write it from a child’s point of view. Because my children are older, and I’m presently writing a story which involves a nine year old girl, I’ve had to call my friends. I was fortunate enough to spend time with a delightful little girl and found the time and the young woman inspiring. I have even more ideas than I can handle.
Let me know how it goes – share in our Writing 365 Group.
There’s a theory that we don’t fear failure, we fear success.
A researcher gave graduating students an impromptu essay prompt: “After finding out Joe/Jane aced their medical exams for graduation, he/she …..”
It’s reported that the vast majority of students set up a scenario in which Joe or Jane went out and partied, got in some sort of trouble, an accident, arrested, or in some cases just gave up and “decided to do something else with their lives.”
The researchers decided this was not an indication of the fear of failure, because they’d set up a scenario in which the person(Joe/Jane) had already succeeded, yet the students then wrecked the plan. Therefore, they surmised it a fear of success.
This possible fear of success comes from anxiety, which is rampant in society today. People stay where they are comfortable, where they are familiar, and their habits serve them. Moving on to the next level, success, will bring about different challenges, and the fear of the unknown wins out.
It occurs to me that this happens to writers. People write, and write, and write, but then don’t submit. Is it really the rejection they fear? or is it the success? Think of all the anxiety that comes with the next level of publishing. You’ll be expected to do well, to do it again. And, what else might change?
What do you think? What do you fear?