Archive | October, 2013

Blind Bandit on the Run

26 Oct

by Maribel Steel

My father doesn’t like to be late for any function, least of all, for an event to celebrate International Guide Dogs Day 2013.

“One hour should give us plenty of time to find a car park.” My elderly father chirps as we cruise the city streets of Melbourne. “We’re way early.” I smile, keeping vision-impaired eyes peeled to the grey city streets as they zoom by. 

But after forty-five minutes, we can’t find one single space on the street. We drive round and round in the belly of two underground parking lots and then drive round in reverse order inhaling fumes of panic. We escape a heated argument with the attendant at a boom gate and zip past which sets off a screaming alarm. High-tailing it down Collins Street, we do a u-turn, straight out of some movie car chase and speed off again. With options diminishing by the second, my father prepares to sell his preserved grandmother in exchange for a park anywhere in this concrete jungle.

His foot hits the accelerator and then the brake pedal in syncopation with his heart beat. Anyone seeking a terrifying ride should forgo the famous roller coaster at Luna Park and book a dare-devil parking adventure with my stressed-out father!

Minutes before the luncheon, he seizes a spot in another parking lot. How to get out of this underground maze poses a new set of blood pressure problems. We have five minutes to get to a building we have yet to locate.

Fleeing as fast as we can, like bandits on the run up the stair well of the fire escape, we spill out onto a Victorian laneway.

“This way… no, this way…” he calls, as I thrash my white cane to keep up, hoping I won’t collide with a brick wall or whack the shin of an unfortunate pedestrian. I feel like a human tsunami – chasing after my father’s coat tails billowing in the breeze as he whirls in front.

In the foyer of the South Tower, I finally latch onto his coat sleeve and skim along white floors polished to a mirror finish. I take a running leap, cane first into the lift just as the steel doors glide to a close.

Bing. Thirty-fifth floor, announcers the robot.

Guests and Guide Dog staff mingle admiring the view. The long white table is still being fussed over.

“Care for an orange juice, Sir?” asks a waiter.

 “Why not,” says my father. “Got to live dangerously, hey?”

Maribel Steel is a freelance writer, blogger, mother and vocalist. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner and teenage son. She was diagnosed at fifteen with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Maribel writes about places to feel, sounds and textures to explore as well as sharing insights on crafting The Art of Being Blind. She has self-published a book of short stories (memoir) and has several articles featured in various journals and blogs.  Read more about Maribel’s work at her website: and her blog:

A Bit of Legacy

19 Oct

by Nancy Scott

          “Whatever happens,” David said, “you can write about it.”

          “Write a legacy letter,” the instructor said. “A page of things you want to tell family and friends.”

          It took some thinking and some time, but here is my best advice taken from reading, journal entries, and the experience of “happy accidents.”

          The first two bits are from ministers’ sermons. “You do not need to be happy; you need to be blessed.” And “Go out into the sunshine.”

          Or how about “Never underestimate the history you may be creating.” I don’t know where I read this but everyone creates history every second by what we do or don’t do.

          Or “Just keep moving. Do the next right thing.” Or “Each day, I will do one more thing than I think I can do.”

          Large needs and wants drive our decisions. I want “good people, good health, and good writing” and I need “security, divinity, a way to make a difference, and to earn respect from some people.”

          And there’s advice that’s harder to take. “Troubles come so we learn to go to a place of surrender and not purpose.” “Be the unknown spice in the soup and not a main ingredient.” “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” “Life is a journey, not a set of things or accomplishments.” “Things are temporary; love is not.”

          Things happen for a reason. I was meant to be in that class. And if I can’t write for fame or money, I’ll write for “change” like the women’s writing group in Ohio.

          Since I’ve finished this draft, I could have cookies or a walk in the sunshine. Walking is better because “the swift can never run with dignity.” I got that one from a fortune cookie. See? Cookies aren’t all bad.


Nancy Scott, Easton, PA, is a blind essayist and poet.  Her over 600 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and newspapers, and as audio commentaries. An essayist and poet, she has published three chapbooks. She won First Prize in the 2009 International Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. Recent work appears in Breath and Shadow, Contemporary Haibun Online, and Stone Voices.

Two Derelicts

11 Oct

by Mani G. Iyer

She perches by the window, looking
for any sign of life, her ears upright;
She should know better, she likes to wager.
Tired of her morning vigil, she reaches for
sunny spots on rugs, cool areas on bare floors, 
the seasons dictating her places of repose.
Now and then, she demands to be let out,
more often in good weather, she knows better.
She would have loved to play with him,
but for her dread of his unsighted feet.
He putters around the house,
leashed to his splintered mind;
perhaps, mourning for things he lost,
recompensing for things he is about to lose,
grappling with his silicon hearted friend
trying to piece together the broken
white symbols speckled on a black face,
syllables rendered  in a sugary voice.
He would like to talk to his dog, caress her
if only, she told him where she was.
The evening is a different matter, when
a brilliant light enters their orbits.
It is greeted with great fanfare,
she, jumping away her indolence,
he, chattering away his silence.
The light is actually fading away,
needing its own quiet space, yet
the happy moths refuse to abandon it,
until a derelict night overwhelms them,
the derelict day in tandem.

 Mani G. Iyer was born and raised in Bombay, India and has lived in the United States since 1985.  He is deaf-blind due to Usher Syndrome.  He became deaf by the age of 4, night-blind by the age of 12, and now has very little usable vision.  Writing has always been a passion for Mani and he has just completed a writing fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center.  He has also just started a writing group called “The Good Word.”

What Do You See?

7 Oct

“Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind.” 

We all have a need to communicate.  Finding your creative voice is a perfect way to do just that.  Artists speak through their paintings; musicians’ feelings show through their music; and storytellers and poets use words.  What is your creative choice of communication?  If you aren’t sure, give any or all a try.  The worst that can happen is that you find a new passion and a way to share with others!