Archive | April, 2014


22 Apr

by Valerie Moreno

I am alone
does anybody care–
you, with babblings of
social obligations
or rushed participations in endeavors
to promote enlightenment?
You scurry away,
saying hello, but
too busy to ask me
how I am, who I might be.
You talk of love
that can move mountains,
yet you turn from me as
if I am invisible,
I am the elderly woman on a bench,
the stranger across the aisle at services,
the over-heated worker fixing a pot hole,
the child passed over when teams are chosen,
I could be you if circumstances change.
There are many of us,
not seeking condescending pity,
false emotion guised in abstract attitude,
something offered to save my needy soul.
I want what you take for granted–
acceptance, respect,
the light of valid love that
takes me as myself,
dignity intact,

Valerie Moreno is 57 years old.  She had partial vision until 1999 when it disappeared literally overnight.  Valerie’s eye disease is ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity).  She is recently widowed, has a blind cat who she adores and loves to write.  She doesn’t have a computer, so she uses a phone voice-internet service called Net-By-Phone, which sends and receives email and browses the web.  Text emails and webpages are read in robotic speech and all texting is done via phone keypad.

In the Heart of the Nest

12 Apr

by Maribel Steel

On my thirteenth birthday, I ripped open my presents. A rectangular box, with a pale watery landscape on its cover, made me jump up and squeal. My eyes widened as I savoured the moment, opening the box to reveal a riot of colour.

Six nested tiers of delicious Derwent pencils. Round-barrelled, elegant waxy spires of seventy-two fine art pencils, and I couldn’t believe they were all mine.

I dived-bomb my gift-bearers.

“Pity you don’t like them.” Dad laughed, attempting to free himself from the excited drop-bear clinging to his chilli-red cardigan.

“I love them!” I squealed.

Sweeping up my wands of colour, I followed my mother to our sun-filled kitchen. In the heart of her nest, surrounded by the warmth of saffron tones, was where I felt most inspired to draw.

I watched my mother slip on a cotton apron and swiftly tie the straps in place as she began to prepare the rich tomato sauce for our Spanish brunch.

I traced patterns of dancing sunlight onto a blank page, blending delicate shades of primrose yellow and orange chrome that swirled before my eyes.

My father entered the room and pulled out a chair. He moved the coffee cup to his left, encroaching onto my drawing territory guarded by Derwent soldiers.

“You can finish that later, darling,” mum said. “Lunch is ready.”

One by one, Mum took sizzling dishes out of the glowing oven. The spicy chorizo sausage smoked my brother out of his bedroom: happy to trade his six-string guitar for mum’s Eggs a la flamenca and put song writing fantasies aside for a while.

Our mother served each of us our fragrant meals. She moved swiftly from oven to table, puffing little puffs as she warned us to blow the piping hot sauce. The edges of the oven poached eggs bubbled in a sea of floating tomatoes, black olives and spicy sausage.

“So we’ll pick you up after school tomorrow, OK?” My father said plainly.

Looking up at him, I shrugged my shoulders. I had hoped my parents would have forgotten about the eye examination at school, the letter that came home – and the appointment they had scheduled with an Ophthalmologist.

I suddenly felt sick and jumped up before given permission to leave the family celebration. “It’s not fair.” I stomped my foot.

What’s up with her?”

Paul – leave your sister alone.” Mum scolded and continued eating, ignoring my melodramatic outburst. “Sit down, darling, please finish your egg.”

“‘It’s not fair.” I repeated angrily. “Why won’t anyone listen to me? I-Don’t-Need-Glasses.”

And with rigid chin, I turned from the table, bumping into the wooden door frame as I ran crying to my room, the words don’t be silly chasing me until I could slam the door shut on the world.

It took another two years before we learned the two words that changed my life forever – Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Maribel Steel is a writer & inspirational speaker, blogger, mother and vocalist. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner and teenage son. She was diagnosed at fifteen with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). To read more about her various writing projects, visit her website:

Or read her most recent post ‘Being Blind Benefit #1’ at:


6 Apr

by Andrea Kelton

When I was in the second and third grades, we lived in a duplex on Detroit’s Greiner Street. A cyclone fence divided our backyard from the alley. Rats infested the neighborhood. I couldn’t help watching rats run along the house and into a hole under our brick front stoop.

I was walking home from my friend’s house one afternoon when I heard a very strong voice in my head telling me to go around the block and use the front door. I NEVER used the front door! My usual route would take me down the alley, through the backyard and in the side door. I couldn’t figure out WHY I should change my routine. But I did.

Upon entering my house, I saw my mother frantically pacing at the dining room window anxiously watching for me to come home my usual way. I joined her at the window, looked outside and saw our swing set entirely covered with rats. The red chrome bars looked like it was wearing a brown fur coat. I stood frozen in disbelief.

Being raised Catholic, I believe in guardian angels. My Guardian Angel spoke to me that summer day. And seven year old Andrea listened. As an adult, I continuously ask for guidance. And I receive lots of messages. But I’ve forgotten how to listen. When will I allow myself to recapture the wisdom of my youth?


Andrea Kelton was diagnosed with uveitis in 1974. Today she lives in Chicago and teaches Adult Basic Education at Literacy Chicago. She attends a weekly memoir writing class, “Me, Myself and I” taught by author Beth Finke.