Although the Disability Literature Consortium booth at the AWP conference will have a huge variety of poetry, we will also have fiction by writers with disabilities as well – a much more difficult genre to come by. Below are brief excerpts from three of the books that will be available at the booth.
“I landed at JFK and was bumped in the head by an elbow while trying to retrieve my luggage from the conveyor belt. The man didn’t say anything. He was too busy. I’d been once before to the city. It was a lot of rushing around and stairs and ruts in the sidewalk and dogs on leashes and people walking into you. It was an obstacle course for anyone, but especially someone wearing a fake leg. My fake leg had a computer inside it and was very smart, but I didn’t like to test it for fear of falling on my face. It was infinitely more reliable than humans, or human parts, but still I regarded it with suspicion. I wasn’t the only one. A boy, maybe five or six, tugged on the bottom of his mother’s shorts and said, “What’s wrong with that lady’s leg?”
Jillian Weise, The Colony
“I did not speak until I was four, right before the surgery. My mother was driving, and I was in the back seat. I said, “Where are we going today, Ellen?” Not a word before this, and then complete sentences. At least this is the way my mother tells it. If this is true, that I did not speak until I was four, then I am by definition autistic, although I have never been diagnosed as such. In my mother’s telling, the doctors always say I will never walk or talk. I will be completely dependent. “Dumb as a box of rocks,” she always says, so that I believe this was the doctor’s diagnosis: “Dumb as a box of rocks.” And then, right before the surgery, some electric light wormed through me, and I awoke. Or something. I was a miracle child, a testament to God’s work. I was to me my mother’s Job.”
David Rawson, Fuckhead
“’Who’s the biggest spaz in this school?’ My seventh grade nemesis and his pal circled around me like drooling hyenas as I trudged back home, limping and lurching to the left to offset the weight of my clunky briefcase filled with textbooks.
‘Yeah, who’s the biggest spaz.’ repeated his pal as he contorted his wrists, then waved them wildly, and stuck his ugly, acne-scarred face in my face. My verbal assailants didn’t touch me. They were probably too scared to touch me. Maybe they thought spazziness was contagious.”
Robert Rudney, Lover’s Lame
These are just a sample. If you are coming to the conference, stop by and see all of them.