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Since writing poetry about the colour green at the age of seven, I have written my way through the entire rainbow. I've also scripted theatre shows, written for radio, have worked in advertising and as a journalist on a disability newspaper. The loss of my vision has not closed my eyes to the world around me.
I want to raise the curtain on theatre and performance and more broadly on recreation. I’m into transport issues and how people get around. I’m also passionate about human rights, especially for those with disability trying to access services, places and information.
I spoke to two artists. Warwick is a writer who has mental health issues. He says writing is a way for him to calm his mind. He has done a writing piece about the many social workers he has met. They all gave him a different view on how he can change his life. Warwick likes sharing his work with other people. Adam is a writer and painter who has a mental illness. He often goes back to a painting to repaint it after many years. He does not think having a mental illness helps creativity.
When it comes to chess, you would think that you need to see the board. So how do people with a vision impairment play the game? The white squares on the chess board are higher than the black ones. Each square also has a peg hole to fix the pieces so they are not knocked over. Don has a vision impairment. He has been playing chess for more than 30 years. He also plays Scrabble online. He says playing board games is a way to make friends and keep the mind active.
Living in a Sensory World is an exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. It uses objects to tell the story of how things have changed over time for people with a vision impairment. It has the first ball with bells in it that was bowled in a game of blind cricket in Melbourne. There are old machines that make raised dots which helped people who were blind to read. There is also a talking computer. The exhibition tells how the lives of people with a vision impairment have got better. It is on until 28 October.
No-one likes to lose their job. I have a vision impairment and am facing the challenge of looking for work because my job finished up. It's tricky to apply for jobs by computer. I then need to get to the right place for the job interview. At one interview, all applicants were interviewed together. In an interview it's bad enough working with people you haven't met. When you can't see them either it's doubly hard. At another interview I had trouble even finding the front desk. Still I keep trying. I might not have a job yet, but I won't give up.
Throughout history, people with a disability have often been portrayed poorly in fiction books. Characters with disabilities were often pitied or had done something wrong. Some writers used disability to show other ideas such as the problems of a society. Today, writers of fiction talk more about the feelings and thoughts of people with a disability. Writers present characters with a disability as people first. The character's disability is only one part of the person. It is good to read about disability in a positive way. I look forward to more people with a disability becoming writers.