Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

The Writing Village

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Hello all. The past months have been especially full of technological challenges for me. I am a burgeoning author who just happens to be blind and there are just too many things for me to manage in the short time between a full-time job and busy life caring for three dogs, two of which are seniors, along with my hubby. One aspect of it is self-promotion, learning how to apply it and not allow it to take over every spare moment. Let’s say I am still working on how to juggle it all. I am a good student and learn quickly, so I am hoping by the end of the summer I will know how to tweak the various selling applications, websites, and other online tools so I can concentrate on finishing up my second poetry collection and get it published.

Here is a brief explanation of the book writing village for those who are curious: I badgered my daughter until she created an INSTAGRAM account. I manage the Face Book and Twitter accounts myself. I routinely ask my sister to assist with formatting challenges I cannot complete and ask for her help with other tasks requiring vision like ordering items from VISTA PRINT. My editors assist me with other aspects of book promotions, too. My husband often mails books, attends book signings, being driver, money-changer and heavy lifter (books are heavy!), and other tasks as we travel the path of the Indy author experience. I am so grateful for the help and attention and care from my book writing village. When I am rich and famous, I am hosting a party for y’all.
What have I learned from all of this? The act of Writing is singular, but the profession is full of caring human interaction.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 1

My bio

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>el=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Ann M. Chiappetta MS

Is a celebrated Author, poet and consultant. During the past 20 years, her stories and articles have been featured in both hard copy and electronic journals and magazines such as Breath and Shadow and Dialogue Magazine. Ann’s award winning poems have been printed in numerous small press poetry reviews and she contributes regularly to special interest newsletters. Ann’s poetry has been featured on podcasts and other audio presentations, to listen go to http://www.annchiappetta.com

A 2015 Spirit of Independence advocacy award winner, Ann possesses expert knowledge in a variety of topics including blindness and vision loss, service animals, and military culture. Her informative and engaging presentations include topics blending social awareness and education. The subjects of her presentations range from speaking to children, to seniors and to veterans on themes ranging from creative writing to disability awareness.

Ann’s books, “Upwelling: Poems” and “Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust” can be purchased from all eBook and print-on-demand booksellers http://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/ .

Subscribe to her blog by going to www.thought-wheel.com/

Poem: A Dog’s Breath

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

A dog’s Breath
© 2018 By Ann Chiappetta

A hectic day
aRetreat into four walls of sanctuary
The effort of presentation
of professionalism, of being evaluated
And On the lowest rung
Burned like a premeditative strike.

Was I so horribly misunderstood?

hopes dissipated
Deflated balloons, once bright and buoyant now
Burst, flatulent and dispersed

There I sat
Fingertips on the keyboard, confidence compromised
In the office falsetto
I breathed

And Caught the sound with closed eyes
In-out, in-out, in-out
A partner in rhythm
Lying by my side.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 1

Darned Delete Finger

| Filed under Fiction Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

I’ve been procrastinating in telling this story. A few weeks ago, I was a total derp and deleted files that somehow could not be recovered. Yup, two novels-in-progress and a number of other manuscripts I’ve been working on for the last three years. The computer tech could not recover them, and I am now resigned to taking the original manuscripts and re-writing them. Hundreds of pages, plot revisions, and scenes gone and nothing I can do about it.

Well, I told myself, no use crying about it, I’ve been through this before and I can get through it again and make the stories better.

I’ve also made some decisions about how I back up my work and decided on using cloud storage for my works-in-progress.

The message here is mistakes will happen and the key to recovering from it is staying grounded and revising the plan to reduce the error from recurring. I may have a twitch in my delete finger, though, and I hope to reign in my trigger finger from now on, BAM!

.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 3

Meet The Author

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Meet the Author Ann Chiappetta
Author of Follow Your Dog A Story of Love and Trust © 2017 www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
Date: March 15th Time: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Place: Westchester Disabled on the Move 984 North Broadway, suite LL10, Yonkers, NY 10701. Directions: 914-968-4717 or www.wdom.org/
Signed books are $10 each, cash only.
What, exactly, does it mean to share one’s life with a guide dog? The person and guide dog are interdependent, and the bond of mutual trust is what makes the partnership successful and fulfilling for both. Ask yourself how many people you would trust with your life, and after answering, ask yourself if you would trust an animal with your life. Unless you are bonded to and live with a working dog, you might hesitate in answering the second question.
To be sure, guide dogs have performed many heroic tasks and have saved handlers from innumerable dangers. However, there are smaller and subtler things that can mean so very much: the feel of your dog’s head on a foot while riding the bus, the whimpers and doggie dreaming, the way you and the dog move in sync when walking down the street, and countless other tokens of trust and affection.
With this book, I hope to take the reader on a journey of understanding: learning what it’s like to overcome the darker side of disability by walking the path of independence with a canine partner.

Love in Seventeen syllables

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Hello readers, an interesting thing happened the other day after posting a humorous haiku about poo to the email list belonging to my guide dog school training program. The outpouring of love and respect for our canine partners overflowed into dozens of haiku. The edited collection is below. It is one of the best things about the creative experience: passion drives creativity and our incomparable companions keep us passionate, for sure.

Thanks to all who contributed; while there were over 8 pages of poems, the pieces here are only a small sample representing the love and respect I think we could agree is a reflection of how we feel about our dogs.

Haiku
Poetry Collection
A Profession of partnership
Guiding Eyes for the Blind Graduates

What does your dog do
Alight upon the sun beams?
Yes, each day we fly

Mac has love so blind
My faults hidden from his view
So simple, so real

Rub Prince’s tummy
Safely Guide Judy day/night
Gifts of Love for each

The squirrel runs fast
Legs are twitching as he runs
In the Guide Dog dreams

People, subs, shadows
Julia’s loves in six years
Julia the first

Yankee Doodle guide
Buses, sidewalks, and streets
Guiding quick and true

Blind, alone, afraid
Geb guide no longer alone now
Guide is my best friend

Amos, my sweet boy
Soaring through crowds to targets
Lying on my feet

Henley is so sweet
Sugar and candy can’t match
German shepherd love

The Concrete Jungle
Where Kit and I stroll daily
Freedom beyond dreams

Small, fast, and agile
Like supercar and driver
Dog and I are one

Dixon, first in line
He wanted to lead the pack
When not on my lap

Jada is my wings
Watch us fly across the sky
We don’t see the ground.

Adler went too fast
He taught me trust and patience
How to replace him?

You are my best bud
My loud and lively Lawson
Thanks for all the joy!

JJ son of “Wildman”
Playful when out of harness
All focus in harness

Squire, dark as night.
smart, strong, and ever so sweet.
Ever and always.

Observant guide dog,
Counters sadness with face licks
Makes me laugh and smile.

Pip, out of harness,
my social butterfly girl
Has more friends than me.

Irish cream doggie-woo
Giant heart spirit of two
Taken hold of me

Hadley is two dogs
At play: run and slide! Bounce! Fly!
Harness on: a king.

Quincy was my first Guide,
That Golden boy stole my heart,
Always in my Heart

The trees and sky breathe
My golden girl goes forward
Our hearts together

Curled asleep at feet
Waves of love from guide Ryan
Smiling a tear falls

My vision’s as wide
As a dog can see, hear, smell.
Guiding Eyes radar.

Liza is so quick!
Gave that candy a big lick.
The clerk put it back!

Walking by my side
You safely show me the way
Teamwork everyday

Flying through our world,
Brilliant mind and stellar step . . .
Marli’s guiding eyes.

My dog is Cici,
She is my guiding Eyes girl,
Without her I fall

Two Years together
Yankee and Mom a great team
Working and playing

I walk in snowshoes
Dog is in four black Mukluks
Home, now there are three

Guides. Finds, loves to play
Always willing willing to retrieve
Muzzle stuck in shoe

Hadley loves to love.
He’s all cuddles, no kisses.
Mouth’s reserved for toys.

Naughty puppy face
Harness on, working face on!
What to do without?

With sudden blindness
Clare became my light and sight
My guide and friend

Our talks as we walk
Open volumes clearly spoken
Unheard by strangers

Night comes, harness off
Naughty puppy face once more
We dream together.

Akron, gentleman
Needed a much slower pace
Sleep contortionist

Tessi bouncy girl
Met no one she didn’t like
Glad at work or play

Find eighty-eight keys
That is where you will find Mac
Snoring underneath

Sweet but sneaky Pip,
will commando crawl for food
Dog foodaholic.

The one that started it:
Brown nuggets drop from
Dog to snow, hidden in white
Lost until spring thaw.

Love in Seventeen syllables

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

News and Notes

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Hello Readers,
It’s February, the month dedicated to love and inklings of spring. Here in New York, we have been experiencing yo-yo weather and I am ready for the warmer weather. Bailey and Verona, my Labradors, would love it to snow a few more times just for fun, though. Silly dogs!

I have a few announcements this time around – first is the ACB Radio Mainstream podcast on February 21 at 10:30 p.m. eastern. I talk to the host, Brian McCallen about being a writer and coping with blindness. You can subscribe to the podcast for other interviews and informational segments.
Here is the listing: Ann Chiappetta – Wednesday February 21st 10:30PM Eastern/7:30PM Pacific (and replays every two hours throughout the next day)

To listen to “Speaking Out for the Blind,” go to: http://acbradio.org/mainstream, and choose one of the links under the headings “Listen to ACB Radio Mainstream” and “Now Playing;” or call 712-775-4808, and when prompted, press “1” for ACB Radio Mainstream. You may also listen to the program live on the ACB Link mobile app.
For more info related to the show, go to: https://speakingoutfortheblind.weebly.com/list-of- episodes-and-show-news/for-more-information-episode-160-ann-chiappetta

For all you local folks, I am hosting a book signing on March 15, 2018 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Westchester Disabled on The Move in Yonkers, New York. Printed, signed copies of FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST are $10 each, and UPWELLING: POEMS are $8, cash only. Call 914-393-6605 if you have any questions. Directions are on WDOMI’s website,
www.wdom.org

I’d love to give a multi-book discount to organizations, programs, and schools, so email me at [email protected] to find out more.

Thanks for reading, here is a little haiku for you:
What does your dog do?
Alight upon the sun beams?
Yes, each day we fly

Be well,
Annie, Bailey, and Verona

Reaching Out

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

I recently sold 37 copies of my new book, Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta in January. I am proud of this accomplishment because although the number is modest, I am an Indy writer managing my writing career without a publicist or agent to push sales on my behalf. My colleagues, friends, family and social media contacts have helped me, too – something I thought would be impossible just a few years ago.

The most difficult barrier is time. I work full-time, so whatever promotions I engage in must be squeezed in judiciously; weekends are crammed with secretarial duties like stuffing envelopes, ordering promotional materials, scheduling guest appearances and podcasts or radio interview’s, , and catching up on email. Phew! Often, the household duties fall to the wayside or are completed between these other tasks. ‘Tis the life I choose to live.

If an interviewer asked what is the most difficult part of being an Indy author who is promoting her books, I’d reply it’s about asking others to help me do it. What I mean is, being bold enough to make a cold call to a book seller, artist’s guild or friend and ask for help with a recommendation or book review. The risk of being rejected or told no, sorry, I can’t help you is the one fear I work through while selling my book.

If the interviewer asked what is the most fulfilling part of being an Indy author, I would say the people’s responses, of course. It is about touching a reader, connecting the emotions and resonating with them through the written word that keeps me going and fills me with joy.

Thank you, readers, for keeping me going.

Thank You Verona

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

I got on the bus last week and took out my cell to pass the time. I opened Face Book and fingered through my status and read that it has been 9 years since I met Verona. I shared the milestone like a good little FB user but the nostalgia stayed with me all day. I wasn’t able to reach out and pet her to say thanks for a wonderful first guide dog experience. It was like not saying “I love you,” to my human family upon leaving for a day’s work.

There are so many reasons for writing this post, from appreciating the people involved in bringing Verona and I together to those who helped me make the decision to retire her and supporting our family so we could keep her and let her live out her retirement with regal dignity.

It’s a little overkill, perhaps, to keep writing about this dog, but, hey, I write about relationships and the most meaningful ones have been with dogs, so, you know, write what you know, right?

Verona continues to provide unconditional love dressed in ebony, a constantly wagging tail, and a gentle nature. She is the only dog in our lives that has generated a fan club and a long list of possible retirement homes when folks heard she was hanging up the harness. All the paratransit bus drivers talked about her, how intelligent she looked, that she “has smart eyes,”. We are featured in the para transit taxi program brochure; when she retired, the local newspaper wrote an article about how much the veterans would miss her. She saw her trainer the other day and actually jumped up to lick her face, prancing around like she was two years old. It is in these moments for which I feel grateful. I am appreciative of the dedication and expert attention to her training and breeding. Our family has benefitted from such a phenomenal dog, she is a true Labrador retriever and the kind of guide dog who became an ambassador because of her character. This is why I write about her so much, have written a book, two poems and dozens of articles about her. She is exceptional. It is this piece of canine personality which grabs our attention and stays with us. It is this type, this definition that sticks to our hearts like Velcro and owns a part of our hearts making us grieve when the animal passes.

People talk about soul mates, and a great guide dog match is similar. Some folks refer to it as a spirit dog, or a heart dog. I felt her unique energy the first time we met and don’t ever want to forget it. The energy still keeps me grounded, gives me confidence.

Here’s to you, Verona, sweet girl, whose ability to trust me and to have been able to take us places and lead us into adventures is the most powerful partnerships I’ve known. Happy ninth anniversary. I love you.

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A Mixed Doggie Bag

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about being out in public with a guide dog. After writing my book www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta , I have to fill up the repertoire, having used most of the material for Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust and in 2016, following the release of Upwelling: Poems. Not sure about other book writers but I felt quite depleted after publishing each book. I did not write much and found I wanted to read more, write less. I honored this urge and have read about five books since releasing Follow Your Dog in October. But I digress.
Onto the dog story …

It was a mixed bag last week, and I will try to show you why in this post.
I was scheduled for a routine ultrasound test. Bailey and I find the door to the waiting room, and I poke my head and ask if this is the right place. The building does not have braille or raised print on any of the doors so I have to ask. A few folks say yes and we enter. I step inside and hear, “She’s got a dog, I’m scared of dogs,” and then I hear, “She’s not coming in here, is she?”

A quick wave of anxiety rises, then I tell it to go away, that I should not be intimidated by what this person says. I should be used to it by now, but after almost ten years of working a guide dog, it still triggers some anxiety.

I ask where the counter is and direct Bailey forward, he stops. I determine there is not enough room for both of us to walk between the chairs, so I begin to shuffle past the patients sitting there, tucking in their feet to let us pass.

I tell Bailey to lay down while I fill out and sign paperwork and hear the same person say, “They shouldn’t let dogs in these places, people have allergies, you know,”. Thankfully no one responds.
To make matters worse, the receptionist treats me like I am a plague victim. She barely touches my hand to help me get to the line to sign my name. I ask her to direct me to a place so my dog won’t be stepped on, as I notice the chairs are very close together. She misdirects me twice, and tries to push me over to the chair instead. I lose my patience, saying, “The chair is not in front of me, the chair is to my right,” She retreats behind the counter, and I can feel her relief of not having to help me anymore.
as it happens, the safest place for Bailey to lie down is the farthest from the radiology room door. I have to walk back around the entire line of people to get to the technician when my name is called. Thankfully, she is helpful and actually loves dogs, allowing Bailey to lie wherever he feels comfortable once I am settled.

I end up waiting after the test for the return trip and pass the time in the waiting area. Bailey takes me back to our chair. Before leaving, I risk a trip to the bathroom. I direct Bailey and because the room is so full, I can tell where the turn to the bathroom is and trail my hand on the wall to keep oriented. Unfortunately, I don’t know that there is a line of chairs against the wall leading to the bathroom door and almost pass my hand across the face of a man sitting there; I apologize as soon as I realize what my fingers touched and urge Bailey on to the bathroom. The reluctant receptionist appears as if by magic, saying, “The bathroom is really small, I don’t think you will fit.” She tries to block me but I just smile and say I think we can fit. I let Bailey go in first, and I go in, then she helps me close the door, as if I am unable to figure it out for myself. I exit the bathroom without incident, Giving Bailey the command to the outer door and we are clear of an uneventful test and I sigh with relief that we have survived that receptionist. Yuck.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0
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