Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

How Cool Is This?

| Filed under Guide dogs Poem writing

This is an update on the book project. I am happy to announce that my first book of poems, titled, Upwelling: poems by Ann Chiappetta will be available soon in both eBook and printed versions. It is 61 pages. The photo of the orchid in black and white for the front cover and the black and white photo of Verona, my first guide dog as well as the author pic were taken by my talented sister, Cheryll Romanek. I wish I could share them here bbut I have to save them for the book. The book is dedicated to our Mom, Mary, who died last July from lymphoma.

How did I get this far? I used the three P’s: practice, patience and perseverance. First, I wrote, re-wrote and wrote even more. I recall a televised interview with Michael Crighton which has stayed with me. When asked by a fan how to become a great writer, he said, “you have to write,”. I spent years offering up my work to other writers in critique groups and revised again. I read many poems, took verse writing classes, and concentrated on perfecting the art form. I performed each poem until I was satisfied with how it sounded read aloud as well as how it appeared on the page. This took many years.

Next, I spent a year researching possible self-publishing options, prices, and used the consumer-driven power within to call and email questions, and rejected all but one publisher. Let me tell you, folks, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Rhodes scholar or Mr. Salt of the Earth, if you can pay, you can print and sell a book.

In my inexperienced mind, I was put off by this shadow world of the vanity press at first; one didn’t need talent, only enough words to fill at least 50 pages and the credit card to foot the bill. I was turned off, to be blunt. How would my work, which I thought had merit and meaning and most of all, potential, compare and stand out against some of these other authors who had the money to pay big bookmakers?

I was disillusioned. I didn’t have that kind of money. Before that, I tried doing my own desktop publishing, but depending upon friends to “get back” to me was just unrealistic and a burden on the friendship. I could not access the software myself and had to rely on a third person to create the correct format, etc. One printer even refused to handle the black and white prints, which was frustrating to both me and my sister. Another printing company sent me a 75-page instruction book that was more like a programming guide – the techno-speak and desktop tasks were like a foreign language.
I eventually put my big girl boots on and scraped up enough money to pay for editing services and moved on. I did not want my project to interfere with our friendship, so I left well enough alone, so to speak.

I made sure the words were just how I wanted them, then I began the search for the right editor. I also did another thing that ended up being the most helpful: reading books by other authors like me who are good writers and who have already published by looking up the publishers and/or the printing companies. This was the most rewarding step and the last researching piece of the book publishing puzzle falling into place. I am a writer who is blind, I cannot appreciate the visual aesthetics of desktop publishing. I can, however, find the right kind of help to accomplish the task.

What I can say about the process is once you connect with the right people, it will all quickly fall together, so be ready. It may even seem surreal, after plowing for what may have seemed like eons searching for the right people, to be led down a path of dead ends, to expect yet another disappointment, and then be swept up and carried away is quite a pleasant shock.
Yes, it is that exciting, at least for me, but I am a thrill seeker anyway. Wheeee!

And now we are here, getting ready to announce a slim volume of poems written after I began losing my vision. The subjects are varied, just like life. Love, loss, hope, hurt, joy, faith, lust, rejection, trust, trauma, reflections of the human condition. Each poem contributes to the upwelling of emotion and feeling I have touched upon while writing the prose.
I hope you will buy the book, of course, but most of all, I want this book to help heal or change something for the person reading it. I want to hear about the transformative value this book may have upon another person.
Thanks to Lenore for her expert editing,
to David
for his technical expertise and services, and to Patty Fletcher
for indirectly leading me to the Dworkins from her book, Campbell’s Rambles.

Stay tuned for other updates and the official release of Upwelling.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Not Lost in Translation

| Filed under Guide dogs writing

Today Bailey and I went out to run some errends. On our walk we encountered construction blocking the sidewalk. The first blockde was fairly easy – Bailey took us to it, I figured out what it was, directed him to find the way around it. He took me to the curb, then went into the street during the lull in traffic, and back onto the side walk where it was clear. A dozen steps further, however, we got stuck. Not only was there another barrier, but a huge truck was parked at the curb, so we were unable to navigate like we did the first time. As I stood at the curb, deciding on back tracking and crossing one block down and to come back up on the other side of the street, a man approached me. He spoke no English but offered his elbow. Talk about a true gift. I nodded my thanks, and he expertly guided me to the curb on the opposite side of the street. Once safely across, he babbled something as if to say, it was safe now and I smiled, patted his arm and thanked him. Thank you, whoever you are, you just made my day.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0