By Nancy Scott, Parisian Phoenix Poetry Editor
So much of what divides us and holds us together depends upon the need for and availability of knowledge and perspective. I’ve been disabled from birth and, in my 68 years, I’ve learned that misconceptions are often handled through everyday transactions.
My neighbors see me using the stairs and finding the Coffee Room in the lobby of our building. They learn that I can’t get coffee myself because kitchen things move in a public space. They know I “watch” TV, including high school football and lots of space flight events. And I get big envelopes of Braille in my mail.
People learn about me through dialogue and personal interaction. It is an effective means of lasting education. I learn about my neighbors, too. They often inspire me.
Not an Able-Bodied White Man with Money is another way to promote personal interaction. In a pandemic that has featured dangerous isolation this book is a useful tool. It provides space for thought and rereading. It charts a wide range of ages and marginalities from a particular physical location. Perhaps it risks more. Perhaps it offers more.
As you read, think of questions you might ask. Are there things you never considered? What in the book surprises you? What resonates as truth? How do environments and experience create problems or coping strategies or blind spots?
How do we define ‘advantage’? How do we value ourselves and others? What understandings foster real connections?
Are there people in the book who needed to say more? How does honesty compete with how a person needs to be seen? I’ve talked and written about difference almost forever. This is not true for everyone. But even I struggle with some discussions concerning things like family dysfunction and its potential aftermath.
Individual intersections and complexities occur in most relationships. But on the other hand, to quote the song, “We’re all in the same boat” or “We’re sleeping underneath the same big sky.”
We must learn from each other. In this book, we can see past or talk about myths and barriers without illusions that we have no common ground. Navigation might be as easy or disturbing or fascinating as opening the book and opening our minds.
Not an Able-Bodied White Man with Money is available on Amazon, via Barnes and Noble’s website and can be ordered from your local independent bookseller through Ingram. Order from Amazon here. Order from B&N here.