If any of you read my personal blog on my website, angelackerman.com, you may know of my quest over the last two years to learn more about cerebral palsy, at first the disorder in general and then specifically my cerebral palsy. This led me to Maria Killilea’s books, web sites and even podcasts— one of the first I discovered was Andrew Gurza’s Disability After Dark.
From Andrew, and then one of his guests Tylia L. Flores, I learned about ableism and disability pride and advocacy in a way those terms had never been heard within my experience. And it’s very interesting to me— smack dab in the middle of Karen Killilea and Tylia Flores—how treatments and society have changed but not changed.
Tylia, like Andrew, is a podcaster and also am author. (Andrew told me he wants to write a book and he might pick my brain about that. Well, Andrew, I’m anxiously waiting.) Like Tylia and Andrew, I have topics about life with cerebral palsy I want to discuss. I hope to someday write my cerebral palsy memoir.
Tylia, on the other hand, already has several memoirs inspired, oddly, by her fandom of The Dukes of Hazzard. Her first published work appeared in a Dukes of Hazzard anthology which led to work with the same publisher on her memoirs, the Handi-Capable series.
I tagged Tylia on Social Media once I purchased several of her books, and she thanked me, and I believe I introduced myself. I then mentioned her again last week on this blog as I finished the two Handi-Capable books. I reviewed them on Amazon and Goodreads, both with three star reviews.
And Tylia reached out to me to explore the idea of a collaboration. I gave her my phone number and we FaceTimed.
The first thing she did— and this speaks so strongly of her character and work ethic—was thank me for my honesty. She relayed to me some of her thoughts about those first manuscripts and where she hopes to take her writing in the future.
Now, there are obvious errors in Tylia’s work from a technical writing standpoint. The grammar and spelling needs an editor and she would benefit from an actual book designer. My copy of Handi-Capable II: How do you Get a Man with Wheels was printed with the cover on incorrectly. Handi-Capable: Stomping on the Barriers that Comes my Way has a grammar error in the title.
What I like about the books is not the writing. Tylia is young, I believe she said she is 27. She wants her next book to be about disability and empowerment. Her first memoir, which I read in an hour in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, talks about growing up with cerebral palsy and learning to not only accept her disability but to live her life as she wanted despite it.
Her second book, as the title suggests, chronicles her love life.
While the writing does not measure up to traditionally published standards, her content and her willingness to share surpasses what one might expect to see.
Her analysis of country music, Disney movies and DeGrassi (not sure which one) was astute and I hope she does find a good editor who can guide her to organize her latest ideas and strengthen her writing. (And I would certainly love to be considered for the job— that’s what our conversation yesterday was about.)
I’m glad she’s put these books together because she has captured so much detail about the chronology of her life, which, if you listen to her podcast Stompers in Love with her partner, Gina, you’ll know she has tackled not only love, but mental health, sobriety/addiction and gender issues.
I’m reading Disabled as F*** now.