March 18th, 2009
"I'm sure I know of some writers who happen to have a physical disability. I'll have more of a think and get back to you by email."
You see, that's what I mean! They don't exactly trip off the tongue, do they? If I'd have asked you for the name of a writer, you could have come up with dozens. And I'm disabled, and I couldn't have told you any either!
They just aren't out there in a great number.
"I would think that a good agent would take you on primarily on the basis of your written work."
Yesh, in fairy land perhaps. But in real life, they tend to take the clients they can make money out of.
Sorry, I'm not attacking you, I'm just saying how it works.
"As long as you strongly believe in your work being good enough to get published, that will carry you through."
Um... no! Have you looked at the best sellers list recently? Jordan and Jeremy Clarkson and Radio 1 DJs! When has 'work being good enough' ever been a criterium for it being published, less still it selling? This is not the real world you're describing!
I'm really not attacking you. You saw Stewart Lee's Toilet Books, right? He sums up how I feel.
The funny thing is that when I did a google recently on 'disabled writers' I came up with loads about disabled people, but only as characters in stories by famous writers. There were very few links to actual famous disabled writers themselves. That made me angry. So we're good enough for able-bodied people to use for our interesting and quirky disabilities, are we? But not to be writers ourselves?
According to BBC statistics, 1 in 5 people in the UK is disabled. Most people are surprised by that. It's because we're hidden - kept in our homes, in hospitals, in care homes. Away from the 'normals'. It happens in a number of soul-destroying, insiduous ways.
I remember years ago when there was that whole furore over Daniel Day Lewis in 'My Left Foot'. An able-bodied, good-looking actor using a disabled man's story to win an Oscar when there were loads of unemployed disabled actors who could have done it. I remember thinking at the time that the disabled community had a slight point, but I truly didn't get the whole picture like I do now. It's not just about that one job, it's the endemic viewpoint.
Thanks for the links. Urrgh, I really don't know if I want to identify myself as a 'disabled writer.' That might be stupid of me. There might be grants and opportunities available out of it. For instance, there was a BBC free workshop for script writing, available to disabled people only... not that I want to write scripts. Actually, I do want to write a radio comedy one day. But the workshop was residential and in England, so I couldn't have gone. Making contacts, however, is always good.