Interview with John Sanders (Guest Blog Post #15)

Hi Everyone,

Today’s guest post is from author John Sanders. He write on all different kinds of topics including the eye condition, Nystagmus. Thank you John for being a guest. Please be sure to check out John’s social media links and his books and posts.

  1. Tell me a bit about yourself? – Born in the UK in the late 1950s, I moved around a lot as a child which was an education in itself. I worked as a translator, journalist and manager of the Nystagmus Network. Now I live in Wales and am fortunate enough not to have to do paid work anymore. That said, I still give the occasional talk about Nystagmus and volunteer with several charities. I also try to grow vegetables and fruit on an allotment which means struggling against slugs, pigeons, weeds and weather.
  2. What made you want to choose a career in journalism or writing? – No great plan. It was mostly by accident. My mum saw a job ad which didn’t involve driving. One thing led to another and I became a translator. Eventually that opened up an opportunity to become a journalist where the pay was better and the work more interesting. I missed my colleagues from translating though.
  3. What has been one of the hardest pieces you have written? – Not so much written, but the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland in 1996. That day I was sub-editing for an online news agency as the story unfolded. That meant I was the person checking the copy and pressing the button and sending the story out to screens around the world piece-meal as it happened. Initially all we had were reports of an incident at a school in Scotland. As the minutes and hours ticked by, it became apparent that children were dying and it wasn’t accidental. That was a horrible day. The British Government changed our gun laws following the Dunblane massacre. We’ve not had an event in a school like that here since.
  4. What made you want to write the Northwick stories? – Through fiction and drama you can often reach a larger audience – and have a greater impact – than simply trotting out facts and producing information sheets (although these have their place). Opinion-changing films about illness and disability that spring to mind are “My Left Foot”, “Rain Man”, “The Elephant Man” and “Children of a Lesser God”. One year I had to write up the Nystagmus Network annual open day for the charity’s newsletter. I was fed up (as a journalist) of reading dreary reports about meetings and events. So from almost nowhere sprang the idea of taking a humorous look at the open day through the eyes of the bear we’d raffled to raise money. Some people liked the story (others didn’t), but there was enough support for me to carry on writing about the world from Northwick’s flickering perspective.
  5. What has been the most challenging part of having Nystagmus? –What has probably frustrated me most is how hard it is to learn about how nystagmus affects us. And I’m sorry if this upsets anyone, but after years of thinking about this issue I’ve concluded that – based on the evidence available — much of the blame lies with the medical profession. I know some wonderful people in the medical world who are exceptions to this rule. But so many people’s lives would be so much easier and less stressful if the world of ophthalmology in particular changed the way it communicates to patients who have nystagmus. And, from talking to other people, this applies to other eye conditions too. Instead of simply complaining, I’m one of a small group of people developing a Nystagmus Care Pathway (see https://www.bioj-online.com/articles/10.22599/bioj.126/) which we hope hospital eye departments will adopt one day.
  6. If you could give any piece of advice to a beginning freelance writer what would it be? – A few things: Read good writers. Write short sentences. Be wary of how you use adjectives. And try to write something every day.
  7. What was one of the hardest things that you struggled with in school? – Sport obviously (because of dodgy sight), seeing the board, having to take part in activities I couldn’t see, glare from windows. But also the dreary uniformity — which contributed to making life harder for anyone who didn’t quite fit the norm.
  8. Has Nystagmus impacted your career choice? – I suppose so, but I think most of us are limited one way or another: for instance where we are born, who our parents are, where we live, the subjects we choose to study and to drop early on in school. I was lucky to find work I could do and enjoyed (most of the time anyway).
  9. Has Nystagmus influenced you as a writer (as in how you actually get the writing done, etc)? – Possibly in more ways than I realize. If you’re vision impaired and going along to news conferences you have to develop strategies to get hold of information other people can see and take for granted. On a positive note, not seeing very well has made me more aware of other senses and therefore not limiting myself to describing the world purely in visual terms when I write. Nystagmus was one of the factors that prompted me to go freelance and work from home, mostly by phone and email. It’s so much easier than working in an open plan office (crazy environment for writing anyway) where people generally forget you don’t see the way they do.

Let’s have some fun with these last few questions!

  1. Sweets (which is the British word for candy) or Biscuits (which is the British word for cookies)? – Dark chocolate (candy).
  2. Tea or coffee? – Both.
  3. Bed made or unmade? – Not something I ever think about!
  4. Favorite author? – I’m impressed by people who can choose favourites (English spelling). I’ve read a lot of books by very different authors and know that my tastes have changed and continue to change.
  5. Favorite Food? – See my answer on books. Maybe I’m just indecisive?

Please list your links where people can find your work or if you want how people can reach you:

http://www.northwickbear.com/index.html

https://cvisociety.org.uk/news.php?cat_id=143

http://www.wcb-ccd.org.uk/roundup.php

http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/858/1033

If you would like to be featured on my website feel free to contact me at: amanda@amandagene.com

 

Interview with Stephanie Davis Bolinger (Guest Blog Post #14)

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post is from Stephanie.

Stephanie is a friend of mine, and we met at our local independence learning center for the blind. Stephanie is very active in the community.  🙂 Thank you, Stephanie for being a guest.

  1. What is your name? Stephanie Davis Bolinger
  2. Age? 32 years old
  3. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging and or YouTube channel?  There is not one individual who has inspired me the most in my life. I have been fortunate to surround myself with women and men who strive to be the change this world needs so I am inspired on a daily basis. My traumatic childhood is what has inspired me to become a writer for my blog as well as my upcoming book.

4.     Besides writing or making YouTube videos, what do you like to do in your spare time?  I was just asked yesterday “When do you sleep?” during a news interview so reading this question made me giggle. My response was “Well, I get 2 to 3 hours per night.” However I will share a few of my hobbies.   My biggest passion besides being a Local Outreach Ambassador for multiple organizations is interpretive ballroom dance. I have been lucky enough to dance locally for about 6 years and have even had the opportunity to dance with some of the professionals of the ABC Dancing With The Stars television show during a local benefit on two occasions. I very much enjoy spending my Sunday’s on the beach with all of my friends relaxing and paddle boarding. I am an avid reader and even have my own tutu making business on the side. I would love to go in detail about some of my daredevil stunts on 4wheelers, zip lines down mountains or some of my other blind adventures but those will eventually be out in my own book.

5. Name a bad habit that you have?  Wow, giving up my bad habit secret is difficult for me because it reveals the vulnerability that I so often try to hide from others. I discredit myself all to often. If you compliment me I will most likely give the credit to someone else. This seems strange to so many considering the amount of local attention that I receive on a daily basis for my efforts within my local community; however I do none of it for attention. Everything that I do or have ever done is for a purpose of helping someone else or helping a specific organization so I will 10 out of 10 times credit my many mentors for helping to mold me in to the woman who receives such compliments.

7. Name your best quality? My best quality… hmmm… since I’m the same lady who just told you that I struggle with giving myself credit for my efforts to better the world this one is difficult. I suppose that my best quality and my biggest strength is honesty and empathy which in turn mold in to one great thing to have which in my opinion is helping others with compassion in my heart and mind.

8. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?  If I could interview anyone living or not I would without hesitation choose to interview my Daddy. He passed away when I was about 8 years old which is when my life turned in to hell on earth. I would like to ask him what he thinks about the woman I am today after overcoming so much and I would like to ask him so many questions for the book that I’m writing about my life.

9.  What is your college major/Minor?   I am a Massage Therapy student graduate as well as an Accessibility Specialist graduate holding 26 international web accessibility certifications.

10. What school (college or university) did you go to?  I Graduated as an LMT from Pensacola School of Massage Therapy. Graduated as an Accessibility Specialist with 26 international certifications from Deque University.

11. What is the title of your blog or YouTube channel? My blog is on Facebook and is called From Trauma; To Triumph Inspirational From Trauma to Triumph Inspirational speaker

12. When and why did you start your blog or YouTube channel?  I started my blog in 2018 because so many people wanted me to write a book. I do not write as often as I should but then that is due to that 2 to 3 hours of sleep, I find time for each night. Little did everyone know I have been writing a book since a couple of years after becoming blind due to a suicide attempt as a way to help myself heal from the experience, as a way to help me cope with everything I’ve gone through. I only recently announced that I have decided to publish the book once I’m done.

13. Where do you see yourself in five years?   Five years is such a short time yet such a long time away. I can honestly say that almost 8 years ago I never imagined myself where I am today so I can only hope that I am growing as a woman, wife, friend and employee 5 years from now. I hope and pray that my book is out helping others through their situations and I also hope that my public speaking opportunities have grown.

14. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? My visual impairment is total blindness. I do not like to refer to it as a disability because it has strengthened me in so many ways as a person.

15. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis?  Nothing can affect you negatively if you choose not to allow it to take you over so I would say that my vision loss affects me on a daily basis by offering me opportunity to raise awareness by teaching others about my many abilities regardless of the vision loss.

16.  What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?  Others, the word I work so hard for in order to help yet the same word I use when I experience cruelty. As I stated above I specifically choose to surround myself with like minded friends which all treat me so normal they often laugh forgetting that I’m even blind at all but I do experience bullying from others as I’m out and about. I would say it’s a mix of good and bad however I refuse to allow the bad to change who I am as a person. I choose to smile and appreciate the good.

17. If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would it be?  May I have 10 pages to answer this question??? I would simply tell someone else in my situation or even a different type of situation that blindness or any disability for that matter does not define us as people. We are not disabled, we are people who live productive and independent lives with a disability. I would also say that you are the only person who can hold you back from achieving your goals so as long as you care enough to work harder than the average person has to and you put your entire heart and mind in to achieving a goal you can do anything you go after. As wrong as this may seem to others I will also say that because I’ve been at rock bottom and worked with more determination than anything before to be successful, to help others, to have confidence, to have self respect, to have self worth, to have self love, to respect and love others that I have no pitty what so ever for someone whether they live with a disability or not if they do not put in the necessary effort to help themselves. Once we become adults we have the right to choose who we will be and what we will do with our lives so choose to be the best you every single day. Choose to be the change, to be the inspiration that this world needs.

17. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links) My social media pages are private for family and friends other than my blog page.

If you would like to be interviewed as a guest on my blog feel free to email me at: amanda@amandagene.com

 

Interview with Ailsa (Guest Blog Post #13)

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post is from Ailsa.

Ailsa has her own blog and she is active on her social media websites. Be sure to check out her blog and her social media 🙂  Thank you, Ailsa for being a guest.

  1. What is your name? Ailsa
  2.  Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging? My friends and other bloggers.
  3.  Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? I like to listen to music and play games.
  4.  Name a bad habit that you have? Biting my lip.
  5.  If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?  I would interview Olly Murs because I have a slight crush on him.
  6.  What is your college major/Minor?  I went to St Vincent College in Gosport,
    U.K.
  7.  What school (college or university) did you go to?  I went to Portchester Community School.
  8.   What is the title of your blog?    My blog is called Brains on Wheels
  9.   When and why did you start your blog?  I started blogging in February, 2016 because I wanted to have something to do besides going to college.
  10.    Where do you see yourself in five years?  In five years’ time, I would like to be living in my own place.
  11. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?  I have Cerebral Palsy (also referred to as CP). When I was born, I didn’t breathe. I was stillborn, but I was resuscitated, it took the doctors about twenty minutes to resuscitate me.   As a result of me not breathing, in that period when my brain didn’t get the oxygen I needed, brain damage occurred. I was on a ventilator for two days; the ventilator took breaths for me by pumping oxygen around my body and into my brain.   There were about three stillborn on that day, and I was the only one that survived. The doctors turned my life support down, so they could find out whether I would breathe on my own, and I did. I came off the ventilator on my sister’s birthday, which was a wonderful birthday present for her.
  12.  How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis?  I need support with almost everything; self-care, eating, drinking, dressing, ect.
  13.  What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?   I don’t know, but I would like to think that it doesn’t bother them.
  14.   If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would it be?  Don’t give up, you’ll get there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  15. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)  Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BlogbyAilsa and – https://www.facebook.com/ourlifecp                                                                                  Twitter – https://twitter.com/AilsaSpeak, https://twitter.com/BlogbyAilsa and https://twitter.com/ourlifecp

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ailsa.k.speak

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/4il5a

If you would like to be a interviewed as a guest on my blog feel free to email me at: amanda@amandagene.com