introducing Abigail

On the outside, Abigail looks normal. Long, brown hair that is always pulled back and bangs. Brown eyes. White skin. Not extremely super-model thin but not fat either. Built rather averagely actually. To anyone, she looks perfectly normal.

But, she’s not. See, although she looks normal and acts normal, she has one slightly problem. The whole world is smaller for her than for you.

Take, for instance, snow. Snow is beautiful, white falling flakes that you can sit on our couch and watch as it falls outside. For her, the snow must either be very large flakes or she must focus on a dark background right against the window to see them coming. Details in prints, like the back of a tiny-striped couch or a skirt, more blend together so the predominate color is visible.

Forget about trying to see eyes. Emotions in eyes are a foreign concept to her. Then, also, when people are looking at her, she can’t be sure, because she can’t see what way people are looking. Finger pointing in a class doesn’t help too much because although they might be pointing at her, they also might be pointing at any person around her. She can’t tell.

What about people in general though? True, at a table she can see expressions and eyes and mouths and quite a lot. But anything further than five feet is difficult. People are recognized by body shape and now they walk. Voices also help, but if she doesn’t know them very well, than she will not see anyone farther than five feet. And if someone is waving at her from quite a distance, she probably won’t even know about it.

About reading, it is possible, but she reads closer than most people do and is often told by people that she really should look at getting glasses. About six inches is the max distance she can read normal font. Street signs are impossible, although store signs across the street can be read usually.

So why does this matter? Because we always read about the poor cripple who goes on the quest or the blind or deaf person. What we never consider is what if someone viewed the world through a pair of binoculars backwards? This character obviously won’t look different but she still is and, although it is possible to adapt, it is still hard after twenty-one years.

What made me think of something like this? Because this is me. Strangely, I’ve never been tempted to write a story about myself like that. Maybe because I don’t want to glorify it or maybe a big deal out of it. I answer questions if someone asks but no one has really asked. So anyway, this is me and there’s nothing I can do about it. Maybe you can use it in writing, maybe not.

The funny thing is actually that, except for role playing, I’ve only once written a story with someone who is disabled in some way, and that was in 2003.  I realized yesterday that everyone I write about is usually very good at what they do. I also realized on the flip side that everyone who is really good at what they do practiced a lot. Shad is a really good pilot but what does the captain say right off? (No. I don’t expect you to know.) He reminds his son that Shad has more hours than anyone he knows in the simulator. Shad also has been working for the last nine years of his life as a pilot. So it makes sense.

But what do you think is better? Do you think that it is more interesting to write a story about someone who is crippled or not? How would making your characters crippled, either from a recent accident or something they’ve been born with, change your story?

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

2 responses to “introducing Abigail”

  1. jojopant says :

    you were so right! everyone you have written about has been extremely good at what they do.including you yourself!
    It doesn’t matter actually that how people see you or ask you things. but it surely matters how you see people, because that is your world!
    your mind sees things most minds do not! your characters, your plots, your writings, your imagination and your dedication are far more developed and complex than what most of the, so called normal people have.

    And if glasses solve this minor problem, then use them!
    I know i am calling it minor, though it may not be for you, but that is how i want you to see it!

    As for your question, a crippled character would change some basics of the story…. his dependence level and maybe many other things…… but what is again important is how the character lives in the story!
    some plots may be incomplete without a crippled character while some others may be perfectly fine without the presence of a crippled character!

    let the story in your head decide the character or at times vice versa. don’t sit down “to write a story about a crippled character”… ways…… if such a character forms in your head, then go ahead, don’t force it in your imagination.

    P.S. I am realizing by the minute how long and boring i get when i sit down to write a comment. so sorry about that!


    • Abigail says :

      That observation that you made about characters makes me think that you have a good eye for story development. Because you are right; some characters work better if they aren’t crippled and some work better if they are. What I tend to find is that a character usually tells me whether they are or aren’t while I’m developing them, but that takes practice to get the feel for.

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