On April 26th, authors John Wiswell and Ross Showalter will join our Writer-in-Residence, Sarah Salcedo, for an evening of short fiction and craft talk. Amongst other topics related to the craft of writing, John, Ross, and Sarah will specifically discuss how they approach the topic of disability within their work
Sarah Salcedo, who planned the event as part of her residency, explained what she was looking forward to most about the evening. “We live in an ableist society with a truly abysmal national sense of what the word ‘healthcare’ means. We approach disability for ourselves in our work as a deeply personal practice, but we also consider how we write these identities for those both within and outside of our communities. We write about our joy, our pain, our day to day experiences, and with every story, the practices of how we balance ourselves and our exploration of self within our work varies.”
“I am a bit in disbelief that I get to talk to these writers and have this discussion. Both John and Ross have written stories that have not only made me feel seen as a disabled person but you make me want to be a better and bolder writer. When I received this residency, I was told I could create events that reflected the conversations I wanted to have in my writing, and I cannot wait to learn from and chat with these two amazing authors.”
“When I asked my guests about the discussion ahead of the event:
John Wiswell wrote, ‘I love normalizing various critical and underrepresented parts of life, and disabilities are among them. It’s wonderful to just happen to have characters share my hearing issues, or chronic pain, or whatnot, without it being centered. But there are bigger things that need saying, and those call for stories that center the experience. Yet in writing lived experience, there is always the questioning of how much of the truth will fit within the word count and the plot.’
Ross Showalter replied, ‘I see fiction as a channel of empathy, and if I could show folks what it’s like to live in this world and not be able to participate as much as you want to, then I’m inviting people to empathize with a point-of-view that, personally, I think should be given much more space. Selfishly, I think writing fiction also allows me to work through some complicated feelings regarding my own disabilities and my own state of being. All fiction is personal, in some way, in the questions we ask and the way we tell the stories, and we just have to acknowledge that it is something that can be seen objectively.’ ”
If you’re not familiar with the writers’ work, you can visit their websites below to find a full list of their stories available online.
For more information, and to get tickets to Sarah’s free virtual event on 4/26, click here.