ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the linkback perk poem for the June 3, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It was prompted by [personal profile] chordatesrock. It also fills the "physical imperfections" square in my 12-11-13 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest. This is a direct sequel to "Throwing Souls Like So Much Clay" in the series Polychrome Heroics.

Linkers include: [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon, [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] janetmiles, [personal profile] helgatwb, [personal profile] siliconshaman, [personal profile] the_vulture, [personal profile] mdlbear, [personal profile] kshandra


"Worse Than the Disease"


Sheila had been gradually going blind for years,
the slow roll of retinitis pigmentosa
darkening the edges of her vision
until the world faded away.

She made do anyway,
building a support network
to compensate for her limitations,
new friends becoming old over time.

She learned to read Braille
and to navigate with a cane,
but it never really felt like her.

It took a while for Sheila to hear
about the Sculptress, a woman
whose superpower allowed her
to make changes to other people's bodies,
fitting them to the owner's self-image.

The street people provided hints
that eventually led Sheila to the Sculptress,
who asked questions about
how Sheila saw herself.

Days of effort slowly restored Sheila's sight
and made the transformation permanent.

At first Sheila rejoiced.
She could see again!
It was wonderful!

Then she realized
what she had lost in the process.

Her support network
frayed and drifted apart.
Those friends had only known her
after her handicap manifested itself.
They didn't know what to do with her
as a normal person.

The world was bright and busy,
more so than it used to be,
full of garish ads and blinking billboards.
Sheila had forgotten
how annoying the sun could be,
falling through a window
early on a weekend morning.

It never occurred to her
that the cure could be
worse than the disease.

Disgruntled with the results,
Sheila went back to the Sculptress.
This was not new, it turned out;
there were always some people
unhappy with the changes
that they had requested.

The Sculptress was sympathetic.
She understood how upsetting it could be
to have your whole life overturned.

Sheila asked, quietly,
if what had been done
might be undone.

The Sculptress checked, but no,
the self-image still showed Sheila
as a sighted woman.

At loose ends, Sheila decided
to stay and help the Sculptress,
who was short and fat, poor and black,
and presently homeless.

It would be useful to have someone else
to help guide the seekers to the Sculptress
and warn them that sometimes
having was less satisfying than wanting.

This was the kind of thing
that the Sculptress could not fix,
but she always felt sorry for the people
who broke themselves on her talent.

Perhaps, in time,
they would find a way
to put the pieces of Sheila
back together again.

* * *

Notes:

Sheila Monahan -- She has gray eyes, bright brown hair with red highlights, and fair skin with brown freckles. She is average height and a little soft around the edges. Sheila suffered from retinitis pigmentosa for years, making do with a support network. Then Sheila found her way to the Sculptress and got her vision back -- but it cost her all of her disabled friends, and she was unhappy with the results. She wound up working for the Sculptress to help other people understand the ramifications of their choices.
Qualities: Good (+2) Coping Skills, Good (+2) Helpful, Good (+2) Making Friends, Good (+2) Retail Clerk
Poor (-2) Bridging Ability Gaps

* * *

An invisible disability doesn't have obvious outward signs and can be overlooked. This has advantages and disadvantages.

Blindness has many causes, of which retinitis pigmentosa is one. When writing about blind characters, it helps to know why they are blind.

People may weave a disability into their identity and support network. These videos describe how several people with disabilities have created support networks that allow them to live fulfilling and largely independent lives. Learn how to build a support network of your own. Everyone needs support and connection -- even ablebodied people get sick or need to jumpstart their car sometimes.

Be Careful What You Wish For is a classic entertainment trope that also applies to everyday life.
 

Like old friends

Date: 2014-06-10 02:50 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I read this as I posted it, but seeing it again is like visiting old friends. And I'm still thinking over one question: if I went to the Sculptress, what would happen?

Thanks for giving me something entertaining to muse over while hubby watches TV.

Re: Like old friends

Date: 2014-06-10 03:06 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
See, that's what I don't /know/. Would it work with the /negatives/ that I have to deal with and which annoy me NO END-- I'd be able to balance on one foot, for example.

Or does it work with the things I feel I'm /almost/ able to do-- languages, poetry, other skills.

(I've posted my first poem since high school, and it's clearly not as bad as I feared it would be.)

Re: Like old friends

Date: 2014-06-10 03:25 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
LOL, then... I'd be the person stopping by every few days to visit with them, helping out where I can, just to DISCUSS the theory. Because it's AMAZING, and I'm having fun with it!

Re: Like old friends

Date: 2014-06-10 03:46 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
They walk into this BLIND? Are they NUTS?

I'd want to talk about it first, and probably to the point of deciding that the tradeoff wasn't WORTH it... but the conversations would be RIVETING.

Re: Like old friends

Date: 2014-06-10 03:20 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Still thinking about this-- I even reach for my eyeglasses in my DREAMS, so that's not likely to change. Heck, even if I could change /gender/ it wouldn't matter to me, because it's not something I generally fuss over. Snicker. I'd be "that six-foot auburn-haired guy with a good tan" one day and a five-foot-six woman with black hair and eyes the next... both of whom wear my eyeglasses prescription.

It's as amusing as it is thought-provoking.

Oh... one thing... more flexibility and balance. That I want at least twice a day, just going about my life.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-11 05:10 am (UTC)
thnidu: blank white robot/avatar sitting on big red question mark. tinyurl.com/cgkcqcj via Google Images (question mark)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Tierra = the Sculptress, ĉu ne? The name isn't in the poem.

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