When we issued a call for submissions addressing the theme of Disabilities/Abilities, we weren’t sure what we would receive. Disability is at once a very specific issue and a broad category in America. “Disability” is also interpreted quite differently by people, organizations, companies, and governments. Aside from the theme, much sets this issue apart from others we’ve published: Some of these writers have been published extensively, and one has even presented her work at the flagship conference of composition and rhetoric professors, CCCC. One writer is working on a full-length memoir. Some of the writers are majoring in disability studies or work with organizations that advance the disability rights movement. And for the first time since we began publishing, one student writer actually cited another whose work is also published in this issue. In other words, these are accomplished undergraduate writers, and Queen City Writers is honored to showcase their work.
Essays in our Inquiry section consider disability and ability in a variety of forums: writing centers, music, literature, and theatre. Writers undertake the following:
- A research-backed plea for educators – and all of us, really – to consider more carefully the way we view and work with writers with learning disabilities.
- An examination of disability as portrayed in three popular musicals.
- An analysis of “metafiction” and the lessons it can teach us about how we see and treat the ability/disability binary.
- An argument that rock is the most likely genre of music to not only accept, but to highlight sex appeal among disabled musicians.
In “The Silent Challenge,” our featured author in Storming the Gate shares her journey to becoming a successful, college-level writer and reader while struggling with Auditory Processing Disorder, also known as the “invisible disability.” In our Snapshots section, one writer describes herself as a “wolf in the city,” as her loss of sight heightens her other senses and opens a whole new world of experience to her writing. Another compares the joys and frustrations of writing as she attempts to tell the story of her siblings’ disabilities in the family memoir that she’s writing. Finally, we publish excerpts from the first memoir to appear in the journal—a creative nonfiction writer with Cerebral Palsy ponders the meaning of suffering, the obstacles she’s already overcome, and her resistance to being placed on a pedestal in “Against Inspiration.”
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