Not As They Seem

This is a digital drawing of a flower. It adds interest to the article.

I was excited.  One of my favourite artists has just had a book published, and it would seem she’s had a few books published.  I found out because I follow her on Instagram and she had posted about an event she was going to speak at, about her new book.  I asked her if any of her books were available on audio book.  Her response was ‘no’.  I then commented and said something about having disabilities and being unable to read.  Her response was ‘Can you get someone to read it for you?’ or something similar.

I was stumped, I didn’t respond.  There is so much to say to that.  I was being friendly, I thought maybe she would be open to the suggestion of putting her books into an audio format, to make them more accessible. Clearly not.  I think she assumed many things. She was probably being polite, trying to help me with ‘my’ problem. Do you think I had never thought of the idea of having someone read to me?  Nice idea, but it means being dependant on someone else to read to me all the time, as her book is not the only thing that I can’t read.  I listen to my audio books as I go to sleep and all through the night.  That’s how I access them, is someone going to pop into my bedroom and sit there reading continuously all night?  I don’t think so.

Having someone read to me takes away my independence and autonomy.  I know there are other ways to access print media.  I haven’t explored them all yet, however I know they exist, and I have well informed friends who can point me in the right direction when I want that.  They are other disabled people, who are the experts in accessibility.

I can read, however with my brain fog and my fatigue I can’t read large amounts.  I can’t read continuously for hours, or I will not be able to move for a couple of days. It exhausts me like doing physical exercise does, saps away all my energy.  Explaining that on Instagram to a stranger is not something I wanted to do.

I made the mistake I’ve made lots of times.  I thought that she might understand or be open to the challenges of a group of people who are challenged by the world we live in, discriminated against and treated badly, because she herself is from another group of people who are discriminated against and treated badly. But no.  Simply because someone is from one marginalised group of people doesn’t mean they will understand that of other groups of people.  It blows my mind when people can’t, don’t want to, or can’t be bothered to try to understand others and transfer that knowledge and understanding of their own experiences.  I simply wanted to plant the seed that perhaps more people would be able to access her books if they were available in an audio format. Maybe I did this. Maybe not. It seemed to me from  her response that she hadn’t thought about audio books at all. 

…….At some point in the future, I plan to go through all my posts and make them available in an audio format. This is a sharp reminder that I need to do that. It will require me to learn how to do that, as I’m not that familiar with WordPress as a website, and that’s a fairly big effort, given my limitations. It’s always been a place where I ‘dump’ my writing. However I want to be better at making my art more accessible for everyone.

5 responses to “Not As They Seem”

  1. I did make a start at recording podcasts of my posts, but it’s really not sustainable at the moment. But when I can record, I use Anchor. Again, due to fatigue & capacity etc I’m limited. There are some good screen reading Apps, which I access. So hopefully folk can and do use them to access your posts.

    • I have recently been recording my blog posts. I’m fairly limited too. I also have ME and Fibromyalgia. The recordings only come up if you look at the blog posts on a computer, not a phone app (which is how I am accessing this now). I do have a couple of blind friends, so I’m very aware of accessibility. It can be very hard though, because we all need different things. If someone has written a book though, it’s great if it can be accessible through audio books.

      • Yes agreed, it is difficult as you say there is a great variety in needs. I read a very helpful post about accessibility by a Blogger who is blind. They made the point of good headers, alt text on images not needing to be very wordy (which I’ve realised I forgot on my recent post), and not using repeating groups of punctuation marks, because all they will hear is, for example, hashtag hashtag hashtag hashtag. Which is really tiresome. I still have yet to perfect the art of blogging, but it’s so good to try to be accessible..

  2. ..although, I think I’ve decided to just do it from now on. Going back to previous posts is too much work. Anchor does have the function where you can pick a voice and have it converted for you. But I get it, that extra step can be too much, regardless.

    • Yes, with you there. It really is too much. I haven’t linked my blog to an Anchor a/c. I just use it separately as I has set it up before WP Anchor option appeared. Transcribing podcasts was pretty horrendous on brain power. It’s a difficult balance to reach.

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