If you see me at #RT14, say hello

A thin white woman with chin length wavy brown hair with bright orange streaks sitting in a power wheelchair and wearing a teal dress, orange heels and a silver cardigan.I’m going to be attending the RT con in New Orleans next week, where I hope to meet many of the wonderful people I’ve talked romance with over the years. While it’s absolutely no secret that I’m a disabled woman, I don’t think many people realize *how* disabled I am. You know I’m disabled, but you don’t know. It’s like knowing the Grand Canyon is big, but it’s not until you see it in person that you realize that the Grand Canyon is BIG.

So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take pity on you guys and try to give you some idea of what to expect if and when you bump into me. Maybe this will keep the awkward surprised silences to a minimum and let us get right down to the chit-chat.

  • That’s me in the picture. I’m getting my hair done the Friday before RT so the orange will be nice and bright and I might even bring that teal dress, so I should be pretty easy to identify. If there’s another orange-haired woman in a wheelchair at RT, I’ll have to fight her. There can be only one.
  • My hands, arms and shoulders are pretty wasted thanks to muscle atrophy. I have a difficult time lifting my arms up and my thumbs are basically decorative. If you go in for a handshake, it’ll take me a bit to lift my arm and I’m just going to flop my bony hand into yours. You won’t break me if you shake my hand. If you skip the handshake, that’s cool too.
  • Muscle weakness and spasticity slurs my speech. I sound like someone who’s both drunk and stoned. I’m also kind of quiet, since I don’t breathe very strongly either. I’m hard to understand and I know it. If you don’t understand something I said, I’d rather you ask me to repeat it than have you pretend you heard me.
  • I eat like a savage animal. Again, muscle weakness makes eating difficult. If you have the misfortune to eat near me while I’m eating, I chew with my mouth open, eat with my hands and cough, gag and straight-up choke on my food. (Ask Olivia Waite sometime. Poor thing watched me choke on some sushi rice I inhaled and didn’t know where to look.) Making me laugh or talk during a meal makes it much more likely I aspirate some crud and start choking. Just FYI.
  • If you see me struggling with something and want to help me, please ask first. I’m not shy about asking for or accepting help, so I’ll answer truthfully. If I say I don’t need help, I’m not just being nice. (I’m never just being nice.)
  • I am a hugger. Head pats are a no-go, however.
  • Last but not least, please walk responsibly. Don’t walk backwards or stop suddenly when you’re in a crowd. My chair weighs 350 lbs with me in it and my metal footrest will not feel nice on your achilles. My face is also about hand and elbow height, so watch your hands while talking or smoking as well. And please don’t textwalk into my lap. It’s super awkward for everyone involved.

Hope to see you at #RT14, and don’t be afraid to say hi. I don’t bite. ;-)

RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE

I LIVE!

It’s been a very strange, extremely trying few months, but I think I’m ready to hop back in the saddle and ride. My husband is one of the sorts of people who reads in times of stress to relax, but I need to be relaxed to read. Picking up a book when my wits are scrambled results in re-reading a single paragraph for an hour before I realize I’m not getting anywhere. Reading when I’m out of charity with the world makes every misused homonym, tired cliche and authorial shortcut into a table-pounding WHY DON’T WE HAVE ANY FUCKING STANDARDS ANYMORE tirade, and that’s no fun either. So for the first third of this year I’ve been playing games and just zoning the fuck out and ignoring shit. (For anyone curious about the games, they were the indie games Terraria and Towns. Both were a ton of sandbox fun.)

Anyways. Sonomalass has a great idea in a recent post on her blog:

So here’s what I’m going to try. Below I have listed the books that I plan to read, or have recently read and plan to review, in the next few months. If one or more of those titles is one you’re interested in reading and talking about, leave a comment to that effect. (I’m likely to prioritize those books, to be honest.) When I post my reactions, I will tag the tweet with “#onthesamepage.” I’ll do my best to let you know that I have posted, so that you can come comment, and we can have a discussion.

Like her, I also feel out of step with the review blog zeitgeist. I not only don’t have any of the books people are talking about, I don’t want to have them. Rather than have another table-pounding, Record Store Clerk Taste® moment, creating our own group experience sounds like a lot of fun. I don’t own any of the books on her list, but I could see my way towards buying the Grant, Lin or Morgan books if lots of other people are reading them. When your TBR is at 225, what’s a few more, right?

Working off what I do already own, here’s what I’m looking to read soon:

  • Innocent Hearts by Radlclyffe – Lesbian romance set in 1860s Montana. I’m a sucker for westerns, and I’m always looking for f/f or lesbian romance. 
  • True by Erin McCarthy – A New Adult novel about a privileged, virgin heroine and the working-class, “bad boy” hero her friends pay to sleep with her. I don’t expect to like it, but I want to talk about it for the DA book club. 
  • The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold – A fantasy novel I grabbed in a sale on everyone’s recommendation.  
  • The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden – Sure, it’s another maledom BDSM ero rom, but no one’s a billionaire and the hero seems to be on the Autism spectrum. 
  • Outlaw in Paradise by Patricia Gaffney – Gunslinger hero, saloon-owning heroine. Hello gorgeous. Where you been all my life?  
  • Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – New Adult novel from the POV of a young man back from serving Afghanistan. I’ve heard only good things.  
  • The Wedding Fling by Meg Maguire – I keep hoping every new Maguire book is the one where she plots as good as she writes.  

What do you think? Anyone want to read these too?