Sunday, April 7, 2013


     Let's suppose you're almost done with the first draft of an upper-middle-grade novel about a boy who opens a comedy club in his basement. Let's further suppose that you want to add in one more amazing, funny act that takes place in the club, and that you're racking your brain to think of something entirely original.
     Eventually, you come up with an idea: a blind stand-up comic. You google the idea before you start writing, just to see if by chance there are any real blind stand-up comics.  Guess what?  There are.  You think of proceeding with your idea anyway, but then you realize that what's different about a blind stand-up is that he or she would talk a lot about the humorous side of blindness, and that's not what you have in mind.  So you think some more.
     Finally, you think you've got it: a blind magician.  It seems like a natural winner, and there can't possibly be any of those, can there?  You return to Google.  Yes, there can be, and yes, there are.  Several of them.
     You decide to face the truth.  You will never come up with a wholly original idea, because EVERYTHING has been done before, dating back to the Bible.  The best you can hope to do is deal with the concept in a wholly original way.
     Of course, what this experience of mine really signifies isn't that there is no such thing as a new story.  What it really signifies is that one area in which modern societies have made incalculable strides is broadening the range of possibilities for people with disabilities.  Blind people ski, climb mountains, practice law and medicine.  So why not stand-up comedy?  Why not magic acts?  Why not anything at all that sighted people can do?  I know there's still a long way to go before people with disabilities have opportunities equal to those enjoyed by people without disabilities.  But it's one area where real, tangible progress is being made.

     I love the teenage blind magician I've created, because she turns the tables on the audience, gently mocking them for their misperceptions.  I hope you get to meet her soon - I'm pretty sure you'd love her too.


  1. I am very excited to meet her too!

  2. Oh, thank you, Nate! You're the best fan club president a mom could ever wish for. XXXXX

  3. I think a blind magician sounds original (and magical!). Wishing you good luck with the project.

    Yvonne (not from Germany)

  4. Aw, thanks, Yvonne! Fingers and toes crossed for you too! By the way, I seem to have scared off my German follower. I hope he/she doesn't think I can track him/her, other than to a country. Anyway, I'm excited to see you at the June conference!