For those of you who don’t know me, allow me to let me introduce myself. My name is Ramona Harvey. I am the founder of onecandream.com, an author, and a disability advocate. I was also born with cerebral palsy. Easter Seals has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was an Easter Seals poster child at age three, and have been a lifetime supporter and volunteer for Easter Seals ever since. Why? Because I have a personal understanding of the value of the work and services that Easter Seals provides.
Some people might think it is odd to talk about technology and poetry at the same time. I am not one of those people. In fact my poem “2001”, which is included in my book “Unclipped Wings”, is about our relationship with Technology. Whether or not you are a person with a disability, technology has become a part of our daily lives. “We suffer when offline”. I know sometimes it seems we are advancing too quickly. It is easy to become overwhelmed. In fact, if you are like me, sometimes you might find yourself asking, “Can’t we slow down just a little please?” as I do in the poem “2001”.
You might notice I have a love-hate relationship with technology. At times, I just want to shut off my computer, throw out my cell phone and escape into the wilderness. Then I realize how technology, especially assistive technology, has improved the quality of my life. I can’t get away from it. I am even using Dragon Dictate to write this blog.
I am not a fast typist, because of my disability, so Dragon Dictate has been invaluable to me as a writer. But, I also like it because it has the ability to read documents. This is a helpful feature. I know a lot of people with learning disabilities who use Dragon Dictate specifically for this reason. I am constantly reminded that technology isn’t just convenience. For some people, like myself, it is a life saver that “binds me to this world and connects me to my heart” in a very literal sense.
In the end, as the poem “2001” illustrates, technology isn’t something I need or want to escape. Instead, technology is my escape. My Life would be a lot different if I didn’t have the hand controls I need to drive, or my wheelchair and crutches. The type of work I could do and what I would be able to accomplish would be limited, and “Unclipped Wings” might not even exist. Our technologies might be advancing too quickly making it hard for many to keep up, but as a person with a disability – now is a great time to be alive – because of those advancements.
If you have been reading my blog (http://unclippedwingsbook.wordpress.com) or following me on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/unclippedwings) then you already know that “Unclipped Wings” is not a book about disability, but rather a book about the human experience that everyone can relate too.
We all have our own obstacles to overcome. Some of my obstacles may be more obvious. But my disability does not define me or “Unclipped Wings”. As a collection, “Unclipped Wings” has a powerful message. A message which has been well received, even by people who never thought they liked or understood poetry. It truly is poetry for everyone. It is wonderful to see people being empowered not because they see me in my poetry, but because they are seeing themselves in it and are realizing their own worth.
To learn more about Ramona, her book, and her advocacy work, visit her website!