Book News: Recap on Most Recent Off Balanced Publicity

Considering a few months have gone by since I last did a “Book News” post to share updates on the publicity my teenage memoir Off Balanced continues to garner, I wanted to use today as an opportunity to recap late April, May and June’s marketing efforts. These efforts include interviews and guest blog posts. I hope you enjoy!

Guest Post for Cleveland Indians Fan Blog The Tribe Daily
Published Tuesday, April 24th, I take  the opportunity to discuss the significant influence sports can play in our lives. After all, my interest in the Cleveland Indians helped lead me to find an interest in writing. Read here, “Guest Author: Sports Empower.”

Book Readers Interview
Book Readers provides an enticing blog for writers and authors. Dee  Owen interviews various authors and gets them to share their insights into the writing and publishing industries. Checkout my insights posted Monday, April 30th, “Off Balanced- A Teenage Memoir

AM 930 WEOL Morning Show Interview
AM 930 WEOL reaches the Elyria, OH area. On Thursday, May 3rd WEOL Morning Show hosts Bruce Van Dyke and Craig Adams interviewed me about Off Balanced and my other writing endeavors. Click the image below and than click “Off Balanced” to hear my now archived interview.

AM 930 WEOL

I appeared on WEOL’s morning show Thursday, May 3rd to talk about Off Balanced and more!

Guest Post for Handicap This Blog
I know I mention Handicap This’ Tim Wambach and Mike Berkson on this blog multiple times. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement getting to provide a guest post on inclusion, “Striving for Greater Inclusion” on their blog back on Friday, June 1st. Quick sidebar! I recently interviewed Tim and Mike for The Mobility Resource. You can view the interview here, “Is Your Mind Handicap Accessible?

Interviewed by Columnist Daniel J. Vance
Daniel J. Vance writes a column called “Disabilities” which gets distributed and published in various publications across the country. I’m humbled he deemed my story newsworthy and wrote a piece about me, “Teen with Disability Overcomes Embarrassment.”

 

 

 

Advertisements

Personality Profile: Jeff Moyer

After four months please welcome back “Personality Profile” posts! Today I spotlight Jeff Moyer, an author/public speaker/musician/disability advocate who happens to be blind. I actually received the pleasure to meet Jeff Moyer back in April. I absolutely mean pleasure too as Moyer helped push for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Without the ADA who knows what struggles my parents might’ve encountered enrolling me into mainstream classes during my school years. Before I go on, please checkout the following video of Moyer helping to celebrate the ADA’s 18th anniversary from 2008.

Now like I said I met Jeff Moyer back in April, at a volunteer banquet. I’ve mentioned previously on this blog that I volunteer at Euclid Adult Activities Center, a site of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Moyer performed a few songs to kickoff the volunteer banquet celebration. His music carries upbeat, meaningful messages. Personally, I enjoy “I’ll Do It for Love” the most. You can purchase Jeff Moyer’s music at www.jeffmoyer.com.

Amongst all else Jeff Moyer’s resume left a lasting impression on me. His accolades include meeting Ted Kennedy Jr., performing at the reception following President George H. Bush signing the ADA, giving a keynote address at Kennedy Space Center, and traveling internationally to spread disability awareness.

Ultimately Jeff Moyer helped people in the disability community gain rights honestly too often taken for granted, specifically the rights to a proper education and reasonable accommodations within the workplace. I’ve heard horror stories about how society use to institutionalize people with disabilities, a concept hard to fathom in 2012 thanks to disability advocates like Jeff Moyer.

Analyzing Pop Culture: Disabilities as Inspirations

The other day my Facebook friend Hamid Ala shared the following article with me, How to Evaluate Disabled Characters in Pop Culture, for Non-disabled Viewers. I really found the piece an insightful read. Specifically the question regarding whether characters play into disability tropes or not intrigued me.  The following words in particular left a lasting impression and triggered further thought.

“Analysis of disability tropes can fill up pages and pages and pages, and the Internet has a lot of discussions of common ones; off the top of my head, I’d say the common ones to watch out for in pop culture are disability as inspiration…”

Now I encountered a little mental tug of war about disability as inspiration while writing Off Balanced. Honestly, I started to second guess whether my story proved worthwhile enough to share. I mean I only have a mild case of cerebral palsy and compared to others my life appears mundane. How might I hold up to John W. Quinn who overcame cerebral palsy and enjoyed a 20-year naval career or Dr. Darrell Pone who became a M.D. despite his CP?

 

We've Come This Far by Faith by Dr. Darrell Pone

Dr. Pone offers 10 keys to success in his book We’ve Come This Far by Faith.

I wondered to myself, am I whoring out my disability by writing a book intended to inspire? Growing up I didn’t look at myself as an inspiration. At 14 years old when I needed to learn to walk again, thanks to my right leg suffering temporary paralysis, I didn’t view the endeavor as an inspirational one. Nah, that was just life. What else could I do? Sitting around in a wheelchair and sulking in my misfortune didn’t appeal to me.

Like I mention in multiple media interviews, I failed to associate the term “inspiration” with my personal life journey until a college professor told me my senior year, “Zach, you are an inspiration to anyone who has to overcome obstacles in life.” This memory motivated me to silence my hesitations and keep writing Off Balanced, a good decision based off the book’s feedback.

Still, getting referred to as an inspiration feels a little odd. I know others in the disability community agree. Perhaps Mike Berkson, lead actor in the stage show Handicap This, puts everything into perspective best. Recently I interviewed Berkson along with fellow Handicap This lead Tim Wambach for The Mobility Resource (article currently a work in progress). When asked if the two consider themselves inspirations, Berkson stated “I look at it more as we give them (others) the tools to inspire growth.”

What do you think? Sound off by leaving a comment below! Don’t be shy. 🙂