Follow Friday On Twitter

If you belong on the social networking site Twitter, you most likely recognize the hash tag FF (follow Friday). A user tweets “#FF” and then Twitter handles for who he or she recommends you follow. In the writing realm a similar hash tag exists, WW (writer Wednesday). Back when I maintained a writing blog at my website I took #WW to the next level by every Wednesday picking two writers and explaining why others should follow them.

TwitterFrom this point forward I’ve decided here to use the fourth Friday every month to recommend a few Twitter users deserving the #FF treatment. Given the cerebral palsy theme my blog carries, I will stay within the disability community.

Emily Ladau (@emily_ladau)

Disability rights advocate Emily Ladau carries a conversational presence on Twitter. Just last night we enjoyed a brief chat about Michael J. Fox’s new television show, The Michael J. Fox Show. Beyond Twitter Emily exhibits her writing talents blogging at Words I Wheel By. I advise taking a look.

Anita Cameron (@adaptanita)

Anita Cameron does much retweeting, turning her Twitter profile into a comprehensive resource on disability related issues.  Ironically I usually don’t follow individuals who retweet more than posting original thoughts. However, like I said Anita retweets in a way that makes her profile a comprehensive resource on disability related issues.

Disability Horizons (@DHorizons)

Co-editors Martyn Sibley (@martynsibley) and Srin Madipalli (@srinmadipalli) run Disability Horizons. Under the Disability Horizons banner the two individuals admirably advocate for disabilities, efforts you can keep tabs on by following @DHorizons.

*Side note: Speaking of Disability Horizons, I invite you to read their Off Balanced book review written last year by Sarah Ismail (@samedifference1). 


Book News: New Five-Star Customer Reviews

During the first week in September Off Balanced picked up two new five-star Amazon customer reviews. This gives Off Balanced six total Amazon customer reviews, with the overall ranking averaging out to four-and-a-half stars out of five stars. So, what did the two latest reviewers like about my teen memoir? Read on!

Reviewer: Valerie Caraotta
“Inspiring real life account on beating the challenges of life”

Valerie Caraotta focuses her review on elements which transcend the cerebral palsy community and disability community, identifying lessons from my book she deems universal. For instance, “realizing the only real limitations are what you place on yourself.” Perhaps the following quote best summarizes her customer review.

“This is more than a book about Zachary Fenell but a book about principles and life decisions we all have to make whether in the valley of despair or on the housetop.”

Now I did gift Caraotta a copy of Off Balanced for her to review after we connected on Linked In. As a Top 1000 Amazon reviewer her opinions maintain extra credibility. I very much appreciate the time and effort she put into reading and reviewing my memoir.

Reviewer: Kathleen Statham
“OFF BALANCED: Reviewed by Kathleen Statham (freelance writer)”

Words you will find within Kathleen Statham’s Off Balanced review includes “matter-of-fact, humorous, humble” and “wonderfully inspiring.” The review really builds off her first sentence.

“This is a wonderfully inspiring memoir about the odyssey of a young man with cerebral palsy during a significant time of life between age 14 and his senior year in college.”

TMR Logo

I interviewed Kathleen Statham for The Mobility Resource and I will write a book review for BECOMING WARRIOR WOMAN.

Interestingly enough, like Valerie Caraotta, Kathleen Statham and I connected on Linked In. We belong to the same writer’s group where I learned about her cancer memoir BECOMING WARRIOR WOMAN. She decided to check out Off Balanced after I purchased her book. Currently I’m working on a book review/interview on BECOMING WARRIOR WOMAN for The Mobility Resource. Make sure to stay tuned for that at

*Remember Barnes & Noble customers, Off Balanced also remains available for the Nook. I encourage you to buy Off Balanced whether for your Kindle or Nook, enjoy the read, and share opinions with your very own customer review.

TMR Interview Extras: Susan Goodman

On August 5th the interview I did with art therapist Susan Goodman went live at The Mobility Resource website, “Does Art Therapy Offer Healing Power?” Considering our phone interview came close to two hours in length, naturally certain insights from Goodman did not undergo publication. That changes today with this “TMR Interview Extras” Off Balanced blog post.

Word choice proved a talking point throughout our discussion, initially brought up when Goodman shared her thoughts on the term “disability.” “I don’t like the word ‘disability.’ I like to say ‘people who face challenges’ because that includes I’d say anyone. I think in life, we all face challenges.”

She continued, “A lot of them (individuals she works with) are in wheelchairs, have traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or have had strokes. Physically they’re more impaired, but I have my challenges too.” She gives an example “One of my big challenges is technological.”

Art Therapy

Veterans with PTSD created the above works in art therapy. Susan Goodman didn’t council these individuals.

A little later Goodman used the word “normal,” leading me to pronounce my dislike for that term. She recognized my exact reasoning saying “I didn’t want to use that word either. It’s funny because what is normal?”

Going a step further Goodman offered her definition. “Whatever normal is for that person or what is it that, that person needs to do for themselves? That would be what I define normal as.”

That dialogue developed from Goodman speaking about utilizing adaptive devices in art therapy. “I don’t use any adaptive devices because what I found with the guys I work with now (TBIs, developmental disabilities) is they want to be as normal as possible. They like to use the materials the way they use to be able to use the materials.”

What I found so profound regarding the aforementioned comments, deals with the desire to be normal. As I document in my teen memoir Off Balanced (available on the Kindle and Nook), I maintained the same desire growing up with cerebral palsy.

Now to Susan Goodman art therapy extends beyond commonalities amongst people within the disability community. Ultimately she learned a core life principal. “Art therapy taught me so much just about human spirit and the human being and how to treat people like human beings. See people for who they are and not based on a diagnosis. ” I think that merits repeating.

“See people for who they are and not based on a diagnosis.”

Tracking New Year Resolutions: August ’13 Recap

Accountability remains a 2013 theme for me as I continue tracking my New Year resolutions set back in January.

Resolution #1- Utilize My Youtube Channel Via Vlogging
Specific Goal- Vlog Twice a Month
Accomplished? YES

When a formula works, success becomes a constant. My tentative every other week vlogging schedule stayed intact for August and no surprise, I met my goal. In my first August video I discuss what seems like a lost idea today, “Walking as Transportation.” Vlog number two should interest college freshmen.

Resolution #2- Post Here on a Weekly Basis
Specific Goal- Post every Friday
Accomplished? YES

Again when a formula works, success becomes a constant. I’m determined to write my posts by Thursday night at midnight. I found getting ahead in your mind really gives you an advantage overcoming challenges. Just look at my “Tracking New Year Resolutions” posts from earlier this year. Prior to changing my mindset I struggled to blog here in a timely fashion. Now in regards to timely…

Resolution #3- Keep to Due Dates
Specific Goal- Don’t Receive Any Inquiries About ETAs
Accomplished? NO

While I don’t recall receiving any ETAs, my stern internal judge makes me hesitant to say I accomplished my third resolution. Rather I’m fortunate my freelance clients possess faith I will come through at the metaphorical day’s end.

For example, I told one client to expect certain posts by Wednesday, August 28th. Wednesday came and went without me submitting one of those posts. No ETA came because the client knows the work will get done shortly. Despite the rewarding sentiments knowing I earned my clients’ trusts, I still expect better from me.