During the July 12 meeting of the High Desert Branch of the California Writer’s Club, my mom and I shared an excerpt from my unpublished book. She read for me because she reads better than I do. People laughed at the right places during the short reading. I was very happy. I have worked hard on my book. It has taken a long time to get to the place where I can share an excerpt.
I am a special education student. All of my life, people have told me that I am stupid, dumb, and retarded. My parents never told me that, but some of my teachers did. Other people didn’t call me names, but they treated me like I was stupid, dumb, and retarded. I may have a disability that made me mentally retarded, but it doesn’t mean I am stupid. I have feelings, and they get hurt by people who are insensitive.
A few years ago, my IRC counselor, Dan, told me and my mom that I wasn’t mentally retarded any more. The name had been changed, and my disability was now called an “intellectual disability.” It didn’t matter to me what my disability was called. It didn’t matter to me that people said I had mental retardation. I just didn’t like being called “retard”. Retarded means stupid and foolish. I am not stupid. I am not foolish. I have a disability, but I am a person.
I decided to write a book about my experiences when I first went to school so that people would know more about what special education students think and feel. I want people to know what it’s like to be bullied and picked on for being different. I still have a lot of rewrites to do before my book will be published. I am anxious to have it finished. Of course, my friend, James, told me that after the book is finished, I still have work to do. He is busy traveling around the country and promoting his new book, “Comes The Retribution.”
Some of you might be wondering why a man with an intellectual disability would decide to write a book. My answer is that I want to help other special ed students know that they can do whatever they put their minds to. They can make their dreams come true. You don’t have to let other people’s opinions keep you from trying to do the things you dream of doing.
When I said I wanted to write a book, a family friend said. “Good luck with that.” He was being mean. He didn’t think I could do it because of my disability. I didn’t let him stop me from trying to accomplish my dream.
Writing this book hasn’t been easy. It took me a year and a half to write my first draft, and it was only 20 typed pages long. I needed help to correct my spelling and fix my sentences. The important thing is that I kept working at it. I never gave up.
I still have a lot of work to do before I get the book published, but thanks to my friends in the California Writer’s Club, I already have a publishing company that is willing to publish my book when it is ready. I haven’t decided if I will use them yet, though. Until then, I have a lot of work to do.
Thank you for supporting me.