In the spring of 2016 I had lunch with a good friend. We talked about the six suicides that occurred at her son’s school over the past several months. Northern El Paso County, where we have called home for fifteen years, consistently ranks at the top of many national lists, including best places to live, but it also has become a hotbed of teen suicide. After that lunch, I decided to write about my “annus horribilis”, my horrible year from 1978 to 1979, which was my last year in elementary school and my first year of middle school.
Why should I tackle this?
- Because my kids became middle-schoolers themselves, first our daughter, followed by our son, entered a local charter school, with their versions of ups and downs of trying to fit in.
- Because by detailing my story, my hope is that it will help readers, especially young people, know they are not alone in what they are dealing with.
It was not easy to tackle the topic of my middle school years. It brought up painful memories of all the doctor visits, the loss of friendships, and the numerous family members and friends we lost in the spring and summer of 1979. I wrote the Checkers Club in my makeshift writing lair that my husband set up in our utility room, as well as in local coffee shops and restaurants. Many times as my fingers sped over my laptop’s keyboard, I found myself in tears as I played my late seventies music play list on my phone. The memories I suppressed from so long ago, came out, chapter by chapter, word by word, until the final manuscript was complete. The first draft was read by my mom and sister. My mom told me, “It brought it all back”. I had forgot, she was there, she too experienced my “hell year”, but as an adult, not as an adolescent. She did not have the luxury to cry in her room every day, as was my go-to; she had to be strong for me, my dad, my siblings, her siblings, and our grandmother.
What do I plan on accomplishing with ThroughOneGoodEye?
- Why should anyone out there care about my blogging publicly, rather than me just keeping a personal journal?
- Who am I to think my situation of going blind in my left eye at the age of twelve matters to anyone but to me and my family?
- Who do I really want to reach via this blog?
- If the Checkers Club does become successful throughout the next year, what do I hope to have accomplished?
Others have had the same struggle as I have with one good eye, such as Dan Crenshaw, who is a former United States Navy SEAL officer and is now serving in the United States House of Representatives for Texas’s 2nd congressional district. He was injured by the detonation of an improvised explosive device; he lost his right eye and required surgery to save the vision in his left eye.
Teddy Roosevelt, who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909, was avid amateur boxer while in college. During a sparring practice, Roosevelt, was struck in the left eye. The blow caused severe hemorrhaging, eventually a detached retina, and finally blindness in the eye.
The author Alice Walker is blind in her right eye due to being accidentally shot by her brother’s BB gun when she was eight years old. She wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The movie The Color Purple was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Whoopi Goldberg and Best Supporting Actress for Oprah Winfrey
The actress Sandy Duncan Duncan underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor behind her left optic nerve. As a result, she lost vision in left eye. She is known for her performances in the Broadway revival of Peter Pan and in the sitcom The Hogan Family.
The late entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., lost his left eye in an car accident in 1954. He was depressed from the loss, and thought his career was over, but he went on to be one of the great entertainers of all time, and a member of the famous “Rat Pack”.
The late actor Peter Falk, who played the television Detective Columbo in the 1970’s, had his right eye was surgically removed when he was three because of a retinoblastoma, a type of cancer; he wore an artificial eye for most of his life. The artificial eye was the cause of his trademark squint.
Some of the above I knew had eye issues, but I had no idea that Alice Walker or Teddy Roosevelt were blind in one eye. What do the above have in common with me? They all persevered. I call my self “left eye challenged”. It is my way of coping with what shingles took away from me so many years ago. I am not looking for sympathy, but rather I want to be an example to others of what I have learned to do with just one good eye.
My hopes for this blog is that I can be just a voice for somebody else who may be a little lost. I have many passions, not just writing, but cooking, working out, and being with my family. I hope I have other books in me. I plan on working on the next book the way I worked on The Checkers Club, with the help of my family. Check back in once in awhile to here my struggles with “writers block” or just the process of writing in general. I am not social media savvy, even though I work for a “big tech” company. I hope get better at social media and to have a second book completed by the end of 2020.
Stay safe, be blessed. All the Best. Kim