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Stories From the Edge of Blindness

In 2002, Retinitis Pigmentosa changed my life. This is my story of a slow approach to darkness.

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Susan Richardson

Remembering How To Breathe

It’s been a rough week. Lots of tears. Lots of sun falling out of my mouth, leaving shadows to choke me and change the taste of the landscape. When I feel this way, all I want is to disappear, to blend into the chipped paint, hide beneath the floor boards. I cry while looking at cooking shows. I cry sitting at the computer, washing dishes, riding in the car watching the filthy city shrink under the waves of heat that oppress and burn. I am coming unglued. I have forgotten how to breathe.

In getting ready to move, I sink into the lives of people I have loved, people who have died. I am tearing away scar tissue, leaving wounds vulnerable to the teeth of time. I am awash in memories that leave me desperate for youth, for the feeling of my mother’s arms around me, for the delight in my brother’s boyish laughter, for the scratch of my father’s beard against my cheek. The weight of missing people presses against my eyes and taints the color of the sky. I am coming unglued. I have forgotten how to breathe.

I am tying up the loose ends of my broken body, retrieving my white canes from their hiding places, spending day after day in dental torture chairs, wishing I hadn’t allowed myself to get so fat. My heart has been buried so deep beneath the flesh, I no longer recognize its rhythm against my ribs. The mirror is my punisher, the fist that reminds me I have failed again, that I will never be good enough. I am coming unglued. I have forgotten how to breathe.

My book got a mediocre review. It crushed me. It pissed me off. It left me wanting to quit writing, to burn through the lines on the page, scatter hope into the dirt. I would have preferred a scathing review to the placid temperature of the three star review. Intellectually I get that my writing isn’t for everyone, but between love and hate the color drains away. It is easy to forget that it is only my heart on the page, my stories of coming unglued, of forgetting how to breathe.

But, life is a coin. Tarnished in some places, sparkling in others. It is sadness and joy passed through fingers, dropped and forgotten, discovered and cherished, held tightly against your palm. Life is the shadow and the light, the dream come true and the longing that is shattered. I am not unscathed. I don’t want to be. I sit in the center of what hurts, because I know that is where joy also lives. Sometimes I need to come unglued, so I can remember how to breathe.

A Vibrant Whirlwind

I feel as if I am caught up in a vibrant whirlwind, a state of elation and disbelief. To have my words out in the world, to see my book in the hands of people I care about, is a life long dream come true. I will never be able to adequately thank River for helping my dream become a reality.

Yesterday was such an exciting day for me. My book was officially released and I did my first ever poetry reading. If you didn’t have a chance to join me for the reading yesterday and would like to have a peek, here is the video.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=653076411957024

Book Launch and Poetry Reading

I know that Tuesday will be here sooner than I can imagine, that I will be holding a copy of my book in my hands, reading poems from it’s pages, still feeling as if it is all happening to someone else.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer and/or one of Charlie’s Angels. It seemed like having my books in the shop windows and catching bad guys, would make a pretty rock and roll kind of life. The Angel thing really didn’t pan out, but the dream of being a writer and having a book published is one that I have been working toward for a lifetime. It is a dream that, at 51, I am seeing come to life. I don’t forget for one second how lucky I am, how all of the love and support and encouragement I have received has made this dream possible.

I hope that you will all be able to pop by my Book Launch/Reading, which will be my very first ever book launch and reading, so please be gentle! Here are some links:

The reading will be streamed through my Author Page on Facebook. 


You can buy a copy of my book on Amazon 


I will also be selling signed copies through my website 

My endless thanks goes out to River Dixon, a brilliant writer and publisher, a man who makes dreams come true!!!!

Darkness and Light and “Things My Mother Left Behind”

In just 6 days, my debut poetry collection, “Things My Mother Left Behind”, (from Potter’s Grove Press), will be officially out in the world. My heart and mind, my secrets and fears, will be in the hands of friends, and maybe even a few strangers, and I will have the immense good fortune of living through the fruition of a life long dream. For me, it is a light in these dark times that gives me immeasurable hope and joy, and somehow, it feels appropriate that my first book is coming out during a time that has been punctuated by loss and sorrow, as so much of my work explores these themes.

I believe that without the darkness, there can be no light, and the light that permeates darkness is one that shines more brilliantly, offering the most sustenance. As the light of a dream come true shines into my life, I am led into spaces of reflection. I am missing those I have lost, hoping they would be proud of me. I am grateful for the love I know and have known in my 51 years. I am grateful to have been given the gift of time and language.

My greatest hope is that my book will be read and that my words will offer comfort, clarity, a sense that we are not alone, maybe even a new way of seeing. For whoever reads my book, I hope that something in it resonates, that the words find a place in the darkness, and in peoples hearts.

“Things My Mother Left Behind” will be available through Amazon on July 14. I will also be selling signed copies through my website, and I will be doing a live reading via Facebook on July 14 @5pm PST. I hope you will pop by the reading. Links and more info to follow in the next couple of days.

As ever, my gratitude for this incredible creative community is overflowing. I am humbled every time I come here, by the heart, the talent, the support and the encouragement of all the amazing writers I have come to know.

Stress Fracture

I am thrilled see my poem,” Stress Fracture“, published today in Literati Magazine. My huge thanks to publisher Renée Sigel!!!

Just Over a Month

I can’t believe it, but my book will be released in just over a month. Honestly, I still can’t believe I have a book coming out. I can’t believe I even wrote a book. You get the picture. Disbelief.

On July 14, “Things My Mother Left Behind” will be available in ebook and paperback from Amazon, and I will be selling signed copies through my website. If you think you might be interested in a signed copy, please let me know. You can also still pre-order the ebook for just $2.99

I will be doing a few live virtual readings via Facebook and my YouTube channel, sometime after July 14. Details to come.

As ever, I want to thank my publisher, River Dixon, founder of Potter’s Grove Press. He an incredible writer who also makes dreams come true for people like me!

The amazing video is all the work of my husband, Joe, including new comments from Tanya Klein, aka. The Incurable Dreamer.

I have gotten so much love and support about this book and I am very grateful!

Stiff Trigger

My latest recorded poem is up on YouTube. It is the third of six poems originally published in Chanterelle’s Notebook. Kendal Bell, editor of Chantarell’s Notebook, chose to nominate this poem for a Best of the Net award, which was a huge honor.

All of the credit for visuals goes to my amazing husband Joe Richardson!


Chantarelle’s Notebook

I have been absent, from here, from my life and my writing. For now, breathing is about the best I can do and poetry is the only thing I have to share.

I haven’t written or submitted much at all this year, so I am thrilled to have 2 poems in Chantarelle’s Notebook today. If you would like, you can read them here.

Feet of Clay

The next poem in my recorded poetry series is another one from Wildflower Muse, published it 2016.  It is called, “Feet of Clay” and can be read here, if you’d like to read it.

If you are interested in listening to more poems, you can subscribe to my YouTube here.

 

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