A Different Way Of Seeing

Makhanda: And what About the Books?

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I was preparing for our first Blind Date Show when my phone pinged to let me know I had a voice message. It was from Paul, a Capetonian colleague, who told me he’d just seen my books in an art exhibition in Makhanda.

And yes, while all the excitement of the Blind Date Concert was happening, my books weren’t forgotten. They were having an adventure of their own!

I’ve mentioned before that the Blind Date Show was part of the 100th year celebration of the SA Library for the Blind. Apart from the show, they also decided to put on an exhibition of creative art works created by blind and visually impaired artists from South Africa. And I was honoured to have been asked to allow my books to be part of that exhibition.

Here’s a photo of the exhibit where my books were displayed – both A Different Way of Seeing and The Adventures of Missy Mouse.

With thanks to Craig Strachan for the photograph, and to Francois Hendrikz of SA Library for the Blind and Catherine Baron, of Inkanyezi Events, for inviting me to be part of both the show and the exhibition.
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At Long Last!

There have been times that it’s felt like the never-ending story, but I’ve finally finished the first draft of the update to my book, A Different Way of Seeing. In fact, I’ve even spell checked it.

So, what’s the next step towards getting it released as an audio book, you may ask?

Finishing the first draft may sound like a huge milestone, but the truth is that I still have quite a way to travel with this project.

After all, I haven’t even read the entire manuscript myself and know I’ll make considerable changes before I’m even vaguely happy with it. Then I want to get input from a few people, both those who have already read A Different Way of Seeing, and those who have not. And update the manuscript according to the feedback I receive from them. And only then will I take it to a professional editor.

Only then can I start the process of getting it converted into an audio format. Like I said, there’s still lots of work to be done. But at least I’ve completed this step…

For those of you who’ve been waiting for me to share some of my experiences at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda, I’ll be getting there soon, I promise…

It’s about Time I Updated You

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It’s an embarrassingly long time since I updated you on my project to convert my memoir, A Different Way of Seeing, into an audio book. Which isn’t to say there’s nothing to report. It’s just that I haven’t got around to blogging about it.

Till now.

Admittedly, when I started the project in December 2018 I expected it to be a quick task. But, what with one thing and another, I’m still working on it.

When I went to India, I found time to make notes on what needed to be updated. I honestly expected to have a page or so on each chapter. To my surprise, my notes were 22 pages!

Right now I’m creating the first draft of the content for the update. I’ve completed 8 chapters so far, with 3 to go. And I’m on about 25 000 words.

Once I’ve finished the first draft, I’ll do an initial edit myself and then pass it on to a professional editor for them to do their magic.

And then I’ll start looking at the recording of the updated manuscript – both the original content from A Different Way of Seeing, and the updates, which I’ve taken to calling Filling in the Blind Spots.

I promise I’ll try to be better about letting you know how the project’s coming along…

Smile FM Interview

Let’s take a short break from the heat of Kolkata and return briefly to Cape Town…

Here’s a recent interview I did with Andre du Toit, the Big Positive Guy on Smile FM. The interview was broadcast on the Honest Truth Show with Benito Vergotine shortly before I left for India.

Hope you enjoy it.

Next time we’ll be returning to India for a cricket match… or maybe a rock concert. You’ll have to join us next time to find out which it was.

The SAFM Disability Report with Karen Key

Fiji and I had great fun going to the SABC in Cape Town to be interviewed for the Disability Report on SAFM. You can hear the interview with Karen Key here.

I was very impressed with how quietly Fiji sat while Karen and I were talking – I doubt you’ll hear even a clink of her doggy tags despite the fact we were in a soundproofed recording studio with ambient microphones.

Imagine how startled I was to discover that Karen’s mother had heard me speak and had bought a copy of my book, “A Different Way of Seeing mere weeks before the interview – it really is a very small world!

Hope you enjoy listening to the interview… I’ll share more audio and video recordings in a few weeks

You Have to be Kidding – Me Doing Tech?

The other day I was finishing off editing a recording I’d made of one of my presentations when I stopped dead in my tracks and realized what I was doing. Now, that may not be a shocking statement to you, but try to see it from my perspective. I… was editing…. A recording…. I had made – me, the woman who revealed in her book, “A Different Way of Seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way”, that she had a love-hate relationship with technology and was secretly terrified of breaking the internet… editing a voice recording of a speech totally without sighted help – wow!

I’m not saying I’ve suddenly become a total wizard at technology. Nor am I claiming to have the (to me) remarkable skills that some of my blind friends who are web developers, podcasters, musicians, and assistive technology trainers do… but I feel justified in feeling a little bit proud of my ability to keep learning and growing my skills.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share some of my recordings with you – a few of my speeches and a few radio interviews. Some of those I’ll share will be ones I’ve edited and others will come from other sources.

I hope you enjoy them!

Such a Great Feeling!

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It’s always such a great feeling to read a review of one’s work – especially if it’s positive! Below is a link to a review of my book “A Different Way of seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way by fellow speaker and member of my MasterMind group, Charlotte Kemp:

http://charlottekemp.co.za/resources/different-way-seeing-lois-strachan/

Thanks so much for the review, Charlotte!

Look Who’s in the Cape Times!

I was really excited to have an article about my recent Toastmasters award published on page 3 of the
Cape Times newspaper on 18 July, 2017.

Here’s a photo of the article.

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And for those who can’t see the photo… or would prefer to read it online, here’s the link to the article:

Book Launch feedback

Lois book launchHere’s a photo from my recent presentation and book launch in Cape Town, taken by speaking colleague Charlotte Kemp.

As often happens, there were some parts of the event that I was thrilled with and a few that perhaps didn’t go quite as planned. One of the things I’ve learned is that it is from the areas we want to do better that we learn the most. So, here is my brief overview of my favourite parts of the event and what I’ve learned to do better.

I would have loved for more people to have been there. Well, who doesn’t want more people to be at an event where they’re speaking? Of course, using a workday lunchtime event to launch my book was probably not the brightest move I could have made. So, I’ve decided I’d like to hold another book launch – this time in the evening so I can enable more people to attend.

Having said that, there were amazing people there and I loved the diversity and creativity of the questions I was asked after I spoke. I always love the Q&A time I try to build into every speaking event because that gives me the chance to find out what people want to know about living without sight. It’s one of my favourite ways of demystifying blindness to an ever increasing number of people.

I also really appreciated that the venue gave me not only the opportunity to create a video of my presentation, but also arranged a professional sound engineer to assist so the video would have a good quality sound track. That was an unexpected bonus!

You may be wondering what learnings I took away to help my growth as a speaker. First, I realized it was difficult for me to identify where the people asking questions were sitting. Because they were using a roving microphone it sounded to me like everyone was sitting right next to me at the front of the room – that’s where the sound was coming from. What I learned is that I need to develop a more effective way of identifying where people are during a Q&A so I can look directly at them rather than facing the speakers.

Another area I need to figure out better is how to make people more comfortable with my blindness, and especially my sense of humour when talking about my blindness. I share several funny personal stories about living without sight when I speak. I know and understand that people who don’t know me may feel uncomfortable about laughing at these stories in case they come across as insensitive or politically incorrect. So I need to find a way to minimize that discomfort as I strive to demystify blindness.

Every experience is an opportunity for me to learn new techniques to become a better speaker and writer. With that in mind, I can honestly say that the presentation and book launch were immensely valuable … even if I would have liked more people to have been there!

You’re Invited – Launch of My Book on 20 April

I’m thrilled to announce the details of the launch for my new book,
“A Different Way of Seeing – A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way”

The launch will take place at lunchtime on 20 April 2017 at Kelvin Grove.

More details about the event and how to book are in the below poster. Please feel free to share this event with whomever you feel would be interested – it would be wonderful to have a room filled with friends and family!

KG

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