Monday, November 05, 2007

An extraordinary woman writes about her extraordinary experiences..and her book is reviewed by another extraordinary woman!

My introduction: Quite a few years ago, I met Laura Fogg in front of a bakery in my hometown. Laura lives in Ukiah, California, 60 miles north of me. She, too, was interested in whitewater kayaking.

We never went kayaking together, but a year or so ago I joined my political ally and close friend, Janie Sheppard,* for hikes in the hills outside of Ukiah, and Laura was in the group that takes hikes together every week-end.

Slowly I learned about Laura’s many talents. She quilts. She designed and tiled her shower, creating an incredible Venus rising out of a shell. She rode her bike to the August 14th Mendocino County Board of Supervisors impeachment public hearing. An extraordinary woman.

Last week Janie contacted me about her review of Laura’s new book, Traveling Blind: Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers. My first thought: Laura writes books in addition to all her other creative activities? My second thought: I want to post Janie’s book review. On September 7th, I posted Janie’s review of a book about an Israeli and Palestinian. Janie is also a gifted writer, another extraordinary woman.

Janie’s introduction: “Upfront disclosure: the author of this wonderful book is a good friend. That said, I will tell you a bit about what I learned about Laura, her profession, and her students. I don’t know what I expected, but I couldn’t put down the book. I became engrossed in the stories.

“Laura is a mobility instructor, meaning that she teaches children who are missing one or more senses how to get around in the world: How to walk around town with a cane, how to order a meal, how to shop, and, perhaps most important, how to have friends. I had never heard of a mobility instructor before meeting Laura. Now, having read her book, I am an advocate for such instructors. Below are some excerpts to give you inklings of what to expect.”

The book: Janie selects three vignettes: Nicole, a blind infant; Forrest, who contracted meningitis and only lived three years; and Michelle, who lost her vision gradually and was terminally ill. In her book, Laura lamented, “I still had to get up in the morning and take a shower and go to work and cook meals for my own children, even though Michelle was dying.”

Janie ends her review with a reference to Laura’s own close call with death. “I won’t reveal how this happened, but you will learn how she comes to relate her own experience to Michelle’s dying and how she comes to learn perhaps the hardest lesson, that her sorrow for Michelle was more for her own spirit, really her own ego. This book is nothing if not brutally honest….[T]his is a book for anyone who wants to dig deeply into the human spirit in its many manifestations.”

Janie’s review is posted at Medusa Muse, the publisher, has a thumbnail sketch of Laura and short review of Traveling Blind here.

* Janie has either been my guest blogger or the subject of my post here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

(photos of Traveling Blind and Laura: Medusa's Muse)

1 comment:

terena said...

Thank you for spreading the word about Laura's book. It really is a remarkable piece I am proud to have published.