8 Jan 2017

A New Adventure with Vision

Vision isn’t enough unless combined with venture –It’s not enough to stare up the steps Unless we also step up the stairs.Vance Hayner 

Gateway Readers – I have exciting news!

You may have thought I’ve been a little absent on the blogging front but to the contrary – I’ve been creating exciting new possibilities behind the scenes (with the maestro, Harry) that

I can share with you now.

There is a brand new portal where you can venture to and be kept up to date with ALL my articles, blog posts and words of advice – on mastering the ART of being blind and on the craft of writing.

I am grateful to my friend and designer, Bee Williamson who helped me to set up this blog with its many articles that llaunched my writing career back in 2011...and now we have come to the edge to a new horizon where I offer my hand of friendship to continue the journey together.

Come Follow

When you subscribe to maribelsteel.com

You will find an ever growing collection of:

  • AUDIO stories & VIDEO clips
  • ‘How to’ posts for people who are new to vision loss
  • Memoir stories on being vision-impaired, writing and other heartfelt anecdotes
  • Travel Stories 
  • Writing Tips – links and strategies on the theme of being a writer with your creative muse
  • And much more as we get crafting...

So...are you ready to step up the stairs with me in 2017?

Come on over to Maribelsteel.com and take a look around.

If you like what we have to offer, I warmly invite you to subscribe today!

Let’s give my webmaster a real surprise by endorsing his work too!

My appreciation for your continued readership, see you at the ‘new gateway’

Maribel xox

It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. Kojiro Tomita

© Copyright 2017 Maribel Steel

Photography © Copyright 2017 Harry Williamson

31 Mar 2016

I Need To Learn Braille Better

Dear Gateway readers, it gives me great pleasure to share the following account by my writer friend and RP colleague, Jeff Floddin who is based in Chicargo. 

Even though we have only met across Cyberspace, one lovely gift that RP has brought into my life at least,  is the sharing of our stories: the good, the bad and the sometimes outrageously funny incidents that can catch us off guard with having such an eye condition.

Jeff’s reflections of how he adapts to losing his eyesight are like little gems of wisdom: his stories often move me and catch me off guard too. As we approach April 1st, I couldn’t think of a more fitting (and true) story that is bound to tickle your funny bone!.

We get on the elevator, Sherlock and me.  Sherlock is my guide dog.
We’re at the third floor of five.  We want to go down to the first floor.
The door slides shut.  Nothing happens.

I press the bottom button.  The door slides open.
“I need to learn Braille better,” I tell Sherlock.

I run my fingertips along the wall.  I think I find the Braille for number 1.
I press the button next to it.  The elevator goes up.
“I need to learn Braille better,” I tell Sherlock.

I stand tall and the buttons sit low.  It’s hard to read Braille with my finger upside down, so I drop to all fours.  Sherlock thinks it’s playtime.

He puts his elbows on my back and stands on his hind legs.
Then, God bless him, he begins to hump me.  He has assumed the Southwestern Sidewinder position. 

While I’m thinking how I need to learn Braille better, I say to Sherlock, “Get off my back.”
The elevator stops and the door opens.
A woman gasps.  I crawl forward.  She steps backward.

I ask, “Can you help me?”
But I hear her heels run away from me, down the hallway.
The door closes.  Sherlock dismounts

I press another button.  The alarm sounds.  I press the button above that one.
The elevator goes down.  “This is security,” booms a big voice from a small speaker.    “What is your problem?”

I scramble to my feet, stand tall, remain mute and pat Sherlock’s head.
The door opens.  We’re at the first floor.

I command, “Sherlock, forward!”
The crowd parts.  We stride across the marble floor.  We project nonchalance. 
I can tell what the people are thinking.
They’re thinking, “Look at that self-assured blind man and his well-trained guide dog.”

“This is security.” That voice again.
We keep walking.  The voice gets far away.  “What is your problem?”

“Problem?” I ask Sherlock.
“What problem?  I just need to learn Braille better, that’s all.” 
NOTE:  Sherlock was Jeff’s Seeing Eye dog from 2003 to 2010.  A version of this story was published in Kaleidoscope magazine in 2012. 
It also appeared on JalapeƱos in the Oatmeal: Digesting Vision Loss by Jeff Flodin (March 16 2016).

About Jeff Floddin:
Jeff was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 35.  His vision loss did not prevent him from moving around the country as he has lived in Rockford, Tempe, Philadelphia and Chicago. 

 Jeff received his Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Lake Forest College.  He then earned a Master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University.  He worked in the social work field for 25 years.

Jeff wrote his first story in first grade and writing has been his primary vocation for ten years.  He is currently working on a short story collection about vision loss.  Jeff has completed two books, as of yet unpublished. His stories have appeared in “The Rockford Review” and his letters in “ChicagoTribune.” 

Read more of Jeff’s stories at:https://jalapenosintheoatmeal.wordpress.com/

25 Nov 2015

What You Can Do with Time & Under Pressure

using time and pressure. He’s working on you, too!”
Rick Warren

Over the past few months, I have seen what I am capable of achieving with time and under pressure, some would call this working to a strict deadline.

My dear Gateway blog has taken a back seat as I have been furiously pumping out another  20 articles for the blindness.about.com site!

So…for those who might like an update, here are the 7 most popular posts to date.

And…there is one more bonus I just have to share with you.
A community event I designed that took place on November 8th 2015 called
Click on the link above to see all the magic of this awesome day.
Who knows, we could be coming to a city near you too!

Would be great to know what you have been doing with time and under pressure too…please leave your comments!

My deep thanks to my partner and tech wizard Harry Williamson, for film footage and for his tireless energy to produce our Youtube clip.

Copyright © Maribel Steel 2015

13 Sep 2015

Something Happened on the Way to My Future

“The best dreams happen when you’re awake.”
Cherie Gilderbloom

There has been a little less activity here at the Gateway over the past couple of months – and would you like to know why?
Something happened on the way to my future!

Over the past fifteen months or so, I’ve been writing posts as a peer advisor for VisionAware, a branch of the American Foundation for the Blind, and loving it. With a wonderful group of peers, we contribute helpful articles on many topics relating to living with being blind or visually-impaired.

So there I was, typing away on one of my posts when, I received an amazing invitation in an email from New York!

A recruitment scout from About.com – a Top ranking online network website was in the first phase of their redesign effort and this person was asking me to come aboard to write for them on the topic of vision loss.

At first, I had to reread the email three times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming and the offer was legitimate and not a spam letter. Then when I realised it was a genuine offer and a brilliant opportunity to expand my skills as a writer – I got straight down to writing up a list of articles I could offer (after doing a merry-dance all around the house with joy!).

Many More Posts per Month

Having begun in August, I am writing 6 posts per month on the NEW network, blindness.about.com, so I’ll be sharing the links here to recent articles as well as some of my pieces for VisionAware.

Gateway readers, it is my delight to share with you the first batch of posts…

How to See Blindness as a Word and Not a Sentence

Taking Charge as CEO of Your Life

5 Ways to Avoid Daily Chaos

How to Create a Successful Double Act with a Sighted Assistant

How Do You Cook for Your Family when You Can’t See

Cooking is a Sensory Affair

And for those who would like to celebrate our loyal guide dogs, head over to VisionAware to read my tribute to Run Melbourne: a Walk in the Park with our Guide Dogs

Thanks all – do write a comment here if you have a topic you would like to see covered in upcoming posts…go well, flow well…may something wonderful happen on the way to your future too…

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” Eckhart Tolle

My heartfelt thanks to my partner who has taken on the complexities of being the web-master behind the scenes to deal patiently with tasks required to make all this possible

– Harry Williamson, please stand up and take a bow, you’re a legend!