3 Dec 2013

Reach Out With Poss-ABILITY

Today is 3rd December 2013 - International Day for People with a 'Disability'.
The following interview was requested by Amanda Socci for her ‘Creative Gal’ blog – which I thought I would share with my readers in celebration of this special day!

“Any time we help create shared vision and strategy
we empower ourselves and others.” Anon

What inspired you to write about your vision-impaired perspective?

There are two main reasons why I write from my vision-impaired perspective. One is to dispel some of the myths sighted people have projected on to me in terms of what they think it is like to live with blindness. By writing from my vantage point, it is like opening a window and bringing a fresh outlook for them to consider. In this way, knowledge creates empathy and understanding for the whole community.

The second reason is a strategic one: as a writer seeking to carve a niche, my life experience provides plenty of scope to speak in the genre of memoir writing. I am also known to be an opportunist and gladly seize the day.

Has the loss of your sight at age 15 changed your perspective on life?

I think losing my sight during my teen years did make me more determined to reach for my goals and not to take on board the label of ‘disabled’.

Being placed into a category by society is  one of my continual challenges.
As sight fades I have learned to trust my inner vision – to trust my intuition and to trust in the goodness of others. When I have been openhearted with the world, my expectations of good come back to support me – my blindness brings kindness.

Your blog post “Kaleidoscope of Sound” is aromatic enchantment in an envelope ready for all to enjoy. How do sounds make you feel?

I can’t imagine being without the world of sound – it is my sanctuary. I began my early years thinking I would become a singer. I have taught children’s choirs and love singing in harmony.

 One of my roles these days is to help my partner, Harry, in his CD recording studio. My nick name is ‘big ears’ because I can pinpoint the slightest of errors that sighted people can’t hear until I point them out (a bonus for our musician clients).

Our spontaneous recording of a Kaleidoscope of sound’ (You Tube clip) is included here. The beauty is you can enjoy the mystical sounds Harry and I were inspired to sing from within the cave of a wine vault, the ancient stones of a castle perched on the Pyrenees and an empty sacred church in a French village.

You have invented many clever phrases on your blog. One I like a lot is blind tradie toolkit.” How do you come up with original phrases?

Coming up with a meaningful title or catchy headline is one of my creative passions.

I can spend hours, and even days, mulling over key words and can become obsessed to find the right sequence of words. I like playing with words too, and changing their order. Often this can create a title with a double meaning. If the title sparks a flame of excitement, like panning for gold, I polish the words a little more and soon discover the nugget I was searching for.

It is crucial to pay attention to the words of others in little phrases, quotes, lyrics – and candid conversations.

I collect words that spark my imagination, little gems that jump out as shiny and meaningful and I keep them on file.

The main point when choosing a title is that it must serve a purpose for the reader – how will they benefit by reading the story? The right words are like the golden  threads that adorn the story with intrigue. That is why I take time to weave my titles.

You define humor with a powerful definition that everyone should adhere to.


You also come to the conclusion that blindness is an attitude. This stuff is too good to fester quietly on a blog with little fanfare. Would you consider turning these nuggets of wisdom into bookmarks, greeting cards, book covers, journal designs, or the like?

I hadn’t thought of all those creative possibilities. That’s a great idea – the world needs to hold on to humour in difficult times.

Looking for the funny side when at times I can cry with embarrassment or frustration has become one of my most valuable tools in my “blind tradie tool kit”!

Being blind is an ongoing challenge, I don’t deny that but the attitude I choose on a daily basis is the point of power. I can accept the cards I have been dealt and enjoy playing in the game of life or throw down the cards and spoil the fun for everyone. The card I love to deal out the most is the joker card!

What do you teach? Do you work full-time? 

How do you manage to write for two blogs, teach, and care for your family?

I never sleep (only kidding). I used to work as a teaching artist and taught literacy through music by creating children’s choirs in two primary schools in Melbourne.

I am a bit of a butterfly though and seem to fly off to other creative projects as they attract my attention. So for the past few years, I have been devoted to learning the craft of writing and building my writer’s platform in the worldwide web of creatives.

I caught the blogging bug in 2011 and haven’t looked back. Sharing stories from a vision-impaired perspective is an opportunity for me to discover a wider landscape of readers...until I hear the call back to the real world. “Mum, I’m hungry.”

Drats. My family have had to cope with rushed meals and occasional take away dinners, a scarcity of clean socks, or a limited larder and at these times of housekeeping crises, I do have to balance my time and prioritise my family’s well-being over my desire to meet writing deadlines.

One last word for thanking you, Amanda. Being included in your creative circle of friends and followers is a real gift which I receive with gratitude.
Best wishes to all, Maribel

While writing this post, my laptop charger blew up…  where there is a will to write, there is always a way!
While writing this post, my laptop charger blew up…
where there is a will to write, there is always a way!

Tell us your Poss-Abilities, we'd love to hear from you

 For the full interview, please go to

Amanda Socci's Blog 

© 2013  Maribel Steel


Becky Andrews said...

Love this!! Thanks for sharing!! It isn't quite December 3rd here so I have time to write on this topic as well :).

Amanda Socci said...

What a privilege to have met you virtually, Maribel. Thank you so much for reaching out to me initially. I love these chance encounters in life that brings us new graces that were lacking. And thank you for answering the questions and sharing with your readers!

Brandon Hudson said...

Nice and quite informative post. I really look forward to your other posts.

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maribel steel said...

Hey thanks to you all, Becky - devoted follower, Amanda my #1 cheer leader and new reader, Brendan - thanks for all your comments, makes my day!
And to my other wonderful supporters who have been kind too, Amy, Stella, Jeff, Bee, Gal, Sarah - I love knowing you all are enjoying the polished gems I dig up from the river of life!
Maribel xx