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From True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy:

“My eldest sister, Rosemary, was twenty-three in 1941. Luminously pretty and round-faced, with a widow’s peak, dark brows, and a great smile that dimpled her cheeks, Rosemary was the one sibling with whom all the others were unfailingly gentle. Her affliction, diagnosed as mental retardation, left her struggling to comprehend things as quickly or as clearly as other people. She was a sweet and loving human being.

Rosemary enriched the humanity of all of us. Our sister Eunice seemed always to be near her, helping her through simple childhood games such as dodgeball, inviting her along and giving her assignments in sailing races. As she grew into adolescence, Rosemary knew she could count on Jack or Joe to escort her to dances at the Yacht Club at the Cape, or to the Stork Club in New York. I looked out for her too, when I could, although I was fourteen years younger–she was my godmother, after all. Dad wrote affectionate letters to her from abroad, and Mother actually altered her own handwriting from the swirling ‘fine Spencerian hand’ on which she’d prided herself, to a simpler style that imitated typographic print, so that Rosemary would have less trouble following it.

But in the fall of that year, our father, concerned that Rosemary’s condition would pose insurmountable dangers to her as an adult woman in the world, listened to doctors who assured him that a new form of neurosurgery would greatly benefit her and improve her quality of life. The doctors were wrong, the surgery further injured Rosie, and my parents were devastated. I, of course, knew and understood nothing of what had happened. Rosemary spent her remaining sixty-three years mostly in comfortable supervision at her home in a Catholic community in Wisconsin. Over the years, through her regular visits to Eunice’s home or her summer days on Cape Cod or wintertime in Florida or Thanksgiving at Jean’s, Rosemary remained a loving and inspirational presence in our family, not just for her siblings, but for the next generations as well.” (pp. 25-6)

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hat tip: Ms. CripChick:

I read about this project a while ago, and am psyched that it’s still going forward. So, get submittin’!

What the Hell is a Radical Woman of Color?
Real Stories by Radical Women of Color and Allies
An Anthology

Contact: info@adelenieves.com
Deadline: Wednesday, November 9, 2008 (see the editor’s comment)

Format, topic ideas, and payment/project agreement below the cut.

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When I was 17, I made a website I did it because, at the time, a lot of information about my diagnosis was in jargon-filled textbooks for neuropsychologists. Parsing it all really sucks–especially when you’re, like, 14 years old–and I wanted to explain some of this information in clearer language. I also wanted to explain exactly what my skillset is. (For some reason, people in my real life are totally stymied by it, and I don’t know why. It’s always made perfect sense to me). But more than that, I wanted a space where other people with this diagnosis and their families could find each other. I wanted to meet people like me.

A lot of people stopped by. I learned how silly it was to expect people with my diagnosis to be “like me” and I made a ton of friends. I enjoyed meeting other NLDers and their parents. But slowly, very slowly, some of the comments I got started to weird me out:

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Reading Rebellion

I used to read books all the time. As a kid I’d cycle between two or three books at once, and would always read something before falling asleep. (In middle school my before-bed list was full of Stephen King novels).
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When I was seven years old, I was in love with, and terrified by, a movie called Dolls. Its director, Stuart Gordon, was famous for his film adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories–including the cult classic The Re-Animator, which would’ve made Lovecraft himself projectile-vomit–and would later switch gears entirely with Disney’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In Dolls, these career paths converge: it’s as magical as Peter Pan and as violent as Friday the 13th.

What does some movie about angry dolls have to do with Nancy Russell Burger’s book about raising an NLD child? Dolls isn’t a terrible film, but it doesn’t fit its own format very well–it’s too childish for grownups, and too gory for kids. And A Special Kind of Brain isn’t a bad book by any means. But it’s neither the “how to parent an NLDer” book it claims to be, nor the memoir it probably should’ve been.

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