Wednesday, November 30, 2011

re-posted blog post from Jan Andrews about my storytelling show.

Flying in the Dark's initial run is over but the accolades continue to come in. We gathered comments, as we always do, after the shows but Kim is still getting emails and so are we. Everyone is entranced with how she opened and closed by telling in the darkness, adding to the immediacy of her experience; how she carried us into her landscape so we too in our own ways could live it -- a landscape of sights and sounds and scents and textures that is rich and full. Everyone is intensely moved by her honesty in the second half where she allowed us to see not just her strength but her vulnerability; where she -- a daily blogger of Great Things About Being Blind, known for her humour and positiveness -- allowed us to enter into the other side of her world.

No one will ever know how hard this was for her. If I have learnt anything from all of this it is that living with disability means you have to prove your ability, over and over on a daily basis; you have to keep demonstrating how good your days are; always and always you may find yourself faced with the voices of pity, the voices that imply you are not just disabled but incompetent, the voices that seek to undermine. You can't afford to admit that you have weaknesses; you are pushed to appear almost super-human, even though you may do that with a laugh.

I didn't feel I could put this before but now it seems fitting to let it be known that she was wrestling with words and shapes and images almost until the last. In this, she showed incredible artistic commitment, always coming back for more. One of our sessions left both of us shaken to the core. We had thought it was "all right" and suddenly it wasn't. Neither of us knew what to do but still she hung in.

The work was hers and what she finally crafted -- in its simplicity, its grace, its laughter and its poetry -- had nothing to do with impositions from outside. Having said that, I would note that the work Jennifer and I did with her was what opened the doors. I would also say this depth of work is rare but when I see what Kim achieved I am yet more convinced that storytelling must have more of it if the art form is to keep on reaching out to listeners and so grow.

I'm going to finish with some quotes from Flying in the Dark's admirers. Before I do that, I would also point out that this is a show which has legs. It can travel. It could come to you if you would book it. Just get in touch with 2wp at

On to the quotes:

"A very moving performance, exceptionally honest."

"Kim, now I have the opportunity to tell you again how much I enjoyed your storytelling last Saturday night

in Perth. When the lights dimmed and faded away, and your voice came out of the darkness as a small child, full of wonder and joie de vivre, I was enchanted, and I am pretty sure the rest of the audience was too."

"Kim is a great story teller - gentle and vulnerable one moment then funny and raging the next. She had me gripped from the first moment."

"In the second half you showed your adult self, the struggles that I share with you and the courage that you have and I have and that makes us equals. I was able to stop thinking of you as "the remarkable blind woman" and start learning skills from a remarkable, but at times insecure just-like-me woman."

"Story telling is such a lost art - who knew it was alive and well in Ontario until you two came along? And, do you know what? It's just the same as being a child and listening with that tremendous focus, totally enchanted, totally in thrall, hearing nothing else, knowing nothing else."

"Thank-you, Kim, for that wonderful, funny, thoughtful, profound and totally entertaining show."

Great things about being blind. Still receiving great comments on my show.

I am still receiving lots of great comments about my storytelling show.  Thank you to all who came and listened and commented.  You are all wonderful!  In another post, I am going to re-post a blog entry from Jan Andrews of two women productions who produced and assisted with the creation of the show.  It was such a pleasure to perform and I hope I get to perform it again and again and again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great things about being blind. Listening to the breathing of my dog.

I am in the midst of several work commitments and I woke up in the night a little anxious about alle to do. As I lay there, I heard my guide dog Tulia at the foot of my bed. Breathing deeply and regularly in her sleep. Snoring with a calm rumbling bass sound. And then periodically, a long contented sigh! Listening to the calm noises of my sleeping dog, I felt much calmer too. Then she started dreaming. Tulia is one of the happiest dogs I've ever met. she started wagging furiously and then making those little barks that sound like she's under water. furious running of the feet I heard them clicking against the wall. Then another long sigh and back to quiet sleep and somehow I went back to sleep too. Thank you tulia

Monday, November 28, 2011

Great things about being blind. Wonderful descriptions.

Over the past few weeks, I've learned a lot of things. I learned how you set off fireworks and what they might look like. I didn't set any off. I just had a conversation about them. I learned how long and what shape an otter is. I learned a little about the colour and quality of candle flames. Of course, I haven't seen any of these things but I love hearing the descriptions and knowing a little more about those things that are visual.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Great things about being blind. Hearing your audience.

There were 81 people at my show last night. I am so grateful to all of them. To all of the audiences I've had in the last couple of weekends. I loved hearing their responses. A chuckle, a sniffle, a full out laugh! A snort of indignation. A gasp. A giggle. The quiet of listening. The applause. The warm hugs and greetings afterwards. It has been quite a journey and I couldn't have done it without all of you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Great things about being blind. Interview and one more show!

Another show tonight. The third in a series. I will miss it. Am sad to finish in a way and hope that I can do many more performances of it. If anyone is interested in a show or house concert wherever you are, get in touch. The show is getting very good reviews. Being interviewed on cbc radio this morning 91.5 Ottawa. You can find it later on line and I will post the mp3 when I get it. Thanks to all for all of your ongoing support.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Great things about being blind. Looking forward to my show tomorrow.

Last week at this time, I was pretty nervous about my one woman show. Now, I am a bit nervous but mostly excited and a little sad that the show will be over for now. Would love to travel with it. After much grief in its creation, I do love it very much. If anyone would like it in their community, let me know and we can try to arrange it. House concerts, or performances of any kind are most welcomed by me. On another note, I'm off in a few minutes to be interviewed by cbc radio for a program called in town and out in cbc radio in Ottawa. Will let everyone know what time it will be on. Tomorrow it will be on some time between 6 and 9 AM on November 26.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Great things about being blind. The fur coat adventure.

I promised this story in the blog a few weeks ago. I wrote a post a while back talking about shopping for clothes and how I couldn't wear clothes that I didn't like to touch. I promised a story then. Other blog entries came up and I forgot to tell it. So, here it is now. One time, I was clothes shopping with my mom. I was wandering down an aisle on my own and she was in another one. I was touching clothes on the racks. Sometimes I touch them and if I really like the feel of them, I call the sighted person over to look. Often, they say they are hideous but every now and then I find the perfect thing. I was just sliding my hands along the clothes and I found a really nice furry coat. Not real fur. I wouldn't wear real fur I don't think except for the dog fur that gets all over me regularly from my guides. But a nice soft smooth fake fur. I ran my hands over it some more. Suddenly, it moved. It jerked. It said, "What the hell are you doing?" It was a woman in a furry coat. I apologized and when she turned and found that I was blind, she laughed a lot about it. I didn't ask her for her coat.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Great things about being blind. Questions from kids.

We just got back from a day's work in a primary school. Four sessions of 45 minutes each to kids from grades 1 to 5. Lots of wonderful and well thought out questions. I so love doing storytelling and disability awareness in schools. It energizes me but I am pretty tired right now. Time to curl up with a good book and a wonderful Tulia and a cup of tea.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great things about being blind. Imagination.

On the weekend at one of my shows, got reacquainted with someone that I knew as a kid. She was a sort of guide for me getting to and from music camp when I was about 10 and she was 14 or so. For the next few summers, we spent time together when I was home alone and we did things together. She had a great imagination and she said how she remembered that we spent days at a time in other worlds. We recorded these radio play things and loved lord of the rings etc. Brings back great memories for me. Got me thinking about imagination. Since vision is the sense we all use the most (90 percent of what we learn is through our eyes) if someone is blind, they need to fill in gaps in their knowledge sometimes. They can ask questions. I do that a lot. And/or they can imagine things. I do that a lot too. So my imagination which is quite developed could have developed in part due to my blindness perhaps. However it developed, I am glad it is here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great things about being blind. Crunchy grass.

This is the coldest morning yet this season. I pulled out my winter coat for the very first time. When my guide dog and I went out and she stepped on the grass, I heard it crunch as she walked on it. The sun is beautiful though too but it is a chilly morning. Winter is coming.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great things about being blind. Performing my show.

We're back from our adventure. The first two performances of my one woman storytelling show "Flying in the Dark". It was so wonderful. Thanks to Jan and Jennifer of two women productions for their suppport and for the transportation, company, guidance, and humour. Thanks to all who came out and heard the show and supported me. Thanks to my mom for taking Tulia when I was on stage. The two shows were quite different as audiences were different and responded differently. I haven't listened to the recordings I made yet but am very happy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Great things about being blind. Multiple jobs of a guide dog.

The other day, we were talking to someone we know and found that he had just had to say goodbye to a beloved pet dog.  She was older but he was very upset about it.  He asked if he could pat Tulia.  Sometimes when you lose a beloved canine friend, you just need a dog fix.  And sometimes you really don't.  He did.  So off came the harness and Tulia obliged by being friendly, flopping on her back for a belly rub, wagging, etc.  I hope it helped.  She always cheers me up when I am sad.  She is such a happy little labby.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Great things about being blind. Using the brailler.

I used my old brailler the other day to braille programs for my show "Flying in the dark"  It is a heavy old large machine.  I got it when I was six.  I usually use my braille note taker or computer or accessible ipod touch these days but sometimes I still use the brailler.  It is very satisfying to braille things by hand.  It is noisy and heavy but dependable and works well.  I was slow at first but soon picked up speed.  I guess you never foget those skills you learned first when you were six.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Great things about being blind. Final rehearsal.

Yesterday, we had our final rehearsal for my first ever solo one woman show, "Flying in the dark"  I can't thank Jan and Jennifer of two women productions enough for believing in me and in the show.
Check out their page at
I was nervous before the rehearsal and still am a little but mostly now I am very excited.
Performing on November 18, 19, and 26 but happy to perform in other locations with this show.
I've never worked harder on a piece.  Thanks to Canada Council too for their financial support.
If I hadn't been blind, I wouldn't have created this particular show!  Here we go!  Flying!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great things about being blind. Riding the bus.

yesterday, Tulia and I went to make a video for a web site for the organization I work with bringing artists into the schools. I am one of their artists. Videos won't be up until the new year but see the link to their web site at the bottom of this post. It occurred to me as I traveled there, how much technology has helped me on these journeys. I got on the bus. The bus gives audio announcements for each stop so I didn't have to ask the driver where to get off. I could just listen and ring the bell like everyone else does. I didn't have to worry about if the driver might forget my stop. While on the bus, I called the office to ask if someone could meet me at the bus stop or watch for me at least. when I got off, they came and met me as it was a bit tricky to find the office and I hadn't been there in a long time. It was a much smoother journey for all of us with my cell phone and the audible bus announcements.MASC bringing artists into schools

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Great things about being blind. How blind people read traffic.

My guide dog and I were waiting to cross a street yesterday. The light was green when we arrived at the corner. I know this because traffic is going in the direction I want to walk. I hear it flowing along parallel to me. If I get to a corner and I hear that fresh surge of traffic meaning a green light, I direct my dog forward. If she sees some reason why we shouldn't cross, she will not move. but, if I get to the corner and I know the light is green but am not sure how long that has been the case, I wait for a fresh light. yesterday, someone said I could cross the street. I explained that I was waiting for a fresh light. Just as they said I could cross, the light turned red. Then all kinds of people still ran across. I actualy think blind peopleare more careful in traffic than sighted people. I always tell people that I'd rather wait one more minute at the curb to be sure than to cross unsafely and be gone. We are all in such a rush these days!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Great things about being blind. When guiding is your job.

Yesterday, tulia and I were walking along with a friend. Tulia was guiding me. My friend began commenting on what she was doing. guide dogs generally take us around things. Things in our path. We don't always know what things they are. Just that we are being taken around something. Tulia swerved around something. My friend said it was odd coloured pavement. Guess she thought it was dangerous. She did it again later and then took me all the way around a picture painted on the sidewalk. Viewed it as a dangerous obstacle I guess. She is so meticulous. She just had a grand run when she was not caring about me that much. Just sniffing and running and wagging. We worked on her recall and it improved as the walk went on though. She was loose and having a great time in the fenced in park.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Great things about being blind. choosing music for my one woman show.

As I prepare for my upcoming one woman shows in Peterborough, Wakefield, and Perth. See link at the end of this blog for details. There has to be background music playing before the show and during the intermission. At first, I was inclined to just let play whatever they had. I have been so busy with the show itself. But, I kept coming back to burning a cd. And so, this morning I chose. Bach preludes as the one in C minor is one of the first pieces I ever heard on the piano. Then the Mozart Clarinet concerto. One of the greatest clarinet pieces ever in my view. I loved playing it as a clarinetist and listening to it too. Then Beethoven. Piano sonatas especially the pathetique and the moonlight. I am learning the first movement of the moonlight right now but also Beethoven figures quite prominently in my show. I burned the cd and listened and felt the beauty of it. The power. Knowing it will steady my nerves and show me the beauty that is creating art. I am so glad I did it. Thank you Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. I love music with words too but it doesn't work so well for intermissions. One woman show link

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the creation process. Like climbing a mountain.

I've been fully immersed in my one woman show. It is being performed on November 18 19 and 26. See link for locations. I've been writing on my ipod, on my computer, on my braille note taker. I've been recording with my ipod, with my mp3 player. Storytellers do not read our material. We create stories to be told. I've been shaping, re-shaping, figuring out bits. Putting things in. Taking things out. Running the full show which is about 80 plus minutes of material. Over and over and over. Maybe now it is right. A little tweeking left and of course it always evolves as you perform it. Being blind has advantages for storytelling I think. I have a great memory. I have to. Can't look at street signs. Have to count blocks, remember where I turn left or right. How many doorways to pass to get to a room. good memory helps in storytelling. I am always immersed in words, language, the sounds of them. Good for storytelling. Onwards I go with this. It feels like a marathon run. The climb or a tall mountain. Hope the summit is marvellous!Two woman productions

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another full rehearsal of my one woman show.

One more full rehearsal of my show today. It is so interesting to see how it has progressed. The first full run through, we were very happy with the second half and not with the first half. The second run through, very happy with the first half and not the second half. I've made changes. Hopefully tightened things up a bit. So, hopefully today we will be happy with the whole. Rehearsing a show that is an hour and a half long takes time in itself. Wish me luck. Here's hoping it is great today. Only one week left until the first performance. See the link for more details on it.My show and two women productions

Great things about being blind. Moving around the house.

Someone asked me yesterday if I used my dog or cane to get around my own house. The answer is no. Once I am home, the dog is loose and she is no longer a guide dog. She is a dog. running around, playing, drinking water, sleeping in the sun. My cane is standing in a corner by the door. I move around. I know where things are. I don't count steps. I just know what is around me. They asked how long it took me to learn a new place. They asked six months? I'm glad they asked. six months? No. A week. Sometimes only a day. Depends on the place really and how much I move around it. If it is small, it may take only an hour or two. I'm so glad I get asked these questions.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Great things about being blind. My one woman show and tv.

I taped an interview yesterday with cbc television. It is for a show called Creative Block which will air some time next year. It is an hour long feature on an artist and they featured me, my storytelling, and my one woman show. We talked about disability arts too. They were wonderful, natural, and friendly and asked great and thought provoking questions. I loved talking to them and got paid for the story they recorded. Wonderful experience all round.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Great things about being blind. Playing the piano.

I played piano when I was a kid. I started when I was six and took lessons for the next eight years or so. Then, I quit to concentrate on other instruments. After a while, I played again at work when I was doing music therapy. but, I haven't played in ages very much. Just recently, my friend has begun giving me lessons and I am back to playing classical music again. It is so relaxing. The sounds, the chords, the choices of notes the great masters have. It is so relaxing and awe-inspiring. Like walking in nature perhaps. Maybe this is what it is like to view a masterful work of visual art.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Great things about being blind. Walking in leaves.

When I was little, we used to play in piles of leaves in the fall. Jump in them. Roll in them. I hear that their colours are beautiful but their sounds and smells and the feel of them is equally beautiful to me. when you walk in them, they swish. They crunch. They move. You can kick them and hear them skidding down a path. Walking in leaves makes you feel very powerful. Or it makes me feel that way. I love the smell too. Sharp smell that reminds me of fall. And to touch them. Rough and some of them crumble in your hands. It is a great pleasure. And a little sad to think a season is changing and soon it will be cold and icy and snowy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great things about being blind. Explaining the inaccessible.

I took a really great storytelling workshop with a wonderful storyteller yesterday. I learned a great deal. It was a wonderful day with a great group of storytellers. I am so grateful to have such wonderful friends. Whenever something was a little visual, they explained it to me without me having to ask. When I asked further questions, the workshop leader or my friends explained further. It is so great when people do this naturally and don't make you feel stupid or like you are taking too much of someone's time. What a wonderful feeling to be part of such an inclusive group and how great it is to always learn new things.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Great things about being blind. Getting a ride.

Yesterday, Tulia and I had a very busy day. We had to buy a gift, then went to the children's storytelling festival where I was performing. From there, I went to visit family for a birthday dinner. I was going to take a cab there but was offered a ride by a kind friend at the festival. It is so nice sometimes when these things work out. We had a great chat in the car and I arrived early safe and sound. Thanks for the kind assistance.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Performing today at the children's festival.

I am excited to be performing today at the children's festival. It is free admission for all. I am performing from 3-4. For ages about 8 and up. Stories of family and friendship.
Library and archives Canada at Wellington and Bay.
I'm in the auditorium.
Come and enjoy.

Great things about being blind. Listening to things at top speed.

On my ipod, I have the speech rate set to %100 so I can listen to things quickly.
Last night, I was going over stories for a performance today. Listening to the text of the stories.
I could skim quickly through to find what I needed.
Then, I listened to the recording of myself too.
It too, I sped up.
Like speed reading I guess. Speed listening and it really works.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Great things about being blind. The feel of material.

I've been shopping for clothes recently. To find something new when I perform my one woman storytelling show in a few weeks. My mom and her good friend are great clothes shoppers and love it. I let them find bargains and clothes that look good on me. But, I can't wear something I don't like the feel of ever ever ever. It could be the best looking thing but if the material feels awful to me, I won't wear it no matter what. I feel terrible in it. I've always liked soft, smooth feeling material. Velvety things, suade or very soft leather, soft cotton or wool. I don't like scratchy material or fake feeling material at all. When I go in a clothing store, I feel all along the racks and find clothes I like the feel of first. Then, I ask what they look like. Tomorrow, a story when this went very wrong.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

story creation. Mulling it over.

I've come to realize as I work on my one woman show, that there are all kinds of activities in the creation process. The crazy frantic writing and recording. The research. the editing and re-recording. In storytelling you have no notes. It is just you and the story. Then, there is the mulling. absorbing things. Thinking things through. I used to think I was being lazy or procrastinating when I was doing this. but it is equally important to the process. After some part of the creation, to step back and think things through. Allow other ideas to come forward.

Great things about being blind. Helpful construction worker.

The weather here is beautiful. Wonderful fall weather with lots of sun. yesterday, while out running errands, we came across construction. I've probably said this here before. Construction is hard and confusing for me. the loud noises make me lose my sense of direction sometimes and I can't hear what else is going on around me. Like other traffic. Sometimes the sites are not well barricaded and I get into the midst of a gravely mess. Guide dogs help with all of this but it still can be tricky. when I heard the noises ahead, I thought about going another way. I sometimes do this. I slowed down and listened. The machines stopped. I approached. The worker described to me in great detail what was going on, how far the construction lasted, how long they would probably be there. What a great help it was. He also didn't turn the machines back on until I had crossed the intersection and was further up the next block. Thank you whoever you are.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Several upcoming storytelling performances.

I have several upcoming storytelling performances. this saturday November 5 I am telling at the children's festival in Ottawa at library and archives Canada from 3-4. Stories of friendship for kids 8 and up and adults. Admission is free.
Storytelling with my one woman show, for details see
and look for flying in the dark.
Storytelling on the NAC Fourth stage for the christmas show 500 years of christmas.
December 15.
I'm always available to do school shows, shows for adults and seniors, and house concerts. To find out more, please contact me.

Great things about being blind. More halloween.

there were a few great things about trick or treating as a kid who was blind. I could wear any kind of mask or face covering and not worry that I couldn't see. I would get candy in my bag and wouldn't know what anyof it was until I got home and surprised myself by feeling it and smelling it and finding out. I could trick or treat in the dark with no problems and no getting lost.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Great things about being blind. Halloween adventure.

We didn't get to give out much candy last night. But, when the bell rang and the little kids came, it reminded me of a halloween adventure I had. I must have been about 9 or 10 years old. We were going all together around. A bunch of kids. We came out of one house after going in one door and out another. I knew we had been walking up hill but suddenly we seemed to be walking slightly downhill. I told the others we were going the wrong way. We were supposed to be going slightly up hill and we were going slightly downhill. They said no we weren't going the wrong way. We got to a house and rang the bell. The woman said, "What are you doing back here again? We've already given you candy." I was right. They had gotten turned around after coming out of the house. I was so proud of myself. It was dark. I knew where we were better than the others. they checked with me after that.