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For those of you who have not yet made my acquaintance, my name is Annette Siketa, and I am totally blind. Were you aware that most blind and visually impaired people are extraordinarily perceptive? To sighted people, this ability must seem like ESP, and I suppose to a certain extent, it is. (I'm referring to the literal meaning of Extra Sensory Perception, not the spooky interpretation.) To compensate for the lack of vision, the brain and the other four senses become sharper, so that we can discern a smell or the identity of an object. I promise you there's no trickery involved. It's simply a matter of adapting the body to ‘think’ in another way.
Being blind is no barrier to creativity. Like most things in this world, life is what you make of it, and after losing my sight due to an eye operation that went terribly wrong, I became a writer, and have now produced a wide variety of books and short stories, primarily of the ghost/supernatural/things that go bump in the night genre.
So, how does a blind person write a book? On the practical side, I use a text-to-speech program called ‘Jaws’, which enables me to use and navigate around a computer, including the Internet, with considerable ease. Information on Jaws can be found at www.freedomscientific.com
On the creative side…well, that’s a little more difficult to explain. Try this experiment. Put on your favourite movie and watch it blindfolded. As you already ‘know’ the movie – who does what where & when etc, your mind compensates for the lack of visualisation by filling in the ‘blanks’. Now try it with something you’ve never seen before, even the six o'clock news. Not so easy to fill in the blanks now is it?
By this point you’re probably going bonkers with frustration – hee hee, welcome to my world! Do not remove the blindfold. Instead, allow your imagination to compensate for the lack of visualization, and this will give you an idea of how I create my stories. Oh, if only Steven Spielberg could read my mind.