Thursday, January 18, 2007
Are You On The Fence?
Mark Drolsbaugh, author of Deaf Again and Anything But Silent has written a new book: On The Fence: The Hidden World of the Hard of Hearing.
The stories (I have contributed mine in this book) and poems contributed by thirty-seven writers show a variety of experiences including what it is like to be "on the fence"--between people who are cuturally Deaf and people with normal hearing.
"Living with even just a little hearing loss," writes Mark in the book, "is without a doubt one of the most invisible, forgotten, isolating, and misunderstood life experiences which humans can go through. It is as if life slams a glass door in the face of hard of hearing people, putting them in a situation where they can see life happening around them but have little chance to participate."
I experienced my own "on the fence" period when I first transferred to Northern Illinois University. I grew up hard of hearing, with no knowledge of American Sign Language or contact with the deaf community. The summer before I transferred, I became profoundly deaf. At Northern, I was surrounded by many students who were deaf and hard of hearing and began to learn ASL. So for a while there, I tried to figure out who I was and where I fit in.
Today, some people percieve me as being "on the fence" as a hard of hearing person. Some say I'm deaf, others say I'm Deaf. It's a matter of perspective and where the person is coming from.
The way I see it, everyone without hearing in the normal range is in this together. Diversity is a good thing.
So grab your copy of On The Fence here and check out the variety of perspectives and stories.