One of the projects I am currently working on is a narrative non-fiction about the loss of my vision. Even though it is taking me much longer to complete than Iâ€™d anticipated, itâ€™s nearly complete. Echo of a Raven takes me back to some of the darkest hours of my life. People often ask me why I write in two such very different genresâ€”inspiration and suspense. Elementary, my dear. I have been through so much in my life, I feel it is part of my mission to reach out to those in need of hope. If not for reaching out in my darkest hour, I would not be here today. And when I feel shall we say less than inspirational, why I just go out and murder someone in the wonderful world of fiction. LOL
I plan on donating a portion of this book to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) fight for a cure. If I can prevent one child from living in fear of losing his or her vision the way I did, Echo of a Raven will be a smashing success. Here is a little about my book.
An autobiography is a personâ€™s account of his or her own life. A narrative non-fiction is a retelling of a true story in which a series of events come to life on the page.Â And thatâ€™s precisely what happens in Echo of a Raven. Diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic at the age of six, a doctor at Childrenâ€™s Hospital predicted I would be blind by time I was twenty-five. His cruel words changed the entire course of my life, affecting every decision I made for years to come. His words haunted me. They consumed me. They devoured me. No matter where I was or what I was doing, the words echoed in my head. I was afraid to drive for fear Iâ€™d go blind and kill someone. I was afraid to get close to anyone for fear of rejection. I was always afraid. Yet no one knew my fears, not even my family or closest friends. I never discussed his venomous words because I thought if I said them aloud they would surely come true. And at the age of twenty-one when I had the initial bout of blindness, I went a little crazy. I had a fantastic job at the courthouse in the Family Division. I spent my weekends horseback riding and doing what I love mostâ€”painting. For the next two decades, I underwent countless operations where my vision came and went. It was an emotional roller coaster that tore me apart. With each passing year, I lost more and more vision, and more and more of my independence and dignity. And when I had the final operation, the outcome was total blindness, much to my shock and horror. Devastated and disillusioned, I enrolled in a sixteen-week program for the blind and visually impaired. The classes demanded discipline, motivationâ€”and a whole lot of guts. Some of the classes were access technology where I was taught how to use a computer with adaptive software. Another class was personal adjustment, relearning basic skills as grooming, shopping, keeping a checkbook and organization skills without sight. Group therapy was for dealing with anger issues, and the worst, being trained to use the dreaded white cane. In Echo of a Raven, I take the reader on a brutally honest journey to some of the darkest recesses of my mind. I use raw but direct quotes that might shock and offend. But as my writing teacher told me, if the reader is to get the real feel of what went on inside this institution, the explicit language must be quoted; otherwise, the reader will not be drawn in. Without bringing my true-life characters to life on a page, the reader will never know or understand the extremes we faced. The sixteen weeks I spent at Pittsburgh Vision have left a lasting imprint on my brain. . Echo of a Raven is not for the weak at heart. Anger is not pretty and everyone deals with it in a different way. I use shocking anecdotes of my sixteen-week stay at Pittsburgh Vision. Some of these include: the humiliation of being fitted for a white cane, the sheer terror of being disoriented in traffic, being forced to talk about my feelings in front of strangers at group therapy, explosive anger issues straight out of the Wild Wild West. I have read memoirs about a person losing his or her vision, but none with such prolific details told from an insiderâ€™s point of view. It was an incredible journey filled with heart-wrenching pain. We laughed and we cried. We bonded in a way words could not describe.Â Part of the reason I was reluctant to enroll in this program was I thought other clients would be uneducated. I was wrong. They were all ordinary people with extraordinary problems–thrust into a living nightmare due to circumstances beyond control. There were teachers, engineers, doctors, all with some type of eye disease that was literally robbing them blind. Some had the added burden of facing marital problems because a spouse was unable to deal with the pending blindness. I would not have survived the most challenging ordeal of my life without this special group of people. What didnâ€™t kill me made me stronger.
- About the Author
- Posts in the Past
Sharon Donovan has been writing stories of inspiration and suspense since the loss of her vision due to diabetic retinopathy. Prior to this, she was a legal secretary in the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges. Sharon has certificates in both business and medical transcription. Art was her passion. Devastated when she could no longer paint, a new dream resurrected. Today, instead of painting her pictures on canvas, she paints her pictures with words.