Normally, I’m all about fiction (Fiction Friday), but this week I’m switching it up a bit.
I’m honored to introduce Sandra I. Bordenca, a recently self-published author. She’s with us today talking about herself and her book “It’s Okay to Laugh…(Sometimes).”
As I said, this is not a fiction work. Some things, however, do never change. Enough of me. Here’s Sandra.
-Introduction: About You
I think parts of the Prologue will help answer this question:
I was born in the ’60s with a disability known as cerebral palsy (according to Wikipedia, “an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement”), which affects my legs only. Subsequently, I have been in a wheelchair since the age of three. Throughout my life, there have been tears, fears, multiple operations, and multiple hurdles to overcome. Luckily, I was able to do that with the love and support of the best parents on earth, my wonderful sisters, my extended family, great friends, and an amazing husband.
Other than the multiple operations I have had to endure, I would have to say that my childhood was happy—full of laughter, tears, and the “normal” (whatever that means) childhood bickering that goes on among families and sisters as they go through their growing pains. I have had enough unique experiences in my life to write an autobiography and share with you the challenges that I have faced growing up in a wheelchair, but I decided against that. Instead, I decided to write about the unique and funny experiences I have had growing up in a wheelchair.
I learned a long time ago that in each situation, it is not what happens that determines the outcome; it is how you handle it. I have also learned throughout my many years that life is too damn short, so why not laugh when you can? I mean really laugh. The kind of laugh that makes tears flow from your eyes and drinks come out through your nose, or maybe even the best laugh of all, the one that makes you forget your troubles for a while.
So the goal of my book is simple. To make people laugh. To help people see that being in a wheelchair doesn’t have to be tragic. To help you see that if you look at challenges in a positive way, you can overcome anything and even laugh and laugh often.
-What inspired you to write this book?
Through non-fiction stories that have happened throughout my life I wanted to send the message to the disabled and non-disabled alike that disability does not mean disadvantage in a humorous/inspirational way.
-About the book?
Through non-fiction stories that have happened throughout my life I wanted to send the message to the disabled and non-disabled alike that disability does not mean disadvantage in a humorous/inspirational way. There is a section of the book called – Situations that stop and make you think – I hope. Here are a few of them:
In all my years, I have found that dogs enjoy being patted on the head, not people, and especially not people in wheelchairs. So if you get the urge, please look for our furry friends, and not my head.
If you grow up and one arm is longer than the other, don’t blame it on Mother Nature. Blame it on your parents for the times you were curious (as every child is) and tried to ask a person in a wheelchair a question like “Why are you in that thing?” and your parent pulled you away by the arm before you could. Parents and guardians, please allow the children you are with to be curious. It is natural, and speaking for myself, I love to answer their questions. Remember, children fear what they are taught to fear, and if they are allowed to be curious about the unknown, they will grow up teaching their children the same.
Sometimes, when I am waiting to be seated in a restaurant, the hostess will say, “Two and a wheelchair.” I know they mean no harm, but if I’m going to be referred to as a chair, I would much rather be called a “Queen Anne chair” or a “loveseat,” anything but a “wheelchair.”
It’s No Trick, Just Treats Please
Halloween was an interesting adventure for my sisters and me. Going to houses on our own street was no problem as everyone knew us. It was when we ventured off to the surrounding streets that the challenges began. You see, none of the houses in our neighborhood were handicapped accessible, except mine, of course, so when we approached a house, my sisters would have to carry my candy bag as well as their own, and I would wait at the bottom of the stairs. My sisters would take turns carrying my bag. So when one of my sisters went to the door with two bags, some people would get angry at her and tell her not to be so greedy. I would then have to yell from the sidewalk that the second bag was for me and that she was my sister. The people would then give her a crooked smile and put one treat in each bag. There were times when I felt bad for my sisters because they were doing something nice for me, and they would continuously get yelled at by strangers. Even though there were times we didn’t find it funny, we did laugh when we saw expressions on people’s faces when they realized the situation. The people that felt really bad would give us extra candy by the fistfuls, and to a kid on Halloween, that is everything. If I haven’t thanked my sisters in the past for this, I will now: Thanks, love you guys!
One day, I was visiting with one of my friends in her dorm room when her boyfriend came in. I introduced myself, and my friend said she had to leave the room for the bathroom. So I stayed with her boyfriend to keep him company until she returned. When he left later that day, she came into my room laughing hysterically. I asked her what was so funny, and through our laughter, she began to tell me what her boyfriend said when I left the room.
She said he asked, “What’s wrong with Sandy?” And she said, “Why? What did she say?” He said, “No, I mean what’s wrong with her?” And she once again said, “Why? Did she say or do something to offend you?” His voice got louder with frustration and said, “Why is she in the wheelchair?” She began to laugh again as she told me she completely forgot about me being in a wheelchair. I then began to laugh and hugged her, telling her how much that meant to me.
-For aspiring writers/storytellers, any tips?
If you are writing non-fiction, at the beginning, just let the stories flow. Don’t worry about content or punctuation, and write from your heart, good stories and bad. Don’t write what you think people want to hear, write from the heart and you will be amazed how easily and naturally the words will flow.
-What’s your favorite type of book to read?
I like Nicholas Sparks and Autobiographies.
-Any parting words of wisdom?
No matter how long it takes, never give up on your dream of becoming an author. When your book is finally completed and out in the marketplace, it is an amazing feeling that is hard to describe.
Want more from Sandra?
Visit her website.
Want to buy “It’s Okay to Laugh…(Sometimes)?”
Or call 1-888-795-4274 ext. 7879.