I have decided to stop regular blogging here at Disability Thinking. I will, however, keep the site going, and use it from time to time to post things I want to share that can’t be shared properly on Twitter or Facebook.
Disability blogging played a major part in my transition from 9 to 5 work at a Center for Independent Living, to a more freelance and introspective approach to disability. I started out with the goal of posting something every day. That worked out well for me for a few years. It got me into the rhythm of regular blogging. It gave me some daily discipline during a time when I could have very easily slipped into pure laziness and probably depression. Most importantly, daily blogging on disability was a terrific outlet for a lot of pent-up thought, ideas, and questions swirling about my head about disability that I had not previously been able to articulate.
Disability Thinking has evolved quite a bit, and I've had some valuable experiences along the way ...
Exploring in-depth topics ... like the nature of ableism, what disability identity and culture mean, what "inspiration porn" actually is, and what exactly we want to say to the non-disabled people we deal with every day. In all of these and other topics I tried to explore beyond the buzzwords, and demystify concepts for non-disabled readers, as well as disabled readers just beginning to explore disability issues in-depth. But really, I was exploring for myself, and inviting others to tag along with me.
Images and videos ... At some point I stopped being quite so impressed with social media photos and videos of “cool people in wheelchairs being cool," especially when they are just images, without any context or commentary. But it’s good to remember that for a lot of people, including a lot of disabled people, seeing images of disability that are cool and empowering, rather than sentimental or pitiful, is still quite new and revolutionary.
The Disability.TV Podcast ... I started out wanting to talk about disabled characters, disability tropes, and what disability on TV says to the world about disability. I discovered that discussion about disability on TV among disability activists is almost entirely focused on representation, that is, whether or not disabled characters are played by disabled actors ... something I had literally never though about before. I also discovered, not for the first time, that I am not good at extemporaneous speaking. On the other hand, I did learn how to make a podcast, including basic audio editing and promotion.
If I'm not going to do regular disability blogging, what am I going to do?
Disability Blogger Linkups ... This has been one of my favorite features of Disability Thinking, using Mr. Linky to create weekly or monthly "linkups" where people can share their disability-related work. I modeled it initially after the LoveThatMax weekend linkups, but it was exciting to see a rather different kind of writing accumulate on my linkups. I feel a little ambivalent about it because it sometimes feels too close to me benefiting from free labor from other disabled writers, at least some of whom should be getting paid. On the other hand, I don't benefit financially in any way, and people post there because they want to, not because I asked them to personally. I will probably continue hosting monthly linkups.
Weekly / Monthly Reading Lists ... In May 2015 I started posting a weekly selection of 5 disability-related articles, eventually switching to monthly. I will probably keep posting these too.
#CripTheVote ... In a way, my involvement in this project evolved out of my blogging. I "met" Alice Wong and Gregg Beratan mainly on Facebook and Twitter, but I wouldn't have been looking for disabled activists on Facebook and Twitter if I hadn't been promoting my blog on these platforms and looking for things to write about. Anyway, we got talking about the then upcoming 2016 elections and whether anyone would be talking about disability issues, and we decided we would see if we could start the conversation ourselves. Nearly three years later, #CripTheVote is easily the most consistently satisfying and meaningful thing I have done since I left my CIL work. It will continue!
Twitter ... I will try to condense my future observations on disability and share them on Twitter. A few years ago I would have thought that was a terrible idea. But I really like how Twitter disciplines me to keep my writing brief and packed with meaning. Plus, you can actually say quite a lot with a reasonably sized Twitter thread.
YouTube Vlogging, maybe ... I still haven't given up the idea of a disability-centered vlog of some kind.
Meanwhile, the blog will stay open, and now and then I may decide to post something. I would also welcome any comments on what people look for in disability-related online media. Maybe an idea I haven’t thought of before will spur the next phase of Disability Thinking.