Plain Old Blogging

I found the whole Disability Alphabet thing too boring and pedantic to continue. I still think the disability community could use some kind of central source for disability terminology, but I’m not the one to provide it. There were too many “on the one hand / on the other hand” bullet points, and I ended up feeling too much like a mansplainer. In short, I did not enjoy it.

So I’ve deleted my Disability Alphabet posts and will be returning to something approaching regular blogging on disability topics.

Six Years Pretty Old In Blog Years

Picture of a cupcake with a single lit candle in it, next to the words “5th @nniversary”

Six years ago yesterday I tapped “Enter” and uploaded my first post at Disability Thinking. I consider the blog a success because despite many ups, downs, and false starts, I have more or less kept this thing up and current for six whole years. And going forward, I see no reason not to keep blogging on disability topics for another six years at least.

The archives are all on the right, so feel free to look around … and maybe be a little forgiving of some of those early posts!

Shifting Away From Blogging

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.

Word cloud of most used words on this blog, inside a thought balloon

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.

Vlogging Update

Disability Thinking Vlog [an alphabetical journey through disability language] black letters on a white marble background

I am still working on the idea of a YouTube vlog series on disability terminology. Sincere thanks to everyone who has sent me ideas on which words and terms to cover for each letter of the alphabet. Here is the list I have so far:

A    Ableism, Accessibility, Advocacy
B    Barrier-Free
C    Crip, Chronic Pain, Chronic Illness
D    Disabled, Differently-Abled, Discrimination
E    Erasure, Eugenics, Emotional Labor
F    Functioning Labels
G    Guide Dog
H    Handicapped
I    Inspiration Porn, Independent Living, Intersectional
J    _________________________
K    _________________________
L    Long Term Care
M    Medical Model, Marginalized
N    Neurodiversity
O    Oppression, Opioids, Outcomes
P    Prejudice, Privilege
Q    Quad Rugby
R    Representation
S    Self Advocate, Social Model, Special Needs
T    Transition, Transportation, Trauma
U    Undue Burden, Universal Design
V    Vocational Rehabilitation, Venn Diagrams
W    Wheelchairs, Willowbrook, White Cane
X    Xenophobia
Y    _________________________
Z    _________________________

There are still blanks to fill. Note also that I am planning on each episode covering no more than three words, so I won’t be able to cover every possible term. I will probably do Patreon-only episodes on any overflow terms, or terms that are heavily requested. Plus, i might do some biographical episodes for Patreon, on influential names in disability culture … alphabetically of course.

So when is all this going to happen?

I am hoping to record an introductory video this week, partly to promote the idea itself, and partly to experiment with the equipment and settings I’ve got, and practice editing. In the meantime, I still welcome feedback, technical advice, and of course more disability-related words and terms to fill in the alphabet.

Linkup Vacation

Closeup photo of a grey computer keyboard, with a red wheelchair symbol on the center key

The Disability Blogger Linkup is on a short break this month. The next linkup will be on the weekend starting Friday, September 14, 2018.

Remember, you can always browse previous Disability Blogger Linkups by clicking this link.

You might also be interested in exploring and possibly contributing to this new online publication by and for disabled people: Disability Acts.

If you are an active or aspiring writer and you have disabilities, you should also check out this disabled writer clearinghouse: Disabled Writers.

YouTube Vlog Idea

"Vlog" logo on a mixed dark and light blue background

Back in April, I wrote that I would be working on something new for Disability Thinking, possibly a vlog … a series of video pieces on YouTube. I’m still working on the format, but I think I have an idea to give the thing structure.

The tentative plan is to make short 15-20 minute videos that discuss one or two terms related to disability and disability culture, starting with words that start with an “A” and going through the whole alphabet all the way to “Z”. I would plan to share my own thoughts on each term, and probably invite viewers to send in comments ahead of time that can be shared. I did some brainstorming on terms, and here is what I have so far:

A    Ableism, Accessibility, Advocacy
B    _________________________
C    Crip, Chronic Pain, Chronic Illness
D    Disabled, Differently-Abled, Discrimination
E    Erasure, Eugenics
F    Functioning Labels
G    Guide Dog
H    Handicapped
I     Inspiration Porn, Independent Living, Intersectional
J    _________________________
K    _________________________
L    Long Term Care
M    Medical Model, Marginalized
N    Neurodiversity
O    Oppression, Opioids
P    Prejudice
Q    Quad Rugby
R    Representation
S    Self Advocate, Social Model, Special Needs
T    _________________________
U    Undue Burden, Universal Design
V    Vocational Rehabilitation
W    Wheelchairs, Willowbrook, White Cane
X    _________________________
Y    _________________________
Z    _________________________

I’d welcome any suggestions to fill in the alphabet. If it’s any good at all … meaning if anyone watches and listens … I would also consider some special programs for Patreon subscribers … such as Q&As and guest interviews.

Obviously I’m still working on this, but I hope to post something on actual introductory video on YouTube sometime before the end of this Summer.

Podcast / Vlog Pitch

Green banner reading "Podcast / Vlog Pitch", with icons representing online audio and visual content

I’m getting an itch to podcast again, or maybe start a vlog. Here’s the idea:

I have in mind an audio podcast or YouTube vlog that would be called something like "Disability Thinking 101" or "Disability Thinking Basics." Each episode would explore a key word or term in disability culture and activism. The audience would be people who are curious about or new to disability issues ... plus, people who have been involved for some time, but would like to refresh their understanding of the ideas that structure the disability community's conversations and work.

Ideally I try to put out an episode every other week, or maybe just twice per month. I would want to have at least one guest for each episode, preferably someone who has some expertise and something to say about the term being discussed. We might also incorporate comments into the conversation by announcing the next upcoming topic, and reading out a selection of comments on the term as part of the next episode. Again ideally, I would hope to keep each episode under 30 minutes long.

Possible terms to discuss ... slightly organized, but not necessarily in this order:

  • Disability
  • Crip
  • Ableism
  • Advocacy
  • Accessibility
  • Accommodations
  • Marginalized
  • Intersectional
  • Erasure
  • Representation
  • Autism
  • Neurodiversity
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Self-Advocate
  • Functioning Labels
  • Institutional
  • Long Term Care
  • Sheltered Workshops
  • Independent Living
  • Social Model
  • Consumer Direction
  • Inspiration Porn
  • Disability Awareness
  • Eugenics

I am posting this idea because I hope to get some suggestions on content, identify people who might want to co-host with me on one or two of these topics, and get a feel for whether a Patreon or similar campaign to support this project financially would be feasible. If you have ideas or want to participate in some way, you can leave a comment below, or email me at: apulrang@icloud.com

Disability Thought Of The Week

Icon of a white silhouette head with a word cloud inside containing words associated with disability thinking

When I started this blog in February, 2013, my goal was to post something every day. I pretty much did that for about three years, until my other day-to-day activities and priorities changed, and I switched to more occasional blogging. At the moment I am in a routine where I post something 2 or 3 times a month.

I want to try something different.

I want to start posting a short "Disability Thought Of The Week" each Sunday. These will be anywhere from a couple of sentences to a couple of paragraphs long, and no than that ... just brief samples of whatever is on my mind in my journey through disability culture and activism.

So the new schedule for Disability Thinking content will be:

Sundays: Disability Thought Of The Week
First Mondays: Monthly Reading List
Second Fridays: Disability Blogger Linkup
Fourth Fridays: Regular Blog Posts

As usual, all posts will be announced on Twitter and Facebook.

Aaaand We're Back!

White waving hand icon on a purple background

I've been on an extended blogging break since December 2, 2017.

The conventional explanation is that I ran out of things to write about. It's more accurate to say that I had lots of ideas that seemed good for 20 minutes or so, but then quickly became stale. Now I've got several topics to work on that have stayed interesting to me for at least several weeks. Hopefully they will all turn into posts worth writing and reading ... something a little more than the usual themes of disability rights in the late 2010s.

I will start back for real with a Disability Blogger Linkup this Friday, February 9, followed by a regular blog post on February 23, then a Monthly Reading List on the 28th. I'll probably stick with that basic monthly routine for awhile. I am also thinking of adding occasional very short "Disability Thought Of The Day" posts. We'll see about that.

However it pans out, it feels good to be back and thinking again about the Disability Thinking Blog. I have missed it.