As most of you know, I have been a keen dancer for nearly two decades. A few years ago, my dance of choice was modern jive and I went to as many classes and dances as I could. At these dances, it is customary to swap dance partners during the evening and my favourite dance partner (let’s call him Ken) was in a wheel chair.
This might seem strange to hear but he was a very popular dancer: he had perfect rhythm, he led the moves beautifully – making sure his partners didn’t catch themselves on his chair, did a mean spin on his back wheels and was friendly and courteous (something that couldn’t be said for all the dancers)
I never knew what confined Ken to his wheel chair, in the same way as I didn’t know most of the other dancers' professions or where they lived.– we were all just there to dance and Ken would always be the person I would seek out as he made dancing a pleasure for his parners.
This brings me to the question of how we deal with disability in our writing. Do we, as authors, include enough characters with disabilities in our writing? Should we write about someone with a disability as just another character in our plot (as Ken was just another dancer at the jive dance) or should we should weave the story around the disability.
Ruth Hunt is a writer with spinal cord injuries who has written a thought provoking guest post, on the subject of disability and fiction, called 'Do You Dare to be Different' over at author Marianne Wheelaghan's blog. Please do visit her there and join in the discussion - she would love to hear from you.