Welcome to The Blind Perspective

Audio: Welcome to the blind perspective.

February 2021

Volume 7 Issue 2

Table of Contents

Sponsor of the Month
Greetings from the Editor
30 Ways to Be a More Confident Public Speaker
Computer Tech 101
Connecting the Dots
Guide Dog Corner
The Blind and Art
Kaleidoscope of Crafts: Macrame Keychains
Blast from the Past: Movers and Shakers

Navigation

The Blind Perspective Newsletter has been produced in such a manner that makes it easier to stroll through the articles. If you are using JAWS, System Access, or NVDA, press the letter H to move through the headings. If you are wanting to skip back simply press the shift key + the letter H. For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H and to go backwards through the articles press Control Option Command shift plus the letter H. If one of the links do not work for you just copy and paste it in to your browser and it should work.

Sponsored by: Essentially Braille Custom Braille Your Way

http://www.essentiallybraille.com

essentiallybraille@gmail.com

Greetings from the Editors’

Audio: Greetings from the Editors’

Welcome to another month of The Blind Perspective.
Ben and I have been very busy figuring out how all of this works. We read and edit articles sent to us; upload to accessible platforms; write our own articles; get well from broken bones. . . Yes, you read that right. I broke my hand on December 24. I am doing well, but it makes all of this go slower. We are starting to see what is going to work, and what is more time-consuming or failing us or our readers. It is such an exciting process!

We have received many emails from readers and I want to take the time to thank you for your encouragement. This is a different path than we thought we would be taking when we married in July, but I can say I enjoy it very much. I have received comments about Connecting the Dots and how it helps people, praise for my handle: The Braille Chicken Whisperer, and how much people are enjoying that; and just general “keep up the good work” comments, as well as more potential writers. Ben has received feedback on The Sighted Perspective, which we are still learning about, and he has appreciated all of the encouragement as he dives in to learn about my world. Rest assured, we read every email and try to answer as many as we can.

There have been a few e-mails that have required us to do some critical thinking. I enjoy those emails just as much. I appreciate other’s points of view.
We are trying to add a couple of new things to the publication. This month, readers can enjoy some of our regular articles written by our great authors. This month also marks the beginning of “Blast from the Past” where we republish a great article from a previous issue of the Blind Perspective.

Thank you all for believing in us and supporting us as we sort out this process. And don’t forget if you would like to share your experiences with other readers, you can contact us about being a writer at the email below.
Tonya J. Drew, CBT
theblindperspective@gmail.com

30 Ways to Be a More Confident Public Speaker

Audio: 30 Ways to Be a More Confident Public Speaker

Whether you take to the podium notes in braille, large print, or other electronic means be sure to take to the podium your confidence. A comfortable confidence in your own public speaking skills is an outgrowth of good preparation, and wise preparation includes the appropriate amount of practice and rehearsal. Delivering a speech well can be an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience for both the novice speaker and the seasoned public speaker. Perhaps, you are pondering your own experiences with public speaking. Thus, in this article, you will find some encouragement for your being a more confident public speaker. After the listing of 30 Ways to Be a More Confident Speaker, you will find brief descriptions of the four methods of delivering a speech.

Through my years of teaching speech at the college level, I have had the wonderful opportunity to observe how the majority of students significantly progress from the delivery of the first speech to the delivery of the second speech. With each speech you deliver, you will become more adept and confident.

Thirty Ways to Be a More Confident Speaker

  1. Be prepared!
  2. Be present and on time for each class so that you have the opportunity to hear the discussion concerning the assignment and to hear examples. When preparing for speaking opportunities outside the classroom, become well acquainted with the organization or workplace, the audience, the time range for your speech and other expectations, as well as the location for the delivery of your speech.
  3. Be present and on time for each speech day so that you have the opportunity to hear the speeches of other students (or co-workers, etc.).
  4. Read all assigned chapters and materials.
  5. Give yourself ample time to prepare your speech thoroughly and well according to the directives of the assignment.
  6. Practice and time your speech until you achieve at least three practice times within the assigned time range. however, avoid practicing your speech so many times that you memorize the speech. Be comfortable with an extemporaneous method of delivery.
  7. If possible, rehearse and time your speech in front of one person or more than one person.
  8. If possible, audio record and/or video record your rehearsal. review and positively critique the recording of your speech.
  9. Practice and rehearse your speech from beginning to end. do not allow yourself the luxury of starting your speech over when you are in the midst of a practice.
  10. Practice your speech with the note cards (and visual aids) that you will use at the podium. For hard-copy braille or large-print notes, I recommend that you hole-punch the pages and place them into a ring binder notebook–one that holds five-by-eight-inch note cards or 8.5-by-11-inch pages. By using a ring binder, you never have to be concerned about your notes becoming incorrectly ordered or slipping off the podium.
  11. Practice your speech while you are standing, speaking in full voice, and simulating good eye contact. Even if you have no usable vision or very limited vision, you can simulate good eye contact. If you have a significant amount of remaining vision and are not comforted by maintaining good eye contact directly with your audience, simulate good eye contact by looking at the foreheads or tops of the heads of your audience.
  12. While you are practicing and rehearsing your speech, simulate as much as possible the classroom setting or other location where you will deliver your speech.
  1. Before, during, and after your speech, think positively and confidently!
  2. Do visualization exercises prior to your delivery date.
  3. Within seconds of arriving at the podium, smile and begin your speech.
  4. Maintain good posture to appear and feel more confident, as well as to facilitate better breathing and projecting of your voice.
  5. To avoid butterflies in your throat, increase your volume and project your voice over the butterflies.
  6. To avoid butterflies which may cause your hands to tremble, grasp the podium or desk tightly. then, release and relax. Repeat this exercise two or three times in a few seconds—just before you begin your speech.
  7. While taking a deep breath may be helpful to some people at the onset of public speaking, avoid breathing so deeply that your audience can hear your breathing—especially if you are using a microphone.
  8. To avoid butterflies that may cause your knees to tremble, remember that you are standing behind a podium and/or desk—no one will see your knees! Shift your weight slowly from one leg to the other, but avoid rocking from side to side or forward and back.
  9. To avoid butterflies which may affect your stomach, employ all previous suggestions and arrive at the classroom or other setting early so that you have time to relax before your turn at the podium. When possible, prior to the speaking engagement, practice, if necessary, walking from your seat (or waiting area) to the podium (as well as back to your seat) with your guide dog or white cane.
  10. Concentrate more on your audience than on yourself. Perceive your audience as your guests whom you want to feel welcome and comfortable. Focus on how much your audience should learn from your presentation.
  11. Concentrate on the joy of sharing your information—sharing your well-prepared work and/or assignment.
  12. If you have a significant amount of remaining vision, in advance of the delivery of your speech, be aware of the lighting conditions in the room so that you will be confident in being able to read your large-print notes.
  13. Remember that your fellow classmates and your instructor are in the classroom to support you just as members of a sports team support one another. This supportive idea among speakers and audience members should also hold true at the place where you work or at an organization to which you belong.
  14. Generally, a pause that may be perceived as lengthy to you will actually be quite or relatively brief and will be observed only as an insignificant or brief pause to your audience.
  15. You are not judged by making a mistake or pausing briefly: you are judged by how well you recover and continue your speech. Just go on! Do not draw additional attention to yourself by saying, Im sorry or Pardon me. Just continue with your speech!
  16. Well-prepared, good note cards will increase your confidence throughout your speech.
  17. Hearing your own strong and confident voice will boost your confidence through the five parts of your speech (introduction, major point one, major point two, major point three, and the conclusion).
  18. Realizing positive feedback from your audience will increase your confidence for the current speech and future speeches.

Four Methods of Delivering a Speech

  1. Impromptu: A speaker has very little time or virtually no time to prepare an impromptu speech. the speaker has only very brief and quickly written notes or no notes. An impromptu speech is usually short in length.
  2. Manuscript: A speaker prepares a manuscript speech well in advance of delivering the speech. After writing out the speech in complete sentences and paragraphs, the speaker practices the speech by using the manuscript and later delivers the speech by reading the majority of the speech from the prepared manuscript or from a teleprompter.
  3. Memorized: As the name implies, the memorized speech is memorized—word for word and sentence by sentence by the speaker. A memorized speech generally does not allow for as much rapport with the audience. A professional speaker or actor may memorize a speech. however, a student should not memorize a speech. (Thus, practice and rehearse your speech until you are very familiar and comfortable with the material, but do not practice to the point that you memorize the speech.)
  4. Extemporaneous: For most classroom speeches and for many other public speaking opportunities, you should deliver your speech by using the extemporaneous method. An extemporaneous speech affords the speaker the opportunity to prepare a planning and delivery outline well in advance of the delivery of the speech. The speaker has the time to practice, time, and rehearse the speech in advance of the presentation. The speaker practices with the note cards which he or she will use at the podium. Using brief notes from the note cards (delivery outline) allows the speaker to have the greatest amount of rapport with the audience.

Good luck with your next speaking engagement!

Alice Jane-Marie Massa
e-mail: alicejmassa@gmail.com
weekly blog: http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Computer Tech 101

Audio:Computer Tech 101

First of all, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that 2021 is better than 2020. Also, I want to welcome our new Editors and wish them all the best in their new endeavor.

Now then, as with last time, I thought I’d supply a couple of “easy” fixes to problems that might seem much bigger and harder than they actually are. The first actually involves extracting Compressed files, such as the ones we download from BARD. In the past, I’ve given y’all, yes, I live in the Southern United States, a procedure to extract the files from a downloaded Zip file. However, other programs that you might have installed could screw with that procedure. In my case, I installed an alternative Media Player and found that the “Extract All” menu choice had “gone away” when I tried extracting some books I’d downloaded from BARD. If that has happened to you as well, here’s an alternative that works just as well. This only affects the actual extraction and the rest of the other procedure is still valid.

  1. Go into Windows Explorer, just like you do with the other procedure.
  2. Use the Application key when the file you want to extract is highlighted, or selected and choose “Open With”, or hit the H key.
  3. Choose “Windows Explorer, or hit the W key.

It will then open the Zip file and you can then copy/paste the files to another folder. To do this, you simply need to Shift-Tab to the Directory Tree and arrow to the folder you created for the file(s), or go to the Flash Drive you plan to save the file(s) to, and paste them. I suggest using a “Select All” or CTRL-A, for copying. Once the Paste is done, you can close Windows Explorer. It will then take you back to where you were when you hit the Applications key. You may then delete the Zip file, if you wish, and close Windows Explorer if you’re done. If there are other files to extract, simply repeat the procedure until you’re done.

The next thing specifically applies to Users of Yahoo E-mail addresses. This would include any addresses through A T&T and any with a yahoo.com address, and who also use a “third party” E-mail program, such as Microsoft Outlook. If you run into a problem where you can’t get into your E-mail but you are absoflogginlutely positive that the password is correct, I think I know what the problem is. Apparently, on an on-going basis, Yahoo, which, I believe, is now owned by A T&T, is changing the way the accounts are accessed on the server. If you are running into the problem I mentioned, you very well might need what they are calling a “Secure E-mail Key”. This Key is “assumed” if you access your E-mail through their Website but needs to “take the place of” your normal E-mail password if using another program. I, myself, ran into this problem and was given the procedure to get a Secure Key. Below is the general procedure I was given when I broke down and called A T&T for help. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific but I can’t say I entirely understand the screens and your situation might be slightly different from mine.

  1. Go into your account online and go to “Profile”
  2. Underneath that, look for “Sign In Info”
  3. Underneath that, you should see “Secure E-mail Key”

You will then need to create one or, more accurately, have one assigned to you. After you do this, it will display a key of letters and, I think, numbers on screen. You will then want to copy this and open up your E-mail program. When it asks for your password, paste in the key you were just given and make sure you save this “new” password. You then should be able to get your messages just fine. As I said, I had a problem with this myself and, after MUCH frustration, finally broke down and called A T&T. After getting the information on what was happening, and getting the procedure from them that I outlined above, I went in, got my key and went into Outlook and pasted and saved the new “password”. It’s worked fine ever since. However, if you run into trouble getting the key, I strongly recommend calling your mail provider and asking them. They know FAR more about the procedures than I do and can better help you if there’s a difficulty. Please note that each E-mail address might need it’s own Secure Key; it depends on your E-mail provider. Unless I’m very much mistaken, that is the case with any A T&T accounts.

Hopefully, you found the above helpful. However, if you have further questions, or have a question about something else, please don’t hesitate to send me an E-mail. My address is above and I will answer your message ASAP, even if it’s just to apologize for not being able to answer the question. As always, Happy Computing!

Jim Morgan jsmorgan23@att.net

Connecting the Dots

Audio: Connecting the Dots

Punctuation is extremely important for clarifying meaning in sentences, as well as keeping shared thoughts organized. There is a big difference between a statement and a question. There is also a big difference between a statement that invites someone to have dinner with us and inviting them to be dinner for us. After a little practice, punctuation becomes easy to use and will make your braille writing clearer.
A period, dots 2,5,6; closes a thought, usually at the end of the sentence.
A comma, dot 2, pauses, separates thoughts within a sentence, or can be used to make a list within a thought.
A semicolon, dots 2,3, is like a soft period. It connects two complete thoughts that share a sentence. It can also be used as a clarification after a list that involves commas.
An apostrophe, dot 3, shows possession and sometimes shows the omission of a letter.
If you have ever read print, then the usage of punctuation is the same as print. If not, don’t fear! Braille punctuation just takes practice and it will make sense.
Practice suggestions:
Braille whole lines of each punctuation you are working on. Then braille 4 of each next to each other. On another line braille 2 of each next to each other. On another line, braille a full cell and then the punctuation after it. Then make up sentences and use the punctuation. Practice reading it 4-8 times before trying it again the next day.
Until next time, keep connecting the dots!

Tonya J. Drew, CBT braillechickenwhisperer@gmail.com

Guide Dog Corner

Audio: Guide Dog Corner

Over the years I have heard our journey called “the guide dog lifestyle.” What does that mean? I can assure you I never thought of it that way and learned a lot of things in my trainings, field visits from trainers over the years, other handlers and just my own common sense with Mary Jane and Cameo.

When I had my first home interview early in 2003 about this time of year, the field rep said to me, “When you have a dog, you are a celebrity.” “I already am,” I said as I had been singing in choirs for several years, had lived in the same area for several years and people recognized me. On a bus I could be recognized as Brendan’s or Kevin’s mom. But it’s not the same with a dog!

If you would prefer to hide your vision loss by folding your white cane to hide it in your bag or purse, well, I can assure you, there’s no way to hide a dog! I’ve heard of some small ones, 50 pounds or so, but none of them is purse size!

When we travel-and we have-the first thing I do at a hotel is to ask where I can take my dog to relieve and then hope that both of us remember where that is! If she goes the wrong way especially somewhere that we shouldn’t, well, let’s just say that embarrassment for me went out the window a long time ago.

If we are walking somewhere and Miss Cameo has to do a sit down, I gave up getting upset or impatient with her and learned a whole lot about patience, not to mention putting her in a position where I can find her present, never forget poop bags or hand sanitizer long before COVID, pop that bag over my hand, pick up and move on!

Many years ago my first voice teacher told me that when singing, “Enjoy the journey.” And so it is with a guide dog. Maybe it is a lifestyle, but I’d prefer to call this journey a life change and there we will go next time.

Please remember that questions and comments are welcome, and all I will endorse in these columns are my own opinions and experiences.

Sharon Howerton shrnhow@gmail.com

The Blind and Art

Audio: The Blind and Art

I have enjoyed seeing art exhibits. As my sight has decreased, I have learned to rely on verbal and braille descriptions of the displays. I still long to touch the art with my fingertips.

I was able to do this in Death Valley at a place named Scotties Castle. It was a large home built in the early 1900s. It contains many decorative carvings in the woodwork and brass knobs. The carvings are in the shape of the animals and cactus found in the area.

The docent was delighted to have a visually impaired person in his group. He put on a glove and guided my fingers to touch all the carvings and the brass bird heads that were the faucets. He told the rest of the group that they could not touch anything. He and I explored all the surfaces. I was embarrassed and delighted to get a tactile and audio tour.

We are members of a sculpture park and I take delight in touching the art in a garden setting. The docents watch but dont stop me from lightly touching the art. I have even sat on one art bench to get the dimensions of the piece. The docents are there to prevent small children from climbing. They understand this touching is how I experience the art.

My local city sponsors a large art show each fall. I was worried if I would have to be content with descriptions of the art pieces. When we got to the outside pieces, I was able to touch parts of the large pieces. Some pieces had signs inviting the public to touch.

If the artist was near his or her piece of art and they listened to the art being described to me, they would ask if I would like to touch the piece. They would point out parts of the art they were most proud of.

One woman after finding out that I was a knitter, placed my fingertips on a carving of a mens sweater and asked if I could feel the dropped stitch in the pattern of the sweater. I told her I could.

If the art was not able to be touched, the artist put a display of the art pieces for people to feel. This was done in a piece that was covered with 3 dimensional flowers. She had several flowers in front of the picture to touch.

Another artist allowed me to feel the muscles in a group of running horses.

I have not found a way to tactilely enjoy paintings. I know that the art may be hurt with touch. I did find a group of paintings that had sand and other mediums mixed in with the paint. The art was tactile and I could discern parts of the art by touch.

Including the blind when setting up an art exhibit takes some time but it is well worth the effort.

I continue to support the arts and making them accessible to all.

Carol is an artist that works in felted media. Her pieces have won awards in the In Sight art contest sponsored by The American Printing House for the Blind. Her art is featured in the 2021 and 2022 art calendars.
From The Handy Uncapped Pen

Carol Farnsworth carolfarn@aol.com

Kaleidoscope of Crafts: Macrame Keychains

Audio: Kaleidoscope of Crafts: Macrame Keychains

Hello again to all readers of Kaleidoscope of Crafts. Since I have been finding many different macrame projects over the holidays, I am sharing one more with you this month, before moving on to something different. I hope to come back to macrame later in the year though.

Once an iconic 70s trend, modern macramé has been making a comeback that has lasted for the past few years. Though elaborate wall hangings and plant baskets can be made, small projects like bracelets and key chains are perfect for macrame beginners or for those times one needs a portable craft or hand-made gift that is made in just a few minutes.

Keychains are not only useful, but they can be personalized for different purposes and individuals. The possibilities for making them are virtually endless but for this month we will be looking at three very basic ways to make simple keychains.

You will need some cord of medium thickness, a pair of scissors and a clipboard or safety pins to help you anchor your cords while working on them as well as keyrings and some beads and embroidery floss or thin yarn for some of the projects below.
Cords come in all colors, thicknesses and materials, so use whatever you have at hand or perhaps try out a type of material you have not worked with before.

Keychain 1: Simple Braided Keychain.

  1. Cut three pieces of cord a little more than twice as long as you want the finished custom keychain.
  2. Stack them evenly and wrap one end with a small rubber band a few inches from the ends.
  3. Make a simple braid. Stop when youre the same distance from the end as where the first rubber band is.
  4. Loop one end through the keychain. If you would like, use another rubber band to hold the braid in place.
  5. Lastly, at the other end of the chain, wind a piece of embroidery thread or thin yarn around all four cords, then separate the strands to form a tassle. You could use a soft comb for this if preferred. Finally, trim the ends.

Keychain 2: Zipper Keychain.

  1. Cut three cords: two that are twice the desired ending length of your keychain and one that is three times the size of one of the shorter strings.
  2. Tie all three strings together in an overhand knot by folding the cords so that there is a loop and pulling the end of the cords through the loop. Pull tightly to secure the knot.
  3. Turn the project so that the knot is at the top and move the two shorter cords to the left and the longer one to the right.
  4. Take the longer cord and move it towards the left, over the right short string and under the left short string, weaving the long string horizontally and perpendicular to the shorter cords.
  5. Now, move the same long cord in the opposite direction. Push it over the left short cord and under the right short cord so it ends up on the righthand side again. Continue this process until you’ve reached the desired length.
  6. End the keychain by tying the final strings in an overhand knot again.
  7. To attach this chain to a keyring, create a loose knot instead of a tightened one and pass the keyring or hook hole through the loop of the knot before tightening.

Keychain 3: Spiral Knot Keychain.

  1. Cut two cords three times the length you want for your finished keychain.
  2. Hold the cords together and find their center. Attach the two cords to a keyring using a simple larks head knot (also known as a cow hitch).
    To make this knot, place the loops you have formed in front and just above your keyring and then take the loose ends of the cords and pull them around and through the keyring from the back. Pull tight.
  3. Now, make a half square knot: Cross the outer left cord loosely over the two center strings, and under the outer right
    cord to create a shape of a 4. Then bring the outer right cord under both center strings, and up through the loop made by the outer left cord.
  4. Pull both outer cords to the sides and tighten until the knot rests snugly against the top knots and pull the center cords straight.
  5. Make about 15 more half square knots, always starting from the left side as described above.
    After the first few half square knots, your creation will start to form a spiral.
  6. When your keychain is long enough, thread the two center cords through a wooden bead if preferred or loop all four cords together in a simple overhand knot.
  7. Alternatively, you can also wind a piece of embroidery thread or yarn around all four cords, then separate the strands of the cords, fluff them out, and trim the ends to make a tassle.

I hope you will give any or of the keychains a try. Happy crafting until next time.

Lindy van der Merwe stephlin@iafrica.com

Sources:
https://www.thinkmakeshareblog.com/wp-content/uploads/TMS_MacrameInstructions.pdf
https://www.ehow.com/how_8170680_threestring-lanyard-instructions.html

Blast from the Past: Movers & Shakers

Audio: Blast from the Past: Movers & Shakers

I recently had the pleasure of Interviewing Guy Hasson. Guy is an author, playwright, and a filmmaker, but that’s not all! He is the CEO and creator of New World Comics. New Worlds Comics is an independent comic book publisher that only publishes digital comics.

In July of this year, Guy created Comics Empower. This is an online comic book shop that makes comics for the blind and visually impaired. You may ask yourself, “Comics for the blind and visually impaired?” Yes, these comics are translated in such an audio format that allows for a smooth and continuous telling of the story.

Guy has been touch and inspired by countless stories from people who have been empowered by comics. This is what led him to create Aurora. This comic book features Daniel, a blind hero. Guy has made a pledge to maintain the following three things throughout this comic book:
*the good guys will always win, even though there will be hard times to go through; that is how empowerment works.
*Daniel will never regain his sight; like most people who are blind, they too will not regain their sight.
*Daniel will never develop any magical powers to see, he is blind and will have to figure things out as a blind person; and he will find a way.

Read below the question and answer exchange we had:
Q: How did you get started with comics?
A: I grew up in a country that had no comic books. The only comic books we had were a black-and-white Tarzan and a black-and-white Tarzan knockoff.
The first day I arrive in the U.S., I got my parents to buy a TV Guide and a Spider-Man comic book. This is back in the eighties, when there were only a handful of TV channels, and comic books were sold in every small store.

Q: What motivated you to make accessible comics for the blind?
A: This’ll surprise you. But there’s actually no personal story here. I’ve been CEO of New Worlds Comics, an indie comic book company, for a year and a half. Suddenly, the thought occurred to me: Why are there no comics for the blind?
Then, in a few minutes, a train of dominoes collapsed in my head, one after the other: Figuring out how to do it, figuring out how to build the website, how to eventually get more and more comic books into the store.
Once I got the idea into my head, I couldn’t let it go. In a month and a half, the Comics Empower store was up. And ever since, due to fans’ response, I realized that, other than family, this is the most important thing I’ve ever done.

Q: How long has Comics Empower been operating?
A: Comics Empower started out really small around July 2015. It launched as a test, with only three audio comics, done in a way that no one had done till that day.
I found a way to translate the comic book experience to words, and from there on top talent voice talents recorded the comic book.
When I launched, I didn’t know if my vision for audio comics would work, how people would respond, would they accept it, would they hate it. That’s why one of the first comic books in those series was Wynter, which is a visually stunning comic book. I wanted to see if it would translate.
People reacted really well to it! So much so that we started expanding. We’re now adding more and more titles on a monthly basis, and older titles keep getting updated with new issues every month.

Q: Are they just for the blind?
A: Audio comics are for everyone: The blind, the visually impaired, and the sighted. But right now, half a year after the launch, I have no sighted customers. It’s a mental block people have. They think comics are purely a visual medium.
It’ll take time for their view to change. But it will. Let’s meet again in five years and see…

Q: I listened to a couple of your comics, what are panels?
A: Interesting you should say that. A lot of the fans reading the comics lost their sight, but were fans of comics before. But many other fans have never actually seen a comic book before. That’s why I created The First Timer’s Ultimate Guide to Comics, which is available for free download on our website. It shows you every aspect of the sighted person’s experience in buying and reading a comic book, and then shows you how each of these is translated to your experience, in the Comics Empower store. In addition, it gives you a full review of all the basic terminology. Like ‘Panels’. A page is usually split into a few pictures, which together tell a story. Each picture usually freezes one instant of that story. These single pictures are called ‘panels’. When you listen to comic books, the voice actor describes what happens in page 1, panel 1, then panel 2, and so on. You get the full comic book experience, not just the story itself.

Q: How much do the comic books cost and what format do they come in?
A: The comic books are $3.00 each. Right now, while we’re small, the comics are available in audio only. You buy the comics, then an email is sent to you with links to download your comics.
As we grow, Braille versions should become available as well. Right now, all growth is spent on bringing you more and more comics.

Q: How are these comics received in the blind community?
A: People are so happy. Everyone – and I mean everyone – tells me how they told their friends that comic books for the blind should be available. It’s practically a crime that it hasn’t been done before.
One fan told me how he finally spoke to his friend about a comic book they both read, and the friend was shocked. “You know this comic book too well,” he said.
Every so often, a fan’s response is so great that I put it on the Blind Panels podcast, our official podcast for anything audio comics or blind geek related.
People are happy and excited. It’s just great!

Q: Do you have any blind/visually impaired people working with you?
A: Until you asked, I never actually thought about the diversity of our small team. Right now, 6 months into Comics Empower, we have 5 people working (including me). Three are women, two are men. One’s American, one’s British, two are Israeli, and one is Norwegian. Two are blind, and the other three are sighted. (With the internet, distance truly truly doesn’t matter). And, now that I think about this group of people, I’m pretty happy with them and our diversity.

Q: What is your goal/mission?
A: My ultimate mission is to have all comic books that ever existed available for the blind and the visually impaired.

Q: Can you tell me about the contest that you have going on?
A: I think this is the great thing. Now that the blind and visually impaired can read comics, there’s no reason you can’t write comics.
Comics Empower is holding a comic book writing contest, in which the winner gets his or her comic book published in Comics Empower. The winner retains the rights to the comic book, including movie rights, for example, and can also shop around to get the comic book published by the big comic book publishers. Find out all the details at: comics empower/writing_competition

To learn more about comics Empower, listen to some comics, and read what comic books they have available go to the website at: comics empower.

Karen Santiago

The Blind Perspective

Audio: Full February 2021 Issue

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