I’ve had a couple of non-novel-related writing tasks recently, as part of a massive family-and-friends project to support my brother Astro. He’s a very talented artist, and his first major gallery show is coming up in Jamaica next month. That would be amazing enough, but Astro is also severely disabled – now in his 30s, he was only a few weeks old when an illness caused brain damage that left him with cerebral palsy. So he has lived his entire life without any of the voluntary muscle control that the rest of us take for granted – he can’t speak, stand or use his hands. He uses adaptive technology, via a button he can press with his head, to operate a specialist computer programme. It allows him to read, write, surf the web, interact on social media, and use Inkscape and other drawing applications to make beautiful, vibrant art. It is a slow, painstaking process, requiring a level of determination and dedication that is truly humbling. I’m so proud of him, and so sorry I won’t be there to share the moment with him and the rest of the team. We’ve all gotta do what we’ve gotta do, be where we’ve gotta be, to pursue our own dreams – and at the moment mine requires me to be in a chilly old barn in Devon, making things up and writing them down. But I’ll be head, heart and spirit at Studio 174 in Kingston on 17th November, and I hope some of you will too. Here’s the link.
The ASTRO Project
Posted by Stephanie Saulter on October 16, 2012