The best blog I’ve ever read

Speculative fiction tends to ask impossible what-ifs? “What if zombies showed up?” “What if SETI got an answer?” “What if your neighborhood was plagued by the serial-killing ghost of a golden retriever?” Test cases for the extreme, right?

But there are plenty of everyday what-ifs, too, because every person’s experience is different. You can always look with curious empathy toward another and ask, “What if I were more like you?” “What is your experience of being human?” Reading helps us ask these questions. These questions are the place where fiction and nonfiction come together into the seamless empathy-engine known as writing. In this sense, all writing is speculative.

There are a lot of blogs out there. The best one I’ve ever read makes me ask what-ifs like these: “What if I had an intellectually disabled adult child?” “What if that child were terminally ill?” “What is it like, as a parent, to accept that you will care for your child from birth to death?” “What is it like to do that as a single parent?”

Check out Catherine Lea’s Happiness: Optional┬áto see how one person does these things. (With love. With exhaustion and perseverance. With humor. And with sharp-eye perception that goes right to the center of herself and others.) Start at the beginning and read to the present. You won’t be disappointed.

Then come back and tell me about the best blog you’ve ever read.

4 comments

  1. Becca that was the best blog post I’ve ever read. The only thing I couldn’t understand why she just sat there and took it. At any age, I would have let that jerk know what I thought of him. What a brave woman, though. I have always thought that to have a mentally handicapped child must be one of life’s greatest sorrows (I’ve been through a greater one but this one must come close to it). Beautifully written post. Thanks for sharing

    1. I wonder, Susanne. For me it’s speculation, since I have no personal experience to call on, but I would guess that having a child with an intellectual disability is challenging, but also full of joy and satisfaction. I know several parents of children with Down Syndrome, and so long as their children have been healthy, they’ve had far more happiness than sorrow from their parenting. Perhaps it depends on the kind of disability your child has, the resources available to help your child, and your own general attitude toward things.

      As for standing up to the joke-teller, I’m afraid I wouldn’t done just as Catherine did. Standing up against the crowd is damned hard. I’ve never been all that good at it. I always feel my social status is precarious, and the desire to protect it is hard to beat down. It ain’t pretty, and I hate to admit it, but I think it’s probably the truth.

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