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June 09, 2004



My friend, you are so far from being "typecast" or a "niche." I forget about your hearing and vision loss when you don't write about it. Just today reading about your bike ride I thought enviously about how much I admire you, and your confidence in your body and its capabilities. I mean, I don't forget that you've got problems with your eyes and ears, but I forget it as a matter of practicality, because the "niche" or "typecast" for me, who know you only through your writing, is that of a gnarly, capable, strong, confident sassy athletic woman whose body and bravery brings her to places I've not yet been able to go. And I'm not talking "bravery" as in overcoming the special burdens you bear and refusing to be a victim and leading an unafraid life. I'm talking bravery as in being gnarly and fearless and articulate and capable and a high achiever as compared to EVERYONE I know, seeing or hearing or not.

The description of the million little ways in which your hearing loss and your diminishing vision encroach on the practicalities of life surprises me and reminds me, with amazement, "oh yeah, cripes, Madeline is all the things she is and geez, she can't see very much." I've never known anyone like you and it makes me proud and impressed and sad and sort of desperately powerless all at the same time. Yikes. You push the boundaries of my imagination, and I'm so grateful and pleased to get to read your experience of the world.

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