Since I started writing about aspects of disability, people who deal with various challenges have become friends and colleagues, and I've become a fan of their art.
|Belo Cipriani at El Rio|
As with my previous novel, I'd like to mention the terrific writers who blurbed my book, but who also did more. What's interesting is how the people who helped me write my last two books have stepped outside their comfort zones to push their boundaries.
Belo Cipriani is not only an author and educator. He's also a representative for Guide Dogs for the Blind. And he likes to entertain fans at readings.
Here's Belo at a Literary Death Match event a while back:
And he does stand-up comedy, which is a very brave risk to take. I recently attended a Comedy Returns night at El Rio where Belo performed. His new guide dog only slightly upstaged him (see the photo above).
Here's Belo's blurb of my new book:
"With lively, electric prose, Provenzano conjures an epic love story. He reminds the reader that there's always something after the murkiest of fates and will make the doubtful believe in romance again. Message of Love makes a significant contribution to disability and queer literature while touching the heart of the general reader."
Thanks to Belo!
One of several artists who offered pointers on Message of Love is Joel Brown, a member of AXIS Dance.
Recently dubbed "Superman in a wheelchair" by the Bay Area Reporter's dance critic, Brown's also an accomplished musician. And while he's not like my fictional character Everett (sorry, guys, he's straight), his energy and curiosity are engaging.
Here's Joel doing part of his workout in a park in Oakland. Check out the shoulders on his guy!
After performing in AXIS Dance's premiere of new works at their recent home season, Brown recently performed a workshop version of a solo work that combines his music, some stories, and some pretty astounding physical movement. Look for a video on Mark McBeth's site soon. In the meantime, check out Joel's music videos here.
One could easily imagine my fictional character Everett Forrester doing such a workout as shown above. Except with Message of Love being set in the early 1980s, I'm not sure he'd have a such newer and light enough chair or straps to do pullups in his chair, so I didn't write such a description, but you get the point.
And speaking risk-taking, imagine being asked to make a stripped-down acoustic version of a popular rock song from the 1980s. Dudley Saunders did that for my book trailer, and you can download the song here.
In my fiction, I've characterized good people pushing their boundaries, people with values and goals. And by some good fortune, I've been able to meet such people as well.
Which, again, is why I don't write about zombies.