The Editor of The Hearing Journal, a medical publication that focuses on hearing impairments and deafness, and is regarded as "The Industry's Most Respected Publication" contacted me after she caught wind of Rachel's testimony at the State Capitol. She asked me if I would be willing to write an article explaining the events that took place around Rachel getting the law passed in Connecticut. I was elated and honored to do so. When I began to write, I had an idea. For years, since she could hold a crayon in her hand, my 11 year old daughter has said that she wants to be a writer someday. So I thought, let's put her to the test. I asked the Editor if we could submit an article with both our perspectives. She loved the idea.
When I proposed the idea to Rachel, she said, "Mom, I want to be a fiction writer." I said back, "Okay, then go pretend this all happened to someone else." She looked at me and said, "M-aaaaahhhmmm," as only a pre-teenager can do and get away with. (It's the precursor to, 'Gaaaahhhhd. You're sooooo stupid. I hate you. You ruin everything!") But seeing as she is only 11, and I still have some control, (or at least I fool myself into thinking that I do), my daughter typed up her 750 word allotment and I did too. We submitted it and the Editor said she loved it. She emphasized that it was "GREAT" and said, "Rachel has a clear command of the English language for someone so young. I barely did any editing!"
To see the actual online article that was submitted to 14,000 readers, primarily audiologists, click here: Hearing-Impaired Girl Advocates Law for Deaf Students.
I was happy to see that the editors didn't change too too much. Rachel's article is almost verbatim; mine was cut a little. But I guess audiologists don't need to know:
My only experience with deafness was when I was a child, I had a deaf cat. We couldn’t call to the cat to come because she couldn't hear us. So, to get her attention, we would throw inanimate objects near the cat to cause a vibration so she would look around. When telling my daughter the story of my cat, she asked, horrified, “Mom, did you ever throw things at me?” “’Near’, Dear. I said I threw things ‘near’ the cat, not at. And no, I never threw things at you. But your messy room made it tempting.”
Another thing that was cut:
I drove her to the Capitol so she could contribute to the process, but must admit that the only thing I knew about Bills was from “Schoolhouse Rock - I’m just a Bill on Capitol Hill”.
Being the musical person that I am, this just made sense to include in the article. But I guess if anything had to be cut, these two things were inconsequential to the story and I was fine with it. I have submitted other publications and had them destroyed by editors, making my words barely recognizable to what I said. So I thank Jennifer Verlangieri, the Editor of The Hearing Journal, for not massacring our words and keeping the content close to what we submitted.
My Kaneclusion: I take everything that happens in life as an opportunity to teach my daughter something. This whole experience was no different. I want her to find her passion in life and if I can help her do that, then I consider my job as a mother to be a success. She wants to be a writer, yes. But more specifically, she wants to be a graphic novelist. For my birthday this year, Rachel worked for weeks to make me her first graphic novel. It was nothing short of spectacular. With explicit detail, she drew an adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz" but changed the characters to resemble the closest people in her life. My character was Dorothy. I was just so thankful that she didn't pick the Wicked Witch of the West for me. Or worse yet, the Wicked Witch of the East, having no part in the story whatsoever but having my red and white striped socks rolling up under the house that just dropped on me, killing me instantly. (Thank you, Rachel!) The entire book was incredible. Getting to my point, before submitting our articles to The Hearing Journal, I asked Rachel to create some graphics that the editors might consider using. Being a medical publication, they chose not to publish the graphics, but I am including them here for posterity:
|Rachel's Its Now a Law Graphic #1|
|Rachel's Mom and Her Transistor Radio Graphic #2|
The online eNewsletter article has also been submitted to their published monthly newsletter that reaches 22,000 readers. If it does go to print, Rachel will receive a printed version of her first published work! Very exciting! - Even though she would have preferred it to be a graphic novel, it still looks good for the college manuscript.
To see the printed pdf version, click here.