Imagine you use a mobility device like a wheelchair. You pick up a book to read but no one depicted in the pages looks or moves like you. In fact, the characters are often written as people who are angry or depressed because of their disability. Enter, Burlington writer Jill M. Allen. She has penned a book of short stories where the characters live full lives and their disability is just one aspect of who they are.
Allen recently spoke to VPR about the self-published book, The Green Mountains Deep: Fiction About Disabled Vermonters By A Disabled Vermonter.
In her writing, Allen said she used her own life as a catalyst. She drives a power wheelchair and set out to break some common stereotypes about people who live with disabilities that often grace the pages of books.
Allen said as a younger person, she assumed people with disabilities were either always angry or depressed because of their disability. Allen said she bought into the stereotype that they, "didn't do anything because that's what they did in books."
She said she writes fiction and ballads about women Vermonters who are, "like other Vermonters; they laugh, they cry, they love, they speak their minds and they perform acts of heroism." They are complex characters who are, "active and have control of their fate."
Jill M. Allen's book The Green Mountains Deep: Fiction About Disabled Vermonters By A Disabled Vermonter is available soon at Phoenix Books and in ebook form. Contact the author directly, on Facebook or Instagram.