Today, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing a good writer friend of mine. Deon Lyons, with his lovely wife of 32 years, lives in Central Maine, where he had been gainfully employed as a successful regional sales rep throughout Central Maine for over 25 years. Mr. Lyons lost vision in his left eye in 1960 from a bout he waged with infancy retinal cancer. He maintained vision in his right eye until 2010, where at the age of 50, suffered from a central retinal arterial occlusion, which robbed him of his remaining vision. Shortly thereafter, Deon made the commitment to learn touch typing, and with the help of assistive technology, has enthusiastically rediscovered the digital world, along with a lifetime passion for writing. His creative works revolve around fiction, poetry, personal essays, short stories and a personal blog.
In the past year, Deon has self published a novel entitled Sully Street, along with a collection of poems. He has also recently taken steps to enroll in a community college in the fall of 2014.
Deon’s writings have been published in local newspapers, online magazines, and have appeared in periodic online publications associated with both blindness organizations and his writer’s groups. His constant message of inspiration and hope has appeared in local newspapers, on several Internet radio shows and has rewarded him with enormous insight from these opportunities.
Over the past four years, Deon has also been afforded vocational and independence rehabilitation, again through the state’s DBVI program. He has received extensive training in independent living, as well as orientation and mobility lessons. Through his life’s experiences these past few years, he has entered this next chapter in his life with optimism,determination and hope.
With incredible inspiration from family,friends and the amazing folks in the blind community, he strives to continue moving forward with his new found aspirations for many years to come.
Here’s how this gentleman, who’s totally blind, fulfills his desire to be a writer. Please read to the end or you’ll miss some amazing stuff.
Question 1: What am I working on?
Answer: At the moment, I am working on a sequel to my Sully Street novel. The story, entitled Good Bye Savannah, is a story about the days of Southern plantations, slavery and the amazing strength of the human spirit. It’s a story about a family that finds a way to stand together under incredible forces that consistently attempt to rip them apart. It’s about how bred ownership of the human spirit can manage to be disrupted by a change in direction that brings the heart back in line with the goodness the world has to offer. I am having a hard time keeping my emotions in check while writing this story, as it has a habit of picking me up and carrying me back through time to a place that I believe we all can feel from the inside, out.
I am also continuing to write posts for my blog, pieces for my two writer’s groups, and my poetry continues to sprout new visions from deep inside my soul.
As time goes by, my passion for writing continues to grow, and as I learn the craft from some amazingly unique perspectives, I realize that as I grow, my writing will also find growth.
Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Answer: Well here comes my embarrassment. I don’t really know how to answer this question, except to admit that I have not done much reading over the years. I did read a little back in my younger billy goat days, when I was just a kid, but that was a long time ago. I read the Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, and a few other authors, such as Ray Bradbury and Howard Fast, but going back to the genre question, I’m not sure what genre they wrote in, what genre other writers wrote in, and what genre I am writing in.
One thing that I know for certain, my style of writing must differ greatly from others, especially those who write the same types of stories as I do. I write the movie that plays in my head. I sit, I think, the movie starts to play out and I try to keep up with it. Some days, it comes as fast as I can type, other days, it comes in chunks, but it always comes.
I recently finished a chapter for submission for critique, and one member commented that she hated a character in the chapter. I told her that as I pictured that particular character while typing, my heart pounded and my teeth clenched, as if she was real. She was real, and she came alive as I typed. It was an amazing feeling, and I relish those moments.
I also tell folks that I feel some times as though I am a portal, a conduit if you will, a channel in which an event takes place through me, onto the screen. When I go back and read some of my works, its as if someone else wrote the piece. It’s an eerie feeling sometimes, but it’s also an amazingly inspirational feeling that I can’t escape, and choose not to want to escape.
Question 3: Why do I write what I do?
Answer: When I first learned touch typing after my vision loss in 2010, I started to write emails to notify folks back home how I was doing at an independent living program at the Carroll Center in Newton, Mass. I wrote to thank folks for their support, but I also wrote because I fell back in love with the process of writing. I had always had a passion for writing as a child, but never explored its possibilities.
I quickly found that as I continued my writing, I learned from my experiences. I learned about myself, how my vision loss had affected me, how much I was inspired by folks around me, how much family meant to me, how much I had to learn about myself so that I may continue to move forward with the next chapter in my life.
My writing became a form of therapy for me, and as I became a member of two writer’s groups, the therapy became a passion once again for me, and I had found a purpose in my life that had both direction, and meaning. My writing became a part of me, and I, a part of it.
I have grown from my writing. I have been able to discover things about myself that I had never paid attention to. I finally started to understand who I was, who I am, and who I was working to become.
I imagine everyone receives some form of medicine from their writing. I know I do. I think some times that it’s as if I became blind, so that I could see, or write.
I’m still working on the medicine, and the task is continuing to prove itself worthy.
4: How does your writing process work?
Well, this is an answer that can have many different directions. As I listen to the different styles and characteristics of folks in the different writer’s groups I belong to, I understand that my style is my own. It’s unlike anyone else’s that I know. Some folks need to create full, detailed outlines of their stories or pieces before they start to write them. Others write of what they know and understand. It’s factual and constructed from pure evidence. Some write from emotion and some write from hate and discontentment.
My writing starts from within and creates emotions inside me that stem from the movie playing out in my mind. I swear, some days it’s as if I am at the theater with a box of popcorn, watching the big screen tell a big story. I hear it, I feel it, I sense it, understand it, try to avoid it and run towards it. It becomes a moment of my life that carries with it the memories similar to those of my own personal life. In a way, it becomes my very own personal experience, and then, I write.
My poetry comes at me in flurries. The rhythm flows with a melodic motion that carries the tune of word.
My essays, blog entries and short stories are formed the same way. I am a creative writer, and my passion is expression of emotion and feeling. I tend to write all over the place, like a ping pong ball, but I continue to write. My blog tells so much of what I have been through and how the inspiration seems to matter more today than it ever has before. I am grateful, and my writing tends to define that fact.
The message is always pure and concise. The meaning sometimes eludes me, until I go back and read it, for what seems like the first time. Again, it’s as if I am reading someone else’s typed words. I talk of this phenomenon quite often, but that’s only because it’s so prominent. It always is, and I always am right there, experiencing it all.
I have a process, this I know, but I’m not sure what you would call it, other than my style. Someone in my group, earlier on, told me that they understood Stephen King used to write this way in his earlier days. I couldn’t believe I was being compared to the great master of Eastern Maine. I was humbled and speechless, but I was also a little embarrassed because I didn’t know anything about this amazing author, other than he was definitely rich, and from Bangor.
I’ll stick with the process that seems to work for me. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s all I have for the time being.
Find out more about this dynamic writer at personal Blog.
Connect on Facebook: Deon Lyons
Connect on Skype: dplion784