On Being a Dirty Utopian

planet of the blind

Non-disabled people think ableism is part of a hierarchy—as if treating others poorly or illegally is indexible. I’ve heard it said that “the disabled are just the latest to be (insert phrase here) “necessary for us to think about….” (does nicely) and along with this comes “you best get in line” as if human rights are a kind of supermarket.

I realize I’m just banging my head against a tree by talking about this. I’ve been talkin’ about this all my life. I’ll go to my grave talkin’ ‘bout it.

On the roadside are mushrooms and crimson leaves.
On the mountain of imagination are extraordinary beings with equally extraordinary wings.

Silly utopian. Why can’t he admit the grime of human relations is the lion’s share?

Gandhi: “I make no hobgoblin of consistency. If I am true to myself from moment to moment, I do not mind all the inconsistencies that may be flung in my face.”

My consistency is my hobby horse if not my hobgoblin.

I believe when universities, businesses, public occasions purport to be open to the public they must include the disabled public seamlessly and without grudge.

No inconsistency there.

It’s the grime of insistence makes one—well, gritty.

I’m a dirty utopian.

Stephen Kuusisto and HarleyABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.

Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey is now available for pre-order:
Barnes and Noble

Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto

(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger 

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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