November 19, 2012
Nearly 90 local writers celebrated the launch of VSA Charlottesville-Albemarle's latest book at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center in Charlottesville on Monday.
The 136-page book is a combination of poetry, prose, photographs and drawings, all written by people with disabilities and their caretakers.
Writers of all ages lined up to pick up their own copies of the book before sharing their pieces with the crowd.
"Some people with disabilities may not be able to express themselves verbally or orally," said VSA co-chair Sarah Blech. "So, writing is just a different way of doing that."
Rose Williams, a VSA self-enrichment educator, has contributed to all 12 books the group has released. She also encourages students to learn the power of the pen by teaching writing workshops at schools.
"I always tell my students, whatever feelings they have -- whether they're good or bad or in between -- if you take them from your heart and put them on paper, and you go back and read it later, it's wonderful," said Williams.
VSA committee member Mary Miller said the poetry book and celebration helps some of the writers find their voice.
"Through poetry, a lot of people are able to express sentiment and feelings that they otherwise might be too shy to share just straightforward," said Miller.
And the VSA community gives them the chance to share their thoughts in a positive atmosphere.
"In this group, everybody supports every poem, every thought, every word that people are willing to share," said Miller.
The local VSA group is part of an international organization that celebrates art and disabilities. VSA Charlottesville-Albemarle's next big event is a visual arts show in January.