I am sure enough on a roll today…catching up with my blogging and book talk.
Broken Voices is my first book that I have written for young adult readers. I am proud of this book because of its theme or subject matter that deals with being different and living with a disability; accepting it and coping with it, especially as a teenager. This story comes to life and Ella Rose is so real as she faces her challenges; she made me continue her story in Book 2. So I will be talking about that as well in another post. But here is a taste of what is going on inside the pages of this book.
Broken Voices Excerpt
Ella looked at herself in the full-length mirror hanging on the back of her closet door. Noticing the slight disarray, she tucked the beige blouse into the waistband of her brown tweed, pleated skirt. The corners of her mouth turned down at the sight of her brand new school uniform. “I am not feeling this,” the 13-year-old said, shaking her head at her appearance. “These drab colors and this uniform make me look like I am going to a scout meeting instead of high school.” She was matching from head to toe, including brown, knee-high socks, a tie, vest, and a brown sporty tam to go with the regulated school outfit. “What were they thinking when they concocted this fashion statement for 9th graders? This is the most uncouth dress code ever, just downright unfashionable!” The words tumbled as though she was talking with mush in her mouth, for her voice was distorted and inaudible. It was like her voice box was disconnected from the muscles in her throat. However, safe in her room, she felt free as a bird talking, for she knew what she was saying and she didn’t feel embarrassed at how she sounded. “They would never wear anything like this to school in Savannah Georgia.”
Before, she could wear the colorful dresses that she loved, or wear her favorite patched jeans with a tee shirt if she wanted. But not anymore, the new school had a strict dress code. They wanted everybody to be the same. All students had to appear equal and uniform. Everybody had to feel that they fit in; whether you were black, white, rich, or poor. However, for Ella, she knew it was going to take more than a regulated uniform for her to feel comfortable and normal, because she wasn’t like everyone one else. She had a handicap and she already knew that kids tend to frown at those who are different.
Thinking it over and speaking aloud the words trickled from her lips. “Being deaf and having speech difficulties would be hard to play off amongst a bunch of strangers.” She wasn’t sure how she would accomplish this without seeming like a snob.
She placed the brown hat on her head and tilted it to the side, trying to add a little coolness and flair to the drab outfit. Not liking the way she looked, she began to complain. “Oh I can’t wear this! Grandma always said that a hat makes a lady look dignified, but this one makes me look like a dork!” Feeling terrible with the way the hat was looking on her head, she snatched it off and tossed it on her bed.
“Hats are for church going and special occasions. Besides, I prefer pretty hats that are girlish looking, big and floppy, because that’s how you do it when you are from Savannah, Georgia.” She began to sway back and forth in front of the mirror as though she was dancing. A smile appeared on her face as she thought of her old home and her old school; she picked up her favorite yellow big hat with the tiny red rose buds around the rim and placed it on her head. She had worn this hat with a yellow, lacy dress to the mother-daughter luncheon at the Silent World Academy, a school for the deaf. She wore it then and she wore it again the day she graduated from the 8th grade.
Standing at the mirror, she was like a Myna bird, talking up a storm, just like she did when she went to the deaf school in Georgia. There she felt normal; her speech problem didn’t embarrass her or make her feel inadequate, unusual, or weird. It was not out of the ordinary seeing students speaking through sign language or writing notes to communicate, or speaking with a voice that sounded strained. But, it was going to be different and difficult now, for her biggest fear was being amongst the normal kids with voices and ears that work. How was she going to communicate with them without feeling uneasy?
Ella flopped down on her bed; she lay across it with her hands folded under her chin as she stretched out on her stomach, her floppy hat still on her head. “I hate going through this; being different sucks! I just won’t go! Why should I?” She uttered. “The kids aren’t going to accept me because I am not normal anyway. They are just going to tease and make fun because my voice is strange, but I can speak! I am deaf, not mute like a fish and I can read lips, because I am not blind as a bat!” Feeling defeated, she just couldn’t understand why her handicap would be a problem for others when it wasn’t a problem for her. She accepted it, now why can’t they? Why can’t kids just be nice to one another she thought? That’s what’s not normal. It’s not me! It’s them!