Since we’ve been trying to move the actual family room for more than a year, I consider this move of the virtual family room a big step in the right direction.
This is my first post here, after shuttering the space at Blogspot. Like any change, I’m a little sad to walk away from the old space and its comforts and familiarity. But I’m excited, too. I’m grateful to SUMY Designs (see their link for author websites) and my good friend and running buddy, RunnerSusan, for the new, clean look and navigation. This is my third round of website design since “See Sam Run” came out in 2008. I’m still grateful for my Denton Record-Chronicle co-workers, Karina Ramirez and Randena Hulstrand (now at UNT), for helping me think through what was needed on the first website. It was a great foundation, and each version we publish on the web gets a little better.
We’ve moved everything over, including the autism resources from “See Sam Run.” I will get my news clips uploaded very soon, something I wouldn’t have given any thought to five years ago, but is all-but-required of writer websites now. The annotated list of shale stories is still here, a service to those who have wandered into the Family Room over the years, and still do from time to time, looking for that help.
I’m the most excited about the room to grow. Shahla and I continue to chip away at our new book for parents of the bravest hearts. At least once a week we meet and talk and write together for a few hours. Lately, that’s been at Jupiter House, which makes me want to digress about the concept of the third place and how coffee shops replaced the neighborhood pub, but I won’t. Any more. Shahla Alai-Rosales, by the way, is a brilliant behavior analysis professor (winner of this year’s ‘Fessor Graham award) teaching at the University of North Texas and keeping her clinic chops sharp working with Easter Seals North Texas.
It’s a much slower pace of development than I’m accustomed to at the newspaper, but it’s still faster than the seven years it took me to write “See Sam Run” or the past five years I’ve been noodling with another memoir (the seeds of which are in Carrion.)
At first, Shahla and I had seven guideposts for parents. We’ve got that down to five. We plan a short book, and it is filling up with little fables that reflect the emotional landscape we parents work in. Shahla and I are assembling other bits of information in ways that should make the guideposts easy to understand and remember. We never forget how hard it is to be a parent and how pressed you can be for time to “sharpen the saw,” as the late Stephen Covey said in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and how high-stakes it feels when you are the parent of a child with a disability. Research has shown that some parents, when making a decision on behalf of their child of a disability, feel the same weight of that decision as world leaders do for their countrymen.
Welcome to the new Family Room. Hope to see you again soon.