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Kaleidoscope – Winter/Spring 2008

Kaleidoscope magazine “(explores) the experience of disability through literature and the fine arts.” The articles, essays, stories, and poems in this issue do just that, giving the reader insight into life with many different conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few. Most importantly, the authors featured in this magazine present honestly and admirably, without asking for pity, without resorting to sentimentality.

Kaleidoscope magazine “(explores) the experience of disability through literature and the fine arts.” The articles, essays, stories, and poems in this issue do just that, giving the reader insight into life with many different conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few. Most importantly, the authors featured in this magazine present honestly and admirably, without asking for pity, without resorting to sentimentality.

The essays were my favorite part of the magazine. In “Bruising Cycles,” Natalie Illum describes life with cerebral palsy, a condition which makes it difficult for her to walk. She describes her pain in detail: the bruises she gets from falling, the pain caused by a surgery to “unclamp my muscles,” the emotional drain of explaining her disability to curious strangers. On the other hand, Illum makes it clear, without boasting or preaching, that she has the strength to survive her pain, to turn it into art. I also enjoyed Hayley Mitchell Haugen’s essay, “Inheritance,” which explores her attitude toward disease through her experience with lupus, and Barbara Warman’s “The Freedom of Cages,” about living with multiple sclerosis.

The fiction and poetry in Kaleidoscope is more diverse, often dealing with disability lightly and indirectly, if at all. For me, this helps broaden the scope of the magazine, reminding the reader that people in general have more similarities than differences. For example, the speaker of Linda Herrings poems, “Solitude” and “Winter Evening,” both of which contrast a cozy indoor scene with nature’s menacing beauty, could be anyone, sick or well, able or less able. On the other hand, my favorite story, “At the Floating Palace” by Mary Dayle McCormick, tackles disability head on. In this story, a woman who has been paralyzed by an accident shares her experience with a man who is struggling with emotional wounds.

This Kaleidoscope also includes a couple of well-written, informative articles, and a selection of art by two featured artists. Overall, this magazine is providing an important service for its readers and its contributors, making the experience of disability more accessible for everyone.
[www.udsakron.org/kaleidoscope]

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