Columnist shares her trials in her second book

Erin Kelly says that those in her house were never allowed to say “I can’t.”

In an interview on her upcoming autobiography, “The Resilient WriterWheels: Can’t is a Bad Word”, Kelly explains how that philosophy has been a focal point of her life and teachings.

Mirror: What about your book would you like to highlight for Altoona readers?

Kelly: The book traces my journey as a writer and author with cerebral palsy. My initial goal with my monthly column for The Altoona Mirror, as well as throughout my career, has been to teach people how to interact with those with challenges.

In the beginning, people would stop my family and chant how they loved my article. Now, they direct their conversation to me and that is my best accomplishment. Writing our crazy stories has been a blessing I don’t mind sharing. I am so grateful for their continued support and readership.

I also hope the book creates healthy, mindful conversation about disability in general and gives people something worthwhile to think about.

Mirror: Did you imagine a particular reader when you wrote this book? If so, who was that person?

Kelly: We all have challenges. However, it’s how we choose to deal with them that makes them less of a burden. A wise teacher once told me, “Everyone has challenges. Some you see, some you don’t,” and for this reason, I think we all can appreciate my everyday life and the trials and tribulations that I encounter.

In the end, it is how you meet your goal and, for this reason, I think all readers would benefit from this book.

Mirror: What were some challenges in writing this particular book? How did you overcome them?

Kelly: The biggest challenge with that was keeping up with the weekly deadlines while not compromising the quality of my work.

This book was originally a weekly column that I started for The Good Men Project, an online publication I write for. I began writing the column in September 2018, and it quickly turned into a year-long writing process with the help of my editor at GMP.

It has been both rewarding and challenging reviewing and writing this book. Many of the obstacles that I have learned from are also difficult to remember and review.

I particularly am saddened that my biggest supporters — my grandparents — are not here to share this joy of my second book with me. They used to brag that I was the “best writer in the world” and unfortunately, they were not alive to hold these books in their hands and read the words I have shared.

I have always wanted to be known for my ability rather than my disability.

Mirror: You have undoubtedly inspired many people with your poetry and prose, but who or what inspires you?

Kelly: For those who told me that writing was not a real job, your negativity motivated me to push further to give my readers optimism and hope. Particularly now, in these uncertain times. Ironically, my writing has opened many doors and given me the opportunity to travel down roads that I would have not been able to otherwise dream of.

Mirror: Will you be doing any local book signings?

Kelly: I look forward to holding book signings in our area. In this way, I can personally thank those loyal readers for continuing to follow my stories. Hopefully, the current situation with the coronavirus will be toned down by May.

Staff writer Dom Cuzzolina can be reached at 946-7428.

May 18 release

“The Resilient WriterWheels: Can’t is a Bad Word” will come out on May 18. Pre-orders are available at www.amazon .com/dp/B087BL4RRB. Updates and information on the book’s release are available at http://bit.ly/ ResilientWriter Wheels.

About the author: Erin M. Kelly was born with cerebral palsy and wants to be recognized for her work rather than her disability. She enjoys writing in all genres and has been published by The Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Mighty, The Good Men Project and others. Her essay, “Reluctant Reliance” is featured in the anthology, Bodies of Truth: Personal Essays on Illness, Disability, and Medicine. Erin served as editor for the memoir, To Cope and to Prevail, by Dr. Ilse-Rose Warg. She also writes a monthly column, “The View from Here,” for the local newspaper in Altoona, Pennsylvania, addressing the challenges she faces daily. Erin is the author of “How To Wait,” her debut collection of poetry. “The Resilient Writer Wheels: Can’t Is a Bad Word” is her autobiography.


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