|photo via Charleston City Paper|
That beautiful woman is my friend Alison Piepmeier. I have never met Alison in person, but I've read her writing for years, delighted in her adorable daughter Maybelle, and one, glorious night talked on the phone with her for more than an hour when she was visiting southern California. She appears in the extreme parenting video that I made years ago as well (her writing about Maybelle's Down Syndrome is some of the most incisive disability writing today). Alison is a rebel, an intellectual, a raucous feminist, and a warm and beautiful person of formidable intellect. She just had brain surgery and is struggling to articulate herself in the way she has for many years as a vocal advocate for the disabled, the underserved, women, and the LGBT community. The surgery impacted the part of her brain that governs speech and language, and while she has a good chance of recovering, she still faces chemo and radiation. This morning, I sat in bed sipping coffee and was delighted to see that she had written a column again for the Charleston City Paper. What I didn't expect was to find myself weeping pretty copious amounts of tears into my coffee. The column is decisively NOT inspiration porn -- that bane of many of us in the disability community -- but it is at once heartbreaking and tremendously inspiring. It'll take your tears and your breath.
Molto forte e corragio, Alison. We love you.