Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Off Balanced - Stories Celebrating Unique Differences (Guest Post by author Zachary Fenell)

Stories Celebrating Unique Differences

Off Balanced dives into the thoughts of a teenager with the neurological disability cerebral palsy. Just like how cerebral palsy can throw one off balance physically, the condition can create mental unsteadiness. Learn how less than stellar balance, muscle tightness, and other CP symptoms influence the already emotional teenage mindset. 

Zachary Fenell

Zachary Fenell penned Off Balanced and writes on a freelance basis. Websites where you can read Fenell's published articles include The Mobility Resource, Special Education Guide, and Yahoo! Sports. Additionally he serves as the guest blog coordinator for Handicap This. Fenell graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in communication (minors-writing and philosophy) from Notre Dame College (NDC) of Ohio in May 2009. To learn more, visit

-Zachary Fenell
Author & Article/Content Writer
Email: Twitter: @zacharyfenell

Guest Post by Zachary Fenell

A good book makes reading an interactive process. The reader interacts with the text, creating mental images to correspond with the author’s words and harvesting emotional ties to the envisioned characters. With memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies the reader may also end up reflecting on his or her life. This remains one desire affect I maintain for my teenage memoir Off Balanced.

Now Off Balanced focuses on how having a mild case of the neurological disability cerebral palsy impacted me socially during adolescence. Please however don’t dismiss Off Balanced as exclusively disability reading. 

Too often disabilities get casted off to the side, causing isolation and consequently breeding misconceptions. In reality people with disabilities possess an overlooked similarity, the human element.

Perhaps friend, client, and fellow author Tim Wambach explains the human element best in his book How We Roll. He quotes the father to his Handicap This co-star Mike Berkson, Dennis Berkson. Dennis states “Everybody has their wheelchairs, most just aren’t visible.” Wheelchairs obviously present a metaphor for differences. Everybody has differences, most just aren’t visible.

Well written disability orientated memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies should contain mass appeal because essentially they offer tales celebrating unique differences. Those differences hold influence over how you react in shared situations, albeit shared literally or emotionally.

Take for instance your first major high school crush. How did he or she make you feel on a daily basis? Did you ever ask him or her out? Or did some difference about you stir up too many self-conscious thoughts to ask the truth exposing question? In Off Balanced I dedicate an entire chapter (Chapter 4 “My First Crush”) to my high school crush Donna Williams. My cerebral palsy left me exhibiting an inferior self-esteem around Donna. If you suffered from bad acne in high school or obsessively worried about your weight or say felt embarrassed by your family’s economic status, you will almost certainly connect to some sentiment I document.

See ultimately I’m a person, not a condition or label. Yes cerebral palsy makes me different but something about you makes you different too. Don’t ignore Off Balanced and other memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies based on their relation to disabilities. Rather consider these books stories celebrating unique differences.        

Purchase Off Balance on Amazon

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