05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Monday, April 10, 2017

Different can mean Gifted!

By Marcia King-Gamble

Happy Easter! Happy Passover!  At last spring is here!

Admittedly, this month’s blog topic had me thinking long and hard.   What exactly is an “other abled person”?  It prompted me to look up the definition again.

The phrase was initially coined in the 1980s in an attempt to come up with politically correct verbiage for the disabled or handicapped. It was meant to turn something not so positive  into  something positive and hopefully reduce discrimination. 
That said, there’s a particular story line that resonates over the years; a book I just love.   Patricia Gaffney’s, Wild at Heart is an unforgettable read and one you should add to your "Must Keep" pile. The moment I picked up that book  I became a diehard fan of the author.  What a sensitive and brilliant execution of the old Tarzan story.

Here is a sneak preview of what to expect.

Set in 1893,  Sydney Darrow,  returns home after the death of her young husband, to find that her anthropologist father is involved with an astonishing discovery. He’s experimenting with the “Ontario Man”, a young man found in the Canadian wilderness, and said to be raised by wolves. Her father and his assistant Charles are researching whether a man in a feral state can be altruistic. 

Sydney is appalled that a human is still being treated like an animal. Michael is guarded and not able to interact with humans. With her little brother’s help, Sydney learns that the “Ontario Man” can speak. She coaxes him into revealing that his name is Michael MacNeil.

We find out Michael was lost as a boy.  As a man raised in a different environment he doesn’t understand social mores and simply reacts on his feelings. There are no boundaries of what’s acceptable or unacceptable. When he falls in love with Sydney, his reaction is all animal. He wants to feel, touch and do the deed, no preliminaries.  This poignant and touching story is of a man who has no idea how to play games and the woman who accepts him as he is.  

And here’s a quote from Amazon below.

“They called him the "lost man." Raised in the wood, without speech, without civilization, he was beautifully, wonderfully wild. And when he was captured and locked away to be studied by scientists, he was treated more like an animal than a human being.

Only Sydney, daughter of a renowned anthropologist, looked beyond the wildness to see the man.”

To this day, I cannot see the Tom Cruise movie, Born on the 4th of July again. This is the story of anti-war activist Ron Kovic who lost his ability to walk during the Vietnam War.  Watching the movie was a painful experience, and one I care not to repeat. It was a horrible reminder that in a blink of an eye, a person’s entire world can change.  The only upside of Ron Kovic's experience is that he made some positive changes and became an activist for peace. After meeting him and reading his memoir, Bruce Springsteen was inspired to write Shut out the Light.

My own experiences with an “Other Abled” character was one of my better selling books - Change of Heart. It later underwent a title change when I got my rights back. It is now titled His Golden Heart. and it continues to be reviewed well.

As a writer, I often think what if?  And so I thought, what if a champion skier, and America’s great black hope for gold at the winter Olympics, takes a tragic fall that leaves him wheel-chair bound, broken, and losing most of his endorsements.   And that was how Beau and Shayna's story was born. It takes a  special kind of woman like Shayna DaCosta to put Beau back together physically and mentally. 

While doing research and crafting this story,  I learned that men’s identities and egos are closely bound to their careers. Take that away from them, and they feel less of a man.  I used that knowledge to explain Beau Hill’s personality change when he loses his ability to walk. I needed to do so to make him a  likeable character.  He reacted to the way he was being treated.

Films and books like the ones mentioned made me realize how the non-ambulatory, and disabled are viewed.  We go out of our way to avoid the wheel-chair bound. We talk to the accompanying caregiver (if there is one) rather than the person. We seldom look that person in the eye, and we don’t extend the same courtesies as we do to a non-challenged person. For example, we take possession of a wheelchair, or arm without asking. We act as if this person is an inanimate object.

Here’s an interesting article that may drive home my point -

Moving forward then, perhaps when we think of the words “Other Abled” we should think of the savant.   

Oh, to be that gifted!

About Marcia King-Gamble
Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This former travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, and caring for her animal family.
Visit Marcia at or “friend” her on Facebook:


Barb said...

A very interesting post

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thank you, Barb.

Judith Ashley said...

Love this post, Marcia. Having worked in social services for many, many years with vulnerable adults including those who were wheelchair dependent as well as wheelchair bound, I'm very aware that people often do not see them.

My son is blind and uses a cane. I'm always amazed at how many people are so caught up with their cell phones they do not see him either or perhaps swerve at the last minute. In the grocery story they just run into him. No wonder he doesn't want to go out by himself - even though he actually can do so.

Will have to look for His Golden Heart - Winter Olympics is coming up in 2018!

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thank you for sharing Judith. I am sure you have seen it all. You should write, if you haven't already, about a sight challenged hero.

Judith Ashley said...

I just may do that, Marcia. He already thinks Lily (Book 1) son is based on him - at least at first. He wasn't happy about it ... so I'd need to be careful. (His wife reads my books).

Have you thought of a promo campaign for His Golden Heart with the Winter Olympics and Winter ParaOlympics coming up. A perfect tie in...

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thanks Judith, but this book is so old. His Golden Heart's my back list. I suppose I could resurrect it.