Reimagining the Good Life with Amy Julia Becker

Disability and the Language We Use with Andrew Leland

February 20, 2024 Andrew Leland Season 7 Episode 10
Disability and the Language We Use with Andrew Leland
Reimagining the Good Life with Amy Julia Becker
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Reimagining the Good Life with Amy Julia Becker
Disability and the Language We Use with Andrew Leland
Feb 20, 2024 Season 7 Episode 10
Andrew Leland

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Is blindness an incidental characteristic, like hair color? Or is it an identity? What language should we use to talk about disability, and why does it matter? Andrew Leland, author of The Country of the Blind, joins Amy Julia Becker on the podcast for a conversation examining:

  • Blindness and identity
  • The importance of language and the use of metaphors in relation to disability
  • How the experience of disability can involve beauty, power, and loss
  • The role of allies in advocating with disabled individuals
  • How Andrew has reimagined the good life

Amy Julia’s upcoming events
Guest Bio:
Andrew Leland is a writer, audio producer, editor, and teacher living in Western Massachusetts. His first book, The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight, about the world of blindness (and figuring out his place in it), was published in July 2023 by Penguin Press. You can find links to order a copy here.
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On the Podcast:


YouTube: video with closed captions
Reimagine the Good Life with me through the lens of disability, faith, and culture as we challenge assumptions about the good life, proclaim the inherent belovedness of every human being, and envision a world of belonging. Find out more at

Connect with me:

Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Is blindness an incidental characteristic, like hair color? Or is it an identity? What language should we use to talk about disability, and why does it matter? Andrew Leland, author of The Country of the Blind, joins Amy Julia Becker on the podcast for a conversation examining:

  • Blindness and identity
  • The importance of language and the use of metaphors in relation to disability
  • How the experience of disability can involve beauty, power, and loss
  • The role of allies in advocating with disabled individuals
  • How Andrew has reimagined the good life

Amy Julia’s upcoming events
Guest Bio:
Andrew Leland is a writer, audio producer, editor, and teacher living in Western Massachusetts. His first book, The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight, about the world of blindness (and figuring out his place in it), was published in July 2023 by Penguin Press. You can find links to order a copy here.
Connect Online:

On the Podcast:


YouTube: video with closed captions
Reimagine the Good Life with me through the lens of disability, faith, and culture as we challenge assumptions about the good life, proclaim the inherent belovedness of every human being, and envision a world of belonging. Find out more at

Connect with me:

Thanks for listening!

Note: This transcript is autogenerated using speech recognition software and does contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Amy Julia (6s):
What does disability have to do with identity? What language should we use to talk about disability? And why does that matter? How can the experience of blindness involve beauty and power and loss all at the same time? I'm Amy Julia Becker, and this is Reimagining the Good Life. A podcast about challenging the assumptions about what makes life good, proclaiming the inherent belovedness of every human being, and envisioning a world of belonging. I'm here today with Andrew Leland, author of The Country of the Blind A Memoir at the End of Sight. This was such a rich conversation.

Amy Julia (46s):
Andrew Leland is a writer, an audio producer, editor, and teacher living in Western Massachusetts. His book is about the world of blindness and figuring out his place in it, and it combines all the aspects of a Memoir that make for a good story, while also delving into philosophy and ethics and politics and history and disability studies. So when I was reading it, I both enjoyed myself as a reader, and I also learned a lot, which is no small feat. So you are going to enjoy learning and listening as he shares his story today as well, I'm sure. But before I turn this over to our conversation, I also wanted to tell you about three upcoming speaking events that might be of interest.

Amy Julia (1m 32s):
So one For, those of you who are listening on the day, this episode drops February 20th. I will be speaking tonight virtually for the Virginia Down Syndrome Association about setting our kids up to thrive as adults. So If, you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome, in particular, you might be interested in that. Two, I'm speaking in another virtual event on Friday, March 1st for the Trinity Forum. That talk is called Perfectly Human. Why Understanding Disability Matters to All of Us. And three, I will be speaking in person in Matthews, North Carolina at Matthews United Methodist Church on March 3rd.

Amy Julia (2m 14s):
We'll be preaching in all three services and then offering a separate talk that evening. We will put a link in the show notes with more information about all three of these events and how to register for the virtual ones. All right here's my conversation with Andrew Leland. Well, I'm so grateful to be sitting here with my Guest Andrew Leland today. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us. Oh, thanks for having me. Absolutely. I first read an essay of yours in the New Yorker last summer, and it was super compelling. It was called How to Be Blind. We will link to it in the show notes. And that is what prompted me to read your book, which is called The, Country of the Blind.

Amy Julia (2m 57s):
And honestly, I try not to gush about guests because it makes it seem like I, you know, have no critical ability to assess your work or something. but I really can't gush enough about your book. And it, it was just as thrilling to me to get to have a conversation with you here today. So thank you very much again. Oh, thank you. and I thought maybe one of the things you referenced in the book is that you worked on it for years. I mean, I think, I think at one point you said 10 years and So I thought maybe you could tell us about you and the book by talking about the process of writing it. So if that seems like a way into learning about you and about the topic of your book, why don't we start there?

Andrew (3m 42s):
Sure. Yeah. 10 years is maybe ambitious estimate. I don't think it was quite that long. Although with a book like this, you know, there's definitely pieces of writing that, you know, we're in journal entries going back at least that far. But, but there was really, I would say, three years of like really intensive, concentrated writing and revising. But, but yeah, because it's so much about an experience that lasted, you know, 20 years or more of gradually losing vision over that period, it feels like, you know, I was gestating it for that long. But, but yeah, So I, you know, I was diagnosed with, with retinitis pigmentosa or RP when I was a teenager. And at that time it was really manifesting as night blindness.

Andrew (4m 24s):
So I would, I would notice that I was worse than my friends at wandering around the woods at night or finding my seat in the movie theater. You know, and, and then from that point, from the point of sort of self-diagnosis a couple years later to, you know, being, getting an official diagnosis, you know, every two to five years there would be another milestone of some kind. You know, maybe at some point in my, in my twenties, I thought driving at night doesn't feel safe, but I can still drive during the day. That feels fine, you know, and then driving during the day and then riding a bike and, you know, I I, I sort of made it through all these milestones and I had it in the back of my head. Like, this is an experience that would probably be worth riding about.

Andrew (5m 6s):
At least. It's would be interesting, you know, maybe there's a novel or something. But, but it always, blindness always really felt distant in, in a way, still even through those milestones. 'cause like, I would stop driving at night, but then I would just be like walking around town without a cane, just like a what am I, what do I have to do with blindness? And then it was about eight years ago or so now that when I moved to Massachusetts, I decided to just, I, I owned a white cane. I, I, I kept it folded up in my bag all the time. and I really only used it if I was like, by myself in a dark place that I knew I was gonna like, spill a beer on somebody or step on somebody's foot or something like that. Yeah. And, but then when I moved to Massachusetts, I just thought, okay, I just, this is, this is, this is, this would be helpful to use more.

Andrew (5m 51s):
I'm sort of so ashamed of it, I'm just gonna use it all the time. And then as soon as I made that decision, blindness became really front and center Mm. In the way people saw me, the way I saw myself, you know, from strangers to family members. And that was really the beginning of the writing process, because that social transformation where everywhere I went inside or out was sort of unavoidable. And it was just in my face. And then, and then it started to, I started to find pathways outward from it. In other words, it wasn't just like about my own experience and my own obsessing over it. It was, it was pointing towards interesting questions about identity and, and technology and literature and, you know, all these sort of things that I was already interested in.

Andrew (6m 38s):
Anyway, so then there was this sort of snowball effect. And then I, yeah, I started kind of like working seriously. And then I, you know, I don't know how much of the kind of publishing e details you want, but basically that turned into finding an agent who helped me understand what a book proposal was, and then sold that and then, yeah. And then I, that, that bought me three years to really hunker down and just, and just focus on writing the book.

Amy Julia (7m 3s):
Yeah. That's amazing. Just that you were able to do, so this is your first book.

Andrew (7m 10s):
Yeah. Yeah.

Amy Julia (7m 11s):
I mean, that's just, it's a such a feat of a book in and of itself, but that's even more as someone who's written a number of books, it is quite something. So. Well, there are a couple ways, places I wanna go and I think. Let's hit on the identity question. 'cause you brought it up and maybe I, there was a place where, well, actually this comes up a couple times in the book that you write about how some people see blindness as an attribute or a characteristic and others as an identity. Could you start just by reflecting on the difference between those two first, you know, listeners who don't quite know what I mean when I give those two options, and then also how you see yourself within those two possibilities?

Andrew (7m 53s):
Yeah, that's a great question. Yeah. So, so one of the first places that my research brought me when I started to look into blindness was the National Federation of the Blind or the NFB. And they are important for a number of reasons. They're the, they're the kind of organized Blind movement is, is one way they refer to themselves in this sort of beginning of, in this country at least, but I think, you know, in, in, in the history of blindness, it's, it's an important moment where Blind people say, you know, we're not, we're not reliant on sighted people to sort of, you know, create services for us. We are, you know, we are the national Federation of the Blind. Yeah, yeah. And, and, and, and their philosophy has been really influential and also really controversial among Blind people, you know, they, they're not afraid of, of causing trouble, you know?

Andrew (8m 42s):
And Hmm. And, you know, they're activists and, and, and, but one of the things that one of their leaders and many of their leaders have talked about is this idea that blindness is a neutral characteristic. It's sort of an incidental characteristic, like, like hair color, let's say. Yeah. And, you know, which is a pretty radical idea, If, you tell the average person on the street, like, oh, yeah, blindness. Like, that's, that's just like hair color that you happen to, you know, the color of a house, but it's powerful, you know, and it connects to a bigger idea and disability, this sort of social model, which is this idea that it's, you know, it's not blindness that's the problem. It's the fact that all the textbooks are only available in print, or, you know, it's not having a mobility and Disability that's the problem.

Andrew (9m 25s):
It's the fact that you're, you built a school that only has stairs as an entrance. Yeah. And, and, and, and, and, and If, you look at it in those terms, the, the, the attribute can be sort of neutral or incidental, and it's, and, and so that's, but then as I started thinking about that, you know, that blindness is not what defines you as one of the nfps sort of taglines, you know, then I started kind of running against this, this, this apparent contradiction in my mind of like, okay, so if it's incidental, then why are you the national Federation of the Blind? Like, and you're a proud Blind person, and like, where does this sort of centrality of the identity come in and how is it in conversation with the sort of fact that it, it doesn't mean anything, right? It's just, it's just incidental.

Andrew (10m 6s):
And that really in some ways is the animating question of the book and, and of my own life as I sort of e edge closer and closer to, you know, real blindness, whatever real blindness might, might mean. You know, how am I gonna, how am I gonna conceive of it? And so, yeah, you asked me, I guess as part of your question, like, where, where do I fit? Yeah. And you know, I think for myself and I think in thinking about a lot of other Blind people I've spoken to, they're often, and also just I think the way people experience identity, there's not often a fixed answer, right? Yeah. Like on some days you, it is central, and on other days it's not. And there's some hours, you know, and I think, one example that I think about is comparing it to like, like gender.

Andrew (10m 51s):
Like, you know, there are times when my identity as a man feels central, right? Like if I'm doing manly thing, whatever, you know, if I'm like, you know, being a father, right? Like in some ways a fa being fatherly is like a sort of quintessentially masculine feeling thing. Yeah. Which is, that can be contested in any number of ways, but I'll just go with it for the, for the sake of argument. Yeah. But then, like, there's other times when I'm like eating lunch and it's not like I'm eating the salad as a man, or like, you know, national identity is another one, right? Like, yeah. Immigration, you know, when I'm in line for customs, like being an American pretty central thing, I'm like, gripping my pa passport, holding it up, you know? But I'm not like an American. I'm not making a American grilled cheese sandwich.

Andrew (11m 32s):
I'm just like a dude making a grilled cheese sandwich. Yeah. And So I think disability works like that too. And, and, and the last thing I'll say about it I is, is that often discrimination or, you know, prejudice can, can, can, can be a factor in driving, which how you relate to it. So, so in other words, like I could just be walking down the street as a guy going to pick his kid up from school, but then somebody says, oh, sir, let me help you across the street. And suddenly I am forced into like being a Blind man. Yes. And there was nothing about me or my day that needed to, but then there's this sort of external force that that, that pushes me in one way or the other.

Amy Julia (12m 13s):
I was struck when you were speaking, my gosh, I have so many thoughts. And one is, again, like the social model of disability and how it can be really helpful, but also limited. I even think about the fact that I've used my, I have two daughters who wear glasses and I have used that as a way to explain a social model of disability, which in and of itself might be problematic because I'm saying to them, well, when you put your glasses on, you can see Hmm. And so you're no longer disabled and you wouldn't have, think, think of yourself as someone with a disability because you have your glasses. And yet that's still saying the way to be able in this world is to be able to see with your eyes, right?

Amy Julia (12m 58s):
Like, so it's interesting, I mean, I've just thought about that literally for the first time as you were speaking. I'm like, oh, is my analogy not really that helpful? Or is it a way? 'cause I want them to understand that using a wheelchair is a way to get from here to there not a mark of not being able to do something. And that there are ways in which we always are living. And you, you make this point that like technology is always about expanding human possibility and I think so, so there's a part of me that feels like the limitations that come with Disability are just a magnification of the limitations that come with humanity. Yeah. And so there's a very blurry line if we really want to try to define disability and not, I also think it can be helpful.

Amy Julia (13m 49s):
I mean, I know that it is helpful from like a political perspective to define disability. Yeah. So that there are like rights and protections and services that, and supports, whether that is like, yes, you get to go to school here, or you get to have a job here, So, I, think there's the questions you are asking in this book run in lots of those different directions. And I, I think it's helpful to kind of push the point a little bit. The last thing I'll say here, and then I would love to hear your response, is just that you describe being at a convention with, I don't know, hundreds, thousands of other Yeah. People. Yeah.

Amy Julia (14m 29s):
And on the one hand, it was kind of this liberating experience, and on the other hand, it was exhausting. Yeah. So on the one hand that you could say like, blindness becomes a characteristic because everybody's Blind, and so who cares? And yet on the other hand, the amount of kind of energy it took for you to be there was somewhat overwhelming.

Andrew (14m 48s):
Totally. Yeah. That's so interesting. So I

Amy Julia (14m 51s):
Respond to whatever you want from what I just said.

Andrew (14m 54s):
Yeah. No, I mean, I think there's a lot in what you just said and I think, I think it comes down to the idea of norms, you know? And, and there's this idea of what, what a normal person can do. I, I, I'm very influenced by the writing of Sarah Hendren, I don't know If, you know her book? Yes.

Amy Julia (15m 10s):
She's, she's been this podcast before.

Andrew (15m 12s):
Oh, awesome. Yeah. And, and, you know, And I think she makes that point that I, that I kind of borrow in my book about, you know, we, we think about assistive technology, but really all, all technology is assistive technology. I use magnifiers and a screen reader to write and to read. But, but those are extending my capabilities. There's really no difference between that dynamic and someone using their high-speed internet connection to zoom into work, or their car to drive to work, or shoes to walk across a freezing tarmac, you know, whatever. And, and so, and the difference is as you suggest, like, just about about norms, like what the sort of majority of people kind of have socially agreed to accept as like normal and not in need of an accommodation.

Andrew (15m 59s):
And then there's this blurry boundary line where if you're on the outside of it, then you are disabled and you do need one So I think, yeah. I mean, I'm just, in some ways just echoing what you just said, but, but I think you're getting at that kind of two different, seemingly opposite, but not actually opposed ways of thinking about disability. Where on the one hand, it is just part of this, this experience of, of accommodation, but like a reframing accommodation is just like, you know, we all have different methods of accessing the world and of inhabiting the world. And, and traditionally those can be stigmatized. And it's like, oh, you need, you, you have special needs because you are disabled.

Andrew (16m 41s):
But in fact, like we all have special needs. It's just like some needs get labeled special and others don't. But then at the same time, yeah, your, your point is really well taken that we don't want to just erase that difference because there's something really important politically and socially about recognizing the difference. And, and again, I think it comes down to context. Like, you know, just as there are times when I just wanna be a guy eating a salad, and there are times when, like, I want people to be aware of the fact that I'm not gonna see them. You know, I think there are times when we need to be mindful of that difference and times when it's actually really harmful to, to center it.

Andrew (17m 21s):
And, and Yeah. and I think, So I think, I think, I think I, I run into trouble when people run into trouble when you wanna have like a rule and people are just like, just tell me what the right words are and what the right framework is. but I think it's, it's much more about, you know, are we talking about, about building a system or is it about just moving within that system is maybe one random idea I have for Yeah. I'm, I'm all over the place. Over here.

Amy Julia (17m 44s):
Yeah. Well that's because I took you in 17 directions, so thank you for trying to corral me. But it makes me also think about the, the ways in which, on the one hand, it's easy to try to insist, like kind of we're all the same and we just have, you know, again, even using the language that I often do, like different limitations, different challenges, different gifts, you know, and yet how we also can, I, I find myself running into, as the mother of a child with down syndrome, what I've learned to call false equivalences. Hmm. Where I will talk about a con, you know, a concern I have related to Penny when she was younger, like socially in school, and just not having friends.

Amy Julia (18m 29s):
And my friends who had typically developing kids would say, oh yeah, middle school is really hard when it comes to friendship. And I was like, you're not hearing me. Like, this is not a typical hardship. This is a, I am alone at lunch every day. Yeah. And no one is ever noticing me and that that's different. Like, it really is. And So, I would end up being, they were trying to make a connection to me, and I would feel more alone because it was like, you don't actually know what I'm talking about. Hmm. And so there's both a, there's a real, I mean, there's, there's something real about saying, yeah, middle school is hard, and there's also something real about saying, and yet there's something different about the experience of having a disability in middle school than just being a typical kid.

Amy Julia (19m 16s):
and I think what I wonder is whether some of that comes down to time or energy. I mean, I think some of it is norms and like social prejudices and things like that. But that, and that was something I was thinking about in reading your book as well. That, and, and you write about how it's not fair or, or write, like, it's not accurate for me to put on a double eye patch. Those are, that's language I learned from you.

Andrew (19m 44s):
Sure. Yeah.

Amy Julia (19m 45s):
Rather than a blindfold. Right. A double eye, eye patch shape. Yeah. And try to navigate my house versus someone who has had the experience of not using their eyes to get around for a while. Like, those aren't the same things. Right. Right. And yet it still, I think, takes more time to get through the world. If, you are using a cane than it does for me. Right. Yeah. And, I wonder whether that is something that almost those of us who want to be in kind of the Disability advocacy space want to pretend isn't true. The like time and energy aspect of things, because we live in such like an efficient, productivity oriented society that values that so much that we're like, no, no, no, as long as we make all the proper accommodations, we can all be superheroes.

Amy Julia (20m 36s):
Don't you worry. I, I don't know. Do you think there's any truth to that?

Andrew (20m 39s):
Yeah, yeah. Definitely. Okay. And it's just, it's just so tricky to, to pull those pieces apart. Like I was, I was talking to a Blind friend of mine who, who was, who was telling me a story about going home to visit her mother. And you know, this my friend is, is, is an adult and, you know, a very accomplished professional, like runs a large organization and super active in every aspect of her life. And she goes home and her mom insists on, on like putting the butter on the toast for her, you know, and, and she was like, mom, like, don't you know that I like run this organization? And like, I'm out there like crushing it every day.

Andrew (21m 20s):
And then at a certain point she just had to realize like, I think maybe this is just not a blindness thing, it's just my mom being my mom, you know, like buttering my toes. Yeah. And, and I, I feel like, I feel that sometimes And I hear that, you know, and I think, there are obviously times when it's like, no, this person is doing this because of some misguided sense of what my needs are. Mm. And they, there are compartmentalizing me and they're sort of diminishing me, but also sometimes like, yeah, middle school is hard, you know, and I and So I think, not, not to say that that's what was going on with, with your example, but you know, just to think through like the kind of nuance and complexity of that. Like, I, I read a really challenging book recently called Chasing, the Intact Mind by Amy Lutz. Do you know her?

Andrew (22m 1s):
No. She's the mother of a, of a kid with, and, and I amm like new to this sort of autism world, So don don't know if like Yeah. Severe autism is a word that people don't use. Right. But, but like, you know, let's say non-speaking autism. Yeah. You know, and she, the argument, I I, I need to reread it, but, but the, but the book is really in some ways like a anti neurodiversity polemic. And, and you know, her argument seems to be that that like, you know, the neurodiversity papers over a lot of these differences that, that that, that I think you're describing. So like, you know, one example she uses is sheltered workshops or, you know, the, the, the part of the Fair Labor Act called 14 C where there are these, basically it began for Blind people, you know, now it's, it's more often for people with intellectual disabilities where you're paid in many states still subminimum wages Yep.

Andrew (22m 55s):
To go to a, you know, factory of some kind, and you're like, you know, pulling plastic sheeting around a, a package or something like that. And it's sort of this like repetitive labor. You might get paid like a dollar an hour, but it sort of has the function of being like a, you know, like a not group home, but you know, you're getting sort of like disability services and there's like a community element to it. Yeah. And, and a lot of neurodiversity advocates, you know, make the, a very compelling argument that like, this is, this is ex exploitation. Right? Right. Like, why would somebody with a disability have to work in non-competitive work getting sub-minimum wages when like, clearly there are people with equal disabilities in the competitive labor market, you know, just getting the accommodations they need.

Andrew (23m 36s):
And, and, and, and Lutz's point is that, you know, actually the, some people do benefit from sheltered workshops and like the, the differences are actually in some cases they demand a sort of separate system. Right. And So I don't have answers for any of this, but it's all just to kind of like point out the boggling complexity of, of teasing these things out. And Well, it seems like, and looking at each situation, I guess it's, it's really hard to make generalizations about these things. I think,

Amy Julia (24m 4s):
And maybe that is where, again, like all the models we have have help can be helpful to a point. But like that whole idea of the social model on some level is to say we're all the same if we do the proper work to accommodate our differences, and maybe we're not all the same, and maybe that's okay and it doesn't create a hierarchy of human value, but that's what the way our society is often structured is to say, If, you can work in a certain way, then you are more valuable, or the more you write about, and I really appreciate this, I think a lot about it independence and interdependence and, and I guess also dependence, right?

Amy Julia (24m 49s):
That, that sense of American and, and being independent and being able to do things for myself that first of all, it's a false construct of the self, but then second of all, to see it as like you're stronger or better somehow the more independent you are, I think is part of what even within like the disability community, we can like play into that notion rather than saying actually there can be some beauty and value in interdependence, although they're also, it can also be a pain, right?

Amy Julia (25m 31s):
Like, it just,

Andrew (25m 32s):
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's interesting since I wrote the book, I've, I've been kind of checking out this podcast called Death Panel and, and the, the hosts of it have a book called Health Communism. Huh. And it's really, really brilliant and intense. They're, they're like the hardest core of the sort of disability media that I've encountered. Okay. Yeah. And their argument is kind of like a pretty explicitly socialist one. You know, it's like definitely healthcare for all, but, you know, but, but furthermore, they talk about this idea of, of capitalism and the premium it places on productivity and that sort of creating this, this category of disability.

Andrew (26m 14s):
Yeah. And like, I think what you're describing about this sort of like, will to Independence is I think in their analysis that's just, that's just capitalism telling us that we have to produce in order to be valuable members of society. Yep. and I think that's a really compelling argument that Yeah. I'm still digging around in there, but, but that's definitely where my thinking is heading in, in terms of that question.

Amy Julia (26m 35s):
Yeah, I appreciate that. and I, I guess I have some questions for you that are related to language, which I think we've, well it's, this is a little bit of a, you know, turning point, but it's all related. I am curious to talk with you about some questions related to disability and language. I thought about this a lot when our daughter was diagnosed with Down Syndrome because I felt like I didn't have language at the time. I was, you know, didn't understand, didn't know about the idea of person first language, which would be, you know, our daughter has Down Syndrome as opposed to our daughter is Down syndrome, or we have a Down syndrome baby, which is how a lot of people were describing her, but we'd also have people say, oh, your daughter is Downs.

Amy Julia (27m 26s):
And it's like, no, no, that's not, you know, and so that came up a lot. But then there's also the language of well, and there's the language of suffering that is implicit, implicit. This actually, I don't know, If, you saw this, John McWhorter who writes for the New York Times had an essay a couple weeks ago in which he mentioned that he says, suffering is baked into Disability. So it's totally appropriate to say, oh, so and so suffers from disability, which I firmly disagree with. Likewise. Yeah. but I was like, okay, like he's gone there.

Andrew (27m 58s):
I actually feel pretty good right now. I don't feel like I'm suffering at all at the moment. Exactly. Believe it or not, having a great afternoon,

Amy Julia (28m 4s):
It was, I mean, it kind of took my breath away just in terms of the, you know, aser, like the confidence with which he asserted that suffering is baked into disability. So yeah. So there's that. Then on the flip side of that, there are people with disabilities who are like, no, I am disabled. That is, you know, that's my, or at least a part of my identity, and I'll use that language, so's that whole aspect of language. Then there's also the metaphorical language, which as you point out in your book, often re one set of metaphors revolves around blindness and being able to see, or living in darkness, all of those types of metaphors. Yeah. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on just what it, why language matters.

Amy Julia (28m 48s):
Yeah. How we can be mindful about the words we use. Yeah. Whether or not your language has changed as you've thought about this.

Andrew (28m 54s):
Hmm. Yeah. That's interesting. I feel like I care passionately about language. I'm a writer, you know, and a reader and So I think it's very easy for me to kind of go down the rabbit hole and I think, I think it's just like a prelude to my answer. I would say that I try to pull back a little bit from focusing too much on language, because I think that it can often turn into like a culture war debate that misses the boat on like what the actual arguments should be. Yeah. In other words, like if I'm, if we're having, we're spending all our energy yelling about person first versus identity first language, and then meanwhile, like, you know, hospitals are shutting down, masking within healthcare settings and Yeah.

Andrew (29m 42s):
You know, that has a much greater impact on the lives of disabled people than, yeah. Than any kind of language thing That said, language still matters, you know, but it, I, the question I get the most often is like a, that I think is worth talking about is, is people will be like, okay, I'll see you later. And then they'll kind of be like, oh, I mean, we will encounter each other anon. And I'm like, no. Like we will see each other later, like disregarding the fact that I also have like some central vision where I will see you later. Right. Maybe depending on the lighting and whatever. But, but also just like, you know, Helen Keller has written about this, like, you can't just remove visual figures from the language because If, you do, like, you will literally have no tools left to communicate because the language is so intensely visual.

Andrew (30m 37s):
Like, you know, since the enlightenment or earlier, you know, the idea, you know, If, you just look at the word enlightenment or Yeah. You know, so many of our words for knowledge are visual and, and I think that's okay. I think that the thing that is a problem is, is the inverse when you use blindness as a metaphor or a figure for ignorance, you know, and in some ways, like, it's sort of a natural corollary of using visual language for right, for knowledge that if you're going to just like, sort of intuitively do the opposite, but I think that is where you have to be careful and that, that that does sting because then you see a Blind person on the street and, and if, if, if If you, your kind of vocabulary is built up around ignorance, then your default assumption is gonna be that that person lives in ignorance.

Andrew (31m 24s):
Right. And Right. And that's a real, that, you know, that is sort of how people tend to look at Blind blindness. It's, it's like you're unaware of, of everything. And I'm just thinking of a, a song of a friend of mine who I met through the reporting sent me today. It's, it's, it, it's called The Salt is Heavier Than The Pepper. I, I don't know if that's exactly what it's called. Okay. But that's like, that's like his thing, like when he became Blind, like, one of his like hacks was like, if you're trying to figure out which is the salt and the pepper, and you wanna do it without like, tasting it, yes, the salt is, is heavier than Pepper, but like the song is sort of this whole thing where like somebody asks him how he knows he's awake if he can't see or not, and he is like, baby, like this, I, the salt is heavier than the pepper.

Andrew (32m 8s):
Like I can Blind people feel more. So, you know, he, which I love. But anyway, yeah. So, so that's, that's my answer about language in, in that realm. But yeah. but I, and then I just add the caveat that like, these things are important and representation is important, you know, I think like the models of, of who people see, that's a little bit outside the language question, but, but yeah, like ultimately I think it's a, can be a distraction. Like, I got mad at the Host of the Daily, the New York Times Daily podcast. 'cause like, there was an episode where like, you know, like, here's what else you need to know today. Yeah. And it was like something like, I think it was like the Sag af aftra, the, the, the the Right. The Actors' Guild strike or the Writer's Guild strike Yeah.

Andrew (32m 47s):
Had like crippled the industry and then like there was another news item and then like the third one, something else was crippled, like wow. You know, sanctions against Iran or something. and I was like, really like two cripples. Right. In one like news broadcast. Yeah. And then I tweeted at him and then he was like, oh no. Like, and just like completely missed my point. It was just like, oh yeah. Like the reason there was a repetition was 'cause like, we actually recorded those at different times and I was like, no. Oh, no, no, no. But you know, and then like all these people, 'cause of course it was like on Twitter, so people were just like, yeah, man. Like he doesn't even get it. And then like that energy, I just felt like, what have I done? Like I don't want a lot of people like mad at Michael Barbaro. Right. For saying cripple. Like, do I even care? Does it even matter? Like cripple is, I don't feel good saying it right now or reading it, like it stung and like it's outdated and bad, but it's also like we got bigger fish

Amy Julia (33m 35s):
Defray. Right, right. And how I, I mean, again, I do think when we're looking at, you know, official news publications, calling out those things I think is probably important. but I also wanna be someone who moves through the world with like a generosity of spirit and a graciousness towards others in terms of knowing that yeah, we can use language without knowing, without having thought of the implications of what we are saying

Andrew (34m 10s):
And suffering is, is is much more, I think that that one gets me more. Yeah. And that one I think is important because it gets back to the blindness as ignorance thing. It's like, you know, there's a really great style guide that run by the, I forget the name of the university. It's, it's in Arizona. I think Arizona State has like a disability journalism project. And one of the things they do is they put out like a disability style guide, just like the ap, you know, for like reporters to say like, how do you write this? And it's really thoughtfully done. And you know, it's like a list of this, all these things we're talking about, like, don't say imprisoned in a wheelchair, don't say suffers from the disease. Yep. You know, like, and you know, and I think just like the conflation of blindness with ignorance. It's like y those things accumulate over decades to be like, well obvi, you know, to get them a order effect.

Andrew (34m 55s):
I haven't read that, that piece, but I, you know, to just assume defacto that suffering is baked into the experience.

Amy Julia (35m 0s):
Yeah. It was an aside where he was talking about when we need to change our language and when we don't. And he gave that as an example of we don't, because it's baked into the, and it was really startling to me for all the reasons you've given. And also, again, back to somewhat the political, if suffering and disability are conflated, which I don't believe they have to be, although disability does sometimes involve suffering and for various reasons that sometimes has to do with the disability inherently within a body and sometimes has to do with the social situation we find ourselves in. But also it can be a way to kind of let society off the hook from attending to suffering to say, oh yeah, those just come together.

Amy Julia (35m 43s):
Yeah. Right. That's how it is. Right, right. As opposed to why is it that there is some suffering associated with whatever disability we're talking about So I. Anyway, that's, yeah, I, I got on that one was hard for me for sure. So,

Andrew (36m 0s):
Yeah. Well, well, it's a tricky thing too, because I think it's very tempting to kind of get activated into on the, like Disability justice, you know, thinking about Disability rights and then just sort of draw an equivalency to other civil rights struggles. Mm. Like, like, you know, like the black civil rights movement or you know, trans rights or L-G-B-T-Q movement. Yeah. You know, feminism, you know, and, and in, in all of those cases, there isn't this sort of sense of like inherent suffering. Right. And so it's very easy to just say like, this characteristic being a woman, being black, whatever, being trans has been marginalized, but there's nothing like def facto about being trans that, you know, besides the stick, besides the societal oppression Yeah.

Andrew (36m 45s):
That is, is is related to suffering. Whereas with disability, you, you can make the argument like we are that disability joy is entirely possible. But there also is this added wrinkle of the fact that like a lot of disabilities do have like actual physical pain associated with them. And that it's not just like this purely social model and I think that's what you were maybe alluding to. Yes. Talking about the sort of insufficiency of the social model in some ways that there are complexities that, like the medical can't, you can't entirely discard the medical model even as much as we would want to, but there's sort of somehow like this, I don't know what the path forward is, but, but, but it does, it does require us to, I think complicate that, that that image a little bit or that model.

Amy Julia (37m 30s):
Well, And I think you do a good job of complicating it. I'm gonna read a quotation, this is actually from the introduction. The questions I'm still hounded by arise from the conflict I see between the value of disability, the beauty and power I've found in blindness. And it's almost definitional sense of loss and exclusion and that sense of beauty and power loss and exclusion co coming together, like being inextricable somehow, perhaps. and I, I just wonder like why does that conflict like remaining in that tension matter and how do you navigate that?

Andrew (38m 17s):
That's a, that's a good one. I don't know. A guy, here's an example of something happened that happened to me in the past week that maybe will help me answer your question. Yeah. So like, I, one thing that I've found is that like blindness and techies go together very well. Just like a lot of Blind people get very into tech. Yeah. Because for, I mean, there's probably many reasons, but, but the main reason I think is that, you know, information access is a big challenge of blindness. And so you sort of have to just by default figure out information technology as a result. There's like this immersion in that world. So anyway, I'm like, I've been doing a lot of that. I've been really going down the rabbit hole the last couple weeks with this and, and you know, and it's really easy to get that sort of romantic feeling.

Andrew (39m 6s):
Like I was very, I was romanticizing it a lot where I was just like, these Blind hackers are so cool. And, I want to be like them, and I'm becoming like them. I'm learning all these cool tricks. And like, there's actually things that you can do in this world that like, in this world of like Blind hackers that I don't think you find in the mainstream, you know, tech world. And, and it's better, you know? And then I just, like, nothing actually happened, but I just had this like moment where my attention cooled out a minute and I was like, but also like, wouldn't it be better just not to have to deal with any of this and just be back in the mainstream? You know? And like, I don't, I don't, I didn't stay there, but like, it was a sort of like a little bit of a self-correction of like, not to say that like, actually this is all bullshit and, and like, none of this stuff is cool.

Andrew (39m 53s):
Like all the, the original thoughts are all still true, but then that other thing is true too. Yeah. You know, and I guess like that's, it's like the sort of negative capability idea that like, you know, you can sort of have two opposing ideas at the same time. And, you know, as a writer, I think I'm drawn to that also. I think that's one of the, the like magic tricks that, that writing can offer you is that you can, you can present an argument or present a picture of something and have two contradictions sort of living side by side and have that sort of synthetically, it doesn't have to resolve even necessarily, but it's just like, this is how this experience works. Like there's this thing and there's this thing. Yeah. And they don't, they don't match, but you then you wake up the next day and they still don't match.

Andrew (40m 35s):
Yeah. And you just go on like that and So I think, yeah. I don't know if I have like a, a synthetic answer for you that will just like, resolve that tension. but I think that like, in some ways, like my editor, my book editor was really annoying until the end. And then I was really grateful about pushing me to find like these sort of universal themes in this experience. Mm. And I and I think that that is one of them. Yeah. Like, I don't think that's specific to disability. I think we all live with, with these sort of tensions of like feeling like, you know, as Beckett said, I can't go on, I'll go on, you know, just sort of like being stuck but also moving forward at the same time. There's a lot of different ways you could say it, but I think that is a human experience. That Disability definitely gives you an opportunity to, to experience in a pretty full way.

Amy Julia (41m 19s):
Yeah. I, I agree. and I appreciate that and, and it kind of brings back us around us back around to identity. 'cause I have another question there for you. I've been thinking a lot about how I do not identify as a person with a Disability. I do identify very closely with a disabled person and my daughter that identification shapes and forms my identity. Right. Like that, that is a part of who I am. And, I think I could be wrong, but I think, looking back, Penny's now 18. But when I look back to some of the early experiences of learning about her diagnosis, I think some of the wrestling I needed to do was because of a shift in identity that there was a bit of a before and after, like I am now someone who is identified with disability and I wasn't before, or at least I was not in any way that I was aware of because I do think there's some truth to the idea that we're all temporarily able in whatever ways we are.

Amy Julia (42m 23s):
So Yeah. Yeah, yeah. but I was struck in your book about how you write about both your wife and your son and that they have over the, perhaps perhaps this has always been true for your son, I don't know, but for your wife, like they begun to identify with blindness because they identify with you like they are, you are a part of their identity even if they are not, you know, personally claiming any sort of like identif identity as a Blind person. Yeah. And so I'm just wondering about that relationship between the identity of disability and identification with someone who is disabled and whether they're kind of are like things we have we need to watch out for, like those of us who are in the identification side, or if there are again that, or if that's just a blurry line that helps us understand that this is not actually as much of a divide as it might seem.

Andrew (43m 15s):
Hmm. That's a good question. Such a good question. Yeah. I mean, I think like, I got excited in a very immature way about the sort of like very black and white separatist politics around disability when I first encountered it. Mm. You know, and it's just like, oh, what, like a sighted guy is running that like, well then it's not good because it's like we need, you know, the sort of NFB idea. And I still have a lot of faith in that, that, you know, and I think If, you just looked at the reality of it, you know, it connects to the larger representation debates in Yeah. In the US now where it's like, you know, we need more, not just in media, but like, you know, in political representation in business, you know, in in education everywhere.

Andrew (43m 56s):
Like, you know, why are there so few minorities, let's say, and, and So I think that, you know, that kind of representation is important. Also, I think, you know, a sort of connected idea is people speaking for themselves and I think, one of the things that I really was struck by in researching the history of blindness is just how, how often cited peoples speak for Blind people and say what they need and can create systems that will work for them. You know, there's, there's so many examples of systems that once the Blind people are given sort of authorship and agency, you know, like, then you get something like braille, like, you know, it's not a coincidence, right.

Andrew (44m 37s):
Or incidental that, that Louis Braille was Blind and that he was the one to create the tactile reading system that that superseded all the others. And that was the best path towards Blind literacy, you know, and you see that again and again. So I think that, yeah. I mean that's like the sort of bedrock that's like the baseline is like, you have to listen to the disabled person and you have to let them sort of drive and let them have authorship. You know, I, but I don't feel like, you know, and NFB doesn't either, like, you know, there's not so separatist that that like, there aren't, there's no room for allies and I think, like, when you ask about the risks of allyship, I mean, I'm still a baby in this world, you know, So I don't have like decades of organizing, you know, an activism experience to, to, to drop on your dome over here.

Andrew (45m 22s):
but I guess, you know, just from like my, my amateur armchair, I would say that, I don't know, like one thing that, one thing that I learned in hanging out in deaf Blind spaces and like the limited amount of time I've, I've spent there was just, you know, I think deaf Blindness you there, there's a, there's a, there's a strong emphasis put on, you know, there's a lot of different names for them. But like, you know, hearing people, or at the very least sighted people, often there's deaf interpreters to help somebody navigate the space. And that's got a similar history where like in the past there's been a lot, and still in the present, there's, there are people in opposition cited, people who very much just like guide the deaf blamed person to a chair, put them there, bring them the thing they need, tell them what they think they need to know.

Andrew (46m 12s):
And my friend John Lee Clark, who's a deafblind poet, has been just like revolutionary in pushing back against that and really organizing deaf blamed people as sort of rejecting that model and saying like, no, well, we want our co navigators, which is to say like, I lead and you follow, and like, you tell me what's going on. and I think that is the model across, you know, that's, that exceeds, that's the far beyond Deafblind life. You know, I think anybody who's an ally to a disabled person needs to take that path where it's like, sure. Like, and this is where we get back to interdependence, where it's like, sure, there is an exchange happening here. Like, you know, you might need my help doing X, Y, and Z, but it's not in this paternalistic custodial way where I'm just gonna pipe up and speak for you and yank you this way.

Andrew (46m 56s):
It's like a human exchange.

Amy Julia (46m 58s):
Yeah. I'm wrestling as a parent because there's both the, my daughter moving from childhood to adulthood in which I need to shift my posture as a parent. And then there's also, okay, do I, I essentially like have a, a right or even a responsibility given what I'm equipped to do in this world to speak to other parents, not to, I, I don't pretend to be able to speak to people with Down syndrome about having Down syndrome or about what they should be doing with their lives. but I do feel a capacity and, and compulsion on some level to speak to other parents because there's been so much that we've learned along the way.

Amy Julia (47m 43s):
But I've also found myself even just in recent months, months, really having to pay attention to my prop propositions, prepositions, where I often say I'm doing such and such for Penny. And one of the back to language, really important mental shifts I'm making is I'm doing such and such with Penny. And then asking, well, am I really, or am I just like, oh actually I, and so it's helping me recognize the ways that I am sitting here at the table and bringing her the thing, you know, rather than saying, you know, you're 18 now, you can get your own mac and cheese or whatever it is, you know? Totally.

Amy Julia (48m 24s):
And, and So, I'm, I'm definitely like feeling like I'm still navigating that space a lot. but I want and I, again, I don't wanna play into a false sense of like independence as the ultimate goal of humanity, but of, but I, I do like the disability language of self-determination of giving her as much agency over herself as she deserves. Yes. And that is, especially as a child becomes an adult, that's a growing sense of agency, but that agency doesn't mean she doesn't deserve support from people around her. It just means that that happens as much as possible on her terms.

Andrew (49m 7s):
Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you're, you're asking all the right questions. I mean, it sounds, it sounds like you're doing a good job by where, where I'm sitting. Thank you. You know, and it's, and it's so interesting, just thinking back to your, your example about like middle school is hard. 'cause like, in some ways I do hear you, and it sounds like you're describing a parent, you know, with a kid who's growing up, you know, and like it's, there is a version of that process that happens with everyone, right? Yeah. Where you're like, I guess I, he's gonna be in college and I'm not gonna be there to like cut up his, you know, burger or whatever, and that, that, that, that totally exceeds disability. But, but of course, like when disability is in the equation, there's like a different, a different set of kind of, there's different stakes maybe, or a different kind of like method.

Andrew (49m 52s):
But like, it is also, I think, not a bad thing to recognize that it is like part of the same intelligence and the same in intuition that you have as a parent and a and as a person.

Amy Julia (50m 4s):
Well, and so this, I guess leads me to my, what will be my final question because I could talk to you for hours and I'm not gonna do that, but I do wanna come back around to this idea that we can compare the experience of Disability or in your case of blindness to a more universal or human experience of limitation. And I'm just curious to hear you think a little bit about what's helpful and harmful about those comparisons. Like where, what, what do we gain by universalizing, you know, the experience and are there, is there anything that we lose when, when that comes into how we're thinking about it?

Andrew (50m 46s):
Hmm. I don't know if this answers your question, but I think one really important principle that I have encountered in sort of talking openly about this and just, and living through it in terms of like those comparisons or the sort of conversations around identity has to do with, with, with, I think self-determination is, is to borrow your Phrase a good way to put it. But like, I was talking to somebody who told me that they were in recovery and that they used to be a heroin addict, you know, and then I was just thinking about that, like, that comparison and like, you know, for me to introduce him to a friend and be like, this is John. He's a former heroin addict.

Andrew (51m 27s):
Hmm. Like, that would be sort of such a, such a terrible move, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like that's for him to share if he wants to. And you know, I think it's a similar thing with disability. Like, you know, if I want to make that comparison, if I want to talk about my blindness in this sort of intimate revealing way, like I will, but, but I think that there's somehow like a, I don't know exactly where it comes from, but there's a kind of a feeling of entitlement that I think a lot of people have. Mm. Where it's like, it's kind of like the person on the bus who's like, you know, I mean you see it in this very direct way on buses often where it's like, what's wrong with you? Right, right. Like, you know, but then, you know, it goes from the bus level to like, you know, the symposium at the academic conference level of like, you know, ableism and all of its, you know, different varietals and forms.

Andrew (52m 13s):
But, but yeah, I think, I think like the, the principle that was sort of cancel all that out is, is just to respect someone's, someone's privacy, but also just their own, their own perspective on it. You know? and I think it gets back to, to that idea of, of autonomy, independence, agency, whatever you wanna call it. Like this is mine to define, not yours to define.

Amy Julia (52m 35s):
And again, that sense of particularity of experiences. So it's not that there are no broad human truths that we can learn from one another. And yet you also do a great job in the book of, you know, demonstrating just the breadth of experience. Whether that's because of like actual biological process happening in terms of blindness, right? If you're born with, you know, if you're born Blind versus having a degenerative situation, that's gonna be a different experience. If, you were born into a particular socioeconomic class or If you were born into, you know, all these different aspects, demographic as aspects of life are going to play into particular experiences.

Amy Julia (53m 22s):
Not to mention, you know, just the variations on human personality and so forth and I think, yeah, I just feel like it's important that tendency to universalize, which I very much appreciate. And you know, again, it's one of the reasons I think I appreciated your book was that sense of, yeah, this really matters to me and relates to my life and holding on to yeah, both the particularity, but also what you just said in terms of respecting the dignity of the person to be able to tell their own story and not pretend that just because I can relate to parts of it, I could tell it for you.

Andrew (54m 4s):
Yeah. I mean, and you know, just to kind of circle back around to your first question about, about writing, you know, I think that as a nonfiction writer, like I think that's what I find so challenging and rewarding about that kind of work, is that you meet somebody in all their particularity, you know, in their very specific life and your job is at once to like represent that, but also to like put them into some bigger context and to figure out like how their story is gonna connect with something else that that might be, you know, God forbid a trend, you know, but, or like a, you know, movement or a, you know, a, a new idea and yeah, that's so hard, but also so rewarding and fun and interesting and, you know, and I think just for anybody, I think If, you don't have to be a journalist to participate in that.

Andrew (54m 51s):
You know, I think in some ways what I did was to look outward, but also like to try to look at my own life in that same way. Like, who is this guy and where, how does his story fit in? So, you know, I would, I would, I would, I would maybe encourage, I dunno if it's too cheesy, but like I think that anybody can kind of look critically at your own life in that way. And, and it can be surprising what you find. Mm.

Amy Julia (55m 11s):
Okay. I said I had asked my last question, but I didn't because I forgot that I recently renamed this podcast, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to wait to talk to you now under this heading. So we've just started calling it reimagining the Good life and of,

Andrew (55m 26s):
What was it before

Amy Julia (55m 27s):
It was called Love is Stronger. Than Fear.

Andrew (55m 29s):
Oh, okay.

Amy Julia (55m 31s):
So, and anyway, I can talk about why, but we don't need to do that now. Yeah, yeah. The but the Reimagining, the Good life is that sense of maybe what you think is going to make your life good is actually not, and maybe there are things you would think are not that great that are going to become these beautiful things. And I. I have one quotation from you that I'll read, and then I'd love for you to just kind of respond to the idea of Reimagining the Good life. So this is towards the end of the book, exploring the world of Blindness feels like digging through a field of paradoxes. Blindness is at once central and incidental. I'm Blind even as I can see, the process of retinal degeneration has turned out to be one of the most generative experiences of my life.

Andrew (56m 19s):
Yeah, yeah. So how can I Reimagine the Good life? I mean, I was raised in a quasi Buddhist tradition and I think Buddhism is pretty good on Reimagining the Good life. Yeah. In terms of, there's sort of like a reflexive impulsive sense of what's good and then there's a maybe deeper sense of, of what, what, what a good life might be, you know? And the reflexive impulsive one is just like absence of pain, feeling good, like feeling entertained. Pleasure. Yeah. You know, and then of course the sort of nonstop striving to maintain those states is guaranteed to fail, and then leads one into the depths of craving and sadness and et cetera.

Andrew (57m 10s):
Suffering. Yeah. That there's j there's John McWhorter suffering. It's like everybody, it's, it's, it's inherent in it human life, not just in disability. And so the Good life, I guess borrowing from that tradition would be really, begins with a recognition of that reality that you're not gonna escape the contradictions and the sort of impossibility and the impossible feeling of, of life. And then that's actually like the first step towards letting go of those desires and, and leading a good life. That that is really about acceptance. And you know, I, I'm a little wary of the idea of acceptance, especially thinking politically.

Andrew (57m 54s):
'cause you know, you don't wanna accept a situation, you know, So I don't think acceptance means just like being like, well, I guess, you know, my calculus professor told me that he doesn't know how he's gonna teach a Blind person. So, I am not gonna learn calculus. Right? Like, that's not the kind of acceptance. It's more like, this is hard and annoying and frustrating and confusing, but like, none of those things need to stop me in my tracks. And, you know, I, I just, I'm obsessed with Samuel Beckett, but you know, I can't go on, I'll go on. And like, in that, that overcoming like, there's a real terrible version of overcoming that people talk about with disability.

Andrew (58m 35s):
Like Andrew Leland, you know, lost 95% of his vision, but look at, look at him now. He's running a 5K with his son. You know? but I think it's more just like that kind of like deeper overcoming of just overcoming Yeah. The basic contradictions that we all live with to find a place to be open and kind and curious about, about the world, including the, the deeply painful and irritating parts of it.

Amy Julia (59m 1s):
Hmm. Thank you so much. and I, do think you've got stories throughout the book that really are reimagining Yeah. What life as a father might look like and still be good? What life as a husband, as a writer, as a, you know, all these different aspects of who you are having to be somewhat reconsidered and yet, and, and some, there's loss in that. It's not to say there's not right, but that there's also, and it's not to put a cheery spin of gain on it, but there is also, as you wrote in that quotation, just there's, there's something that's generative and beautiful and powerful there too.

Andrew (59m 41s):
Hmm. Thank you so much, Amy Julia, this has been, this has been a blast.

Amy Julia (59m 45s):
Thanks for being here. Thanks as always for listening to this episode of Reimagining the Good Life. and I'm sure you all who listen to podcasts know that it is really helpful to get reviews and to have word of mouth sharing of this podcast. And especially now that we're kind of taking a slightly new turn, we've got a new name, we've got a new vision in some ways for what this show is doing. I would love to invite you to just take one minute and offer a review. Take 30 seconds and text this episode to a friend who you think might appreciate it and or If you wanna spend even more time.

Amy Julia (1h 0m 30s):
Send me an email at Amy Julia Becker and tell me what you thought of this conversation, or If you have thoughts about guests who might fit into this, this slot in the future. I just wanna say thank you to Jake Hanson for editing the Podcast to Amber Beery, my social media coordinator and podcast coordinator. She does everything to make sure this happens. And finally, as you go into your day today, I hope this conversation helps you to challenge assumptions about the good life, proclaim the belovedness of every human being and envision a world of belonging.