Writing

Blind poet writes entire book ‘My Vision in Words’ using just her iPhone » Northern Life – Northern Life magazine

Astrid Middleton grew up knowing that one day she would lose her sight – and with losing her sight would come losing the ability to write – or so she thought until she got an iPhone. Now, the Barnoldswick-based poet writes everyday using her iPhone and has written an entire book My Vision in Words using just her phone.

Astrid Middleton grew up knowing that one day she would lose her sight – and with losing her sight would come losing the ability to write – or so she thought until she got an iPhone. Now, the Barnoldswick-based poet writes everyday using her iPhone and has written an entire book My Vision in Words using just her phone.

“It’s a long time since I can actually remember hand writing so I’ve always used some kind of electronic device, when the iPhone 3 came out I found the screen easy to use… then I stopped being able to even read the screen.” Astrid sighs, “It was a scary experience.”

Astrid uses the accessibilty features on her iPhone to help her write poetry

Astrid’s sister, who is also visually impaired, had always used accessible phones and so Astrid decided to give the accessibility feature that reads back a go.

“It’s quite a technique to listen but it was a case of either I’m going to have to try it or give in so I started learning how to type and listen instead of relying on what I can see.”

Astrid is now never without an iPhone and she admits her storage is full of poems and short stories. But what made Astrid decide to write poetry every day?

“I’ve always liked writing from being a child. I can’t say there was a decision to write poetry. It’s how I’ve found my escape – where other people might play sport, I like to use my imagination.”

Astrid’s book, My Vision in Words is a ‘poetic journey of life with sight loss’ and features a range of poems documenting her journey and emotions. There are poems about family, love and even some poems all about our gorgeous local area.

“I could write all day about Barnoldswick!” Astrid grins, “It’s a unique place to live. There’s lots of characters around here. And my Earby poem is because I grew up in Earby – I wanted to write something about where I came from.”

But where else does Astrid draw inspiration from for her poems?

“Imagining what you can feel rather than what you can see. I tend to write about the different senses – what you can hear and how the world is different.” Astrid smiles.

Astrid published the book after being encouraged by friends. But it may just be the first of many books as Astrid is also hoping to write for children.

“I love writing for children. It would be my dream to write children’s books. I often write for the school my son goes to – personalised stories with their names in – I also talk to them about how you can write even if you can’t use a pen and paper and they find it quite…”

Available from Amazon

Astrid pauses and when I suggest inspirational, she shyly admits she wouldn’t say that herself – but it’s certainly the word that springs to my mind as I speak to her. I wondered if writing has helped her to deal with the loss of her sight.

“Yes because it is hard and it would be easy to give in, but it’s giving me something different that I can still do and what some other people can’t.

“I’m a typical writer, I live in my head and I think it gives me confidence to talk about something I can do. I’m passionate that [poetry] is an art form and I think children should be able to write for pleasure and not just write what they’re told to write. There is nothing as good as the imagination.”

Some of Astrid’s poems have also been made into songs by her neighbour. But for now, Astrid is continuing to write while promoting her book. Astrid also regularly posts her poems on Facebook. Visit facebook.com/myvisioninwords.

Some of Astrid’s poems were made into songs. Listen to the demos below.

A love that knows no end

Almost like you’re mine

Can you justify

Dreams beneath the snow

For my boys

Nothing more closer

The way loves meant to be

Way back when

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