Welcome to Abbie Johnson Taylor
Please give us a brief outline of who you are. I’m the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. I’m visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where, for six years, I cared for my late husband who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I was a registered music therapist and worked for fifteen years in nursing homes and other facilities that served senior citizens. I also taught braille, facilitated a support group for blind and visually impaired adults, and served on the advisory board to a trust fund that allows the blind and visually impaired to purchase adaptive equipment.
Do you work at another job? If so, tell us about fitting in the writing. When I started writing in 2000, I was still working, sometimes forty-hour weeks. It was hard finding time to write. In 2005 when I married my late husband, he persuaded me to quit my day job and write full time, which was what I wanted to do.
Do you have a family? What do they think of your job? Do they assist you? Most of my immediate family is gone except for my younger brother in Florida. He’s too far away to help but is supportive.
How do you fit in “real life?” Writing is my real life. It’s something I enjoy doing. However, when I’m not writing, I read or listen to podcasts and occasionally go out to eat or to a concert with a friend. I also participate in water exercise classes at the YMCA and sing in a women’s choral group. I also sing for residents of senior facilities at least twice a month, accompanying myself on piano or guitar.
Do you have a particular process? Because of my visual impairment, I use text-to-speech software on my computer that reads me what’s on the screen and tells me what I’m typing. I also use a braille display. When writing fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, I have a general idea in my head but mostly fly by the seat of my pants.
Because my late husband was an avid baseball fan, I’ve developed a three-strikes-and-you’re-out approach to editing. I read something through at least three times before it’s ready to submit. Why stop there? Well, you can edit and edit and edit until the cows come home, but you’ll never get anything published.
Are you very organised? Because I don’t see well, I have to be organized. There’s a place for everything, and everything must go in its place. Of course, I forget where I put something but who doesn’t?
What time do you get up/go to bed?
I’m usually up by six-thirty each morning and in bed by ten-thirty each night. I sometimes take a power nap in my recliner during the afternoon.
What is your ideal working environment?
I do most of my writing in my office. I use a three-corner desk that holds my computer, printer, miscellaneous papers, and a closed-circuit television reading system I use to read printed material. I often listen to music on my smart speaker while I’m working, sometimes classical, sometimes jazz, sometimes popular, depending on what I’m in the mood to hear. I sometimes write in my recliner or outside during favorable weather, using a braille tablet.
What do you eat for breakfast? That depends. If, on a particular day, I have a lot to do, I just eat a banana and drink a protein shake at my desk. Otherwise, I’ll have either oatmeal, a biscuit with jam, a breakfast sandwich, an omelette, or pancakes and sausages. Most of the food I consume is frozen and comes from Schwan. I don’t take a lot of time to cook, since I’m the only one in my household now.
Would you recommend your chosen craft to those interested in doing it? Absolutely! If you, like me, love the idea of creating art with words, go for it. However, don’t quit your day job right away. Writing isn’t always a lucrative career.
The Red Dress
Copyright 2019 DLD Books
When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.
Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.
“Oh, look at this!” said Charlene.
Eve turned and could only stare at the bright red dress she’d almost forgotten.
Charlene held the garment at arm’s length, admiring the three–quarter–length sleeves, low neckline, and gathered waist. “Oh, my God! This is beautiful! Where did you get it, and why do you keep it way off to one side in your closet?”
Eve then heard on the radio the mellow strains of “Lady in Red,” the song she’d pushed to the back of her mind and hoped never to hear again.
Charlene laid the dress on Eve’s bed and hurried to her side. Kneeling and taking her hand, she said, “Hey, what is it?”
Eve could hold back no longer. With tears streaming down her face, she said, “I wore that dress, and we danced to that song.”
“Oh, God,” said Charlene, leaping to her feet. She hurried to her side of the room and turned off the radio, then returned.
The next thing Eve knew, she was crying on Charlene’s shoulder as her roommate knelt on the floor next to her chair and held her. The incident had occurred several months earlier, but the wound was still fresh. Finally, when no more tears would come, Eve sat up and blew her nose.
“There’s your story,” said Charlene. “But maybe you’d better tell me first.”