glass half full

Last week I wrote an entry about what happened when I was filmed in St Kilda. I tried to put together a comical description of the experience, but somehow it ended up focusing on the lack of access in Melbourne. I didn’t really want to write another disability piece because after a while it gets repetitive and stale. People begin to tune out and glance over the entry rather than read the whole thing. Once that happens, I’d start losing readers and then the blog will eventually fade away. And I couldn’t let that happen, could I?

I put the entry up, not giving it much thought and then I had an inkling something wasn’t right. I got a few people to give me feedback and most of them said I should take it down. Some people said I should stick to my guns and keep it up. I had just been to an information session on defamation and the consequences of defaming someone, so I took the soft approach and took the post down.

But then I spoke to the writer of the script and asked him to take a look at it. It was interesting to get his perspective and I was also surprised when he said I should have kept the entry up.

Instead of putting the whole entry back up, I am going to put in some of my comments and then put his feedback underneath. I will also put in my thoughts after his comments.

In reference to the Vineyard I wrote: “I can’t help but think that on a Saturday night, if I were to show up with my frame, I would have difficulty getting around. Even more, I would probably not even take my frame in fear of it getting in the way or destroyed and so I would be dependent on my friend the whole evening. Thinking about it now, I probably wouldn’t even go.”

He wrote: “I was surprised by this comment because (a) you’ve never been there on a Saturday night, and (b) I’ve been there on a very busy night when people with mobility aids have been there and NOBODY can get around, but everybody is respectful because it’s that kind of place. I suspect your comment reflects more on your vulnerability than the reality of places like the Vineyard.”

I must admit that it does have a lot to do with my vulnerability and my insecurities. I am quite a shy person and having the frame on display like that on a Saturday night would make people notice me when really all I want to do is blend into the crowd.

In reference to the Base Hostel, “I wrote: We then filmed at Base Hostel which is just on the corner of Acland st. We didn’t even go in to check whether it was accessible and so we promoted it without much research. Should we be promoting a place without having all the facts?”

He wrote: “before we filmed at the Base I checked their website where it confirmed they had accessible rooms. If you recall, I walked on ahead to ask if we could film there and asked again about the rooms (from memory they have three), but all were occupied. They said they’d be happy to ask the occupants if we could film in there but I said it wasn’t necessary as it wasn’t central to the video and we were pushed for time.”

So I guess it was me who hadn’t done the research. I hadn’t asked him if he had looked into it and just assumed that he hadn’t.

The script writer ended his feedback with the following comment: “I agree that Melbourne is largely inaccessible but there are two things missing from your blog which concerns me. The first is an acknowledgement that places like the Base, the Vineyard, Degraves Street coffee shops, etc. do exist and are supportive of people with disability. They need to be highlighted and celebrated and not demonised because of Melbourne’s shortcomings. Secondly, people who run places like the Base, Vineyard, etc. actually care about people with disability. The Vineyard bought a heap of t-shirts to support YoorallaTEE and also hosted our ‘thank you’ function by donating part of the cost.”

I have to admit that he is right. I tend to focus on the negative rather than looking at the positive side of things. We did film on Degrave st and there is access to most of the cafes. And the Base Hostel along with the Vineyard both have access and were accommodating with the filming. It’s times like these I have to remember to look at the glass half full rather than half empty.

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4 thoughts on “glass half full

  1. I like this one Tul,
    The best you have written for a while. Its great to see you growing as a writer too, just add it to the list of things you are discovering your brilliant at!
    Rom

  2. I agree, Tully. I think you write incredibly well and honestly, and that’s what makes your blog engaging. My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that when you write about disability, as a person with a disability, you’re actually voicing more than your own thoughts, concerns, anguish, aspirations, etc. It’s for that reason that I think you should follow your inner voice and not be so concerned about what others think. By the way, there was nothing defamatory in your previous blog – not even close!

  3. A response to Michael.

    I agree that Tully’s earlier blog had not been defamatory. However sometimes you can make an error of judgement or be hurtful or bite the hand that feeds you etc. Such actions may not be defamatory (which is a legal issue anyway), but inappropriate for a range of reasons (often unintended) and you may regret them later. i think it’s good to reflect and also to get advice when writing something that might be considered contentious. After all, once it’s in the public arena, you never know who might be reading your words. By then it might be too late to say “whoops, sorry”.

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