The Kentucky School for the Blind was chartered in 1842 to serve blind and visually impaired students from all across the state. Like so many who have arrived since then, the seven authors participating in Louisville Story Program’s third book project hail from all across the state. At the end of every weekend, they leave their homes and families in Appalachia, the Inner Bluegrass, the Western Coalfields and beyond to come back to Louisville, to the community they make with one another, where they learn from their differences and all they share in common, including the one thing that so frequently sets them apart.
To some degree, the book they will publish in November 2016 begins with blindness, and readers will certainly be given insight into lives frequently dictated by an inability to see "clearly." But the perspectives of these authors extend far beyond disability and are anything but unclear. Like the authors themselves, the stories in I Can Hear You Just Fine: Clarifications from the Kentucky School for the Blind are vivid, incisive, strong, and illuminating. From pastoral recollections of rural Kentucky, to the travails and triumphs of visual impairment, from the difficulties of marginalization, to the relief of community and independence, these stories highlight lives that are unique, to be sure. But the work of these authors is most important as a reminder, one that bears frequent repetition: that the desire for acceptance and dignity, and the drive to succeed and make meaning in the world is common to all of us.