It’s my pleasure to welcome back Tara Chevrestt as she releases another inspiring book. Today, she informs us of some of the trials and tribulations she’s endured as a hearing impaired person. But first, I’d like to post a brief review.
Deaf Isn’t Dumb is a powerfully written memoir that will challenge you on several fronts. We can recognize most people with handicaps because they are in a wheelchair, or walk with a cane, or maybe a seeing eye dog. But not all handicaps are noticeable. Weak hearts, weak lungs, chronic pain, and deafness are only a few of these disabilities. How we handle ourselves in our interactions with these people can do one of two things…cut them to the quick, or reinforce their self-esteem.
Handicapped doesn’t mean stupid. It doesn’t mean the handicapped are any less human than others. They live and breathe, laugh and hurt, the same as everyone else. Why then, do they have to suffer ridicule at each and every stage of their lives?
The simple answer is that a lot of people don’t know what to say or think when confronted with the handicapped. Another truth, a sad one, is that ridiculing others makes some people feel superior. But at what expense? None of us has the right to hurt others. If you don’t know what to say, at least nod and smile. You just might make someone’s day perfect. If you belong to the latter group, then I feel sorry for you. Your insecurities will be your downfall.
Well done, Tara! To put yourself out there, to share pieces of your life with us, took guts. Your book really made me think and I thank you. 🙂
Now for the interview! *evil grin*
I was searching for a historical novel about the Van Buren sisters after learning about them at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Not finding one, I wrote one myself. LOL (Ride for Rights)
Your books are classified in several genres…Romance, Historical, Comedy, and Erotic. Why are you drawn to this type of story?
It’s kinda odd. I just write what comes to mind. Dog Tails was penned because I had this story idea involving my Peke, and after I penned it, the other two dogs were sad, kept giving me mournful looks…and so they had to have their stories penned too. Dog Tails was born.
I read all kinds of things, so I guess it’s natural I would write all kinds of things too.
Your books touch on such things as bullying, women’s rights, and deafness, to name a few. Where do the ideas come from?
My own life. School bullying was a huge issue in my childhood. I’ve noticed not many parents actually sit down and talk to their kids about it. I wish they would. Women’s rights are something I feel strongly about. I worked eleven years in a male dominated profession so I know we haven’t quite “made it” yet. Deafness is strongly misunderstood, and so I set out to educate people on it with both A Facebook Affair and Deaf Isn’t Dumb.
Do you ever have trouble getting into the ‘writing zone’?
Yes, I do. Sometimes, the words just aren’t there. They get buried under stress over promotion or sales or just life in general.
My characters ‘speak’ to me as I write their story. Do yours? If so, what’s it like to have them breathing down your neck? J
No, but they get into my dreams! I dream about them and the story lines in the dreams make no sense at all. But there has been an odd occasion when I’ll wake up and say, “I need to add this!” Usually though, I dream about them right after a ms is complete! I wonder if it’s my sub conscious worrying that I didn’t do a good job.
If you had to describe yourself, what three words best suit you? 🙂
Stubborn, opinionated, determined.
If someone else (other than your significant other) described you, what three words would they use? *evil grin*
Ornery, blunt, rude.
What pearls of wisdom would you like to impart to aspiring writers?
I always say, “Write what you love.” I think if you don’t love what you’re writing, it will show.
Now for the novel.
Deaf Isn’t Dumb releases today through Breathless Press. I love the cover!
What prompted you to write this particular story? How long did it take?
I address the reason in my post here, but I will say it took a year. Even after the first draft, it took so long to finally get it published, I added to it throughout the year. I’m not dead yet, and so my life story continued. LOL
I wrote this book because my coworkers kept telling me to. When you’re standing around an airplane’s wing drilling holes all day, you get to talking with your coworkers. It makes the time go by a lot faster. There were always tons of curious questions about my hearing loss. I answered the best I could and sometimes, imparted a story or two.
I was told I needed to write them down and tell the world, to make others understand what it’s like for people like me, the misunderstandings, the labels of “dumb” and “rude”, the discrimination I face. And I thought, if I can put myself out there, I just may teach someone something, and if someone learns something, it may very change how they are treating the deaf/hearing impaired around them. So, I “grew a pair” and wrote it.
In the course of my life, I’ve had friends and coworkers tell me that I changed their view of deaf people…helped them to understand some things. I hope Deaf Isn’t Dumb helps me reach more.
I want people to know that deaf isn’t dumb. Deaf isn’t rude. Deaf people love, live, and work just as well as everyone else. And most of all, we feel. When you misjudge us, misunderstand us, act like we’re stupid, we hurt.
Can you share the blurb?
You’re stupid. You’re retarded. You shouldn’t have this job. These words lit a fire of determination in one deaf woman who set out to prove to the aviation world…and the world in general that deaf isn’t dumb.
Deaf Isn’t Dumb is a motivational story of a young woman, Tara, who faces the challenges of growing up “hearing impaired” in a hearing world. Follow her as she recounts everything from childhood bullies to work related restrictions, and funny misunderstandings from mispronounced words to fear of Federal Air Marshals. In this tale, straight from the heart, learn that simply because one is deaf—contrary to popular misconception—it doesn’t mean they are dumb.
Cash, Check, or Visa?
My first real job was in a lingerie store. By real job, I mean the first place that hired me and kept me on longer than a month. The first place that was not intimidated or put off by the fact I was hearing impaired and could not answer the telephone. The first place that was willing to work with me.
I was a sales associate. Ladies, and sometimes their men, would come into the store, walk around, finger the lacy, sheer, silky, and just plain naughty garments hanging from the racks. They’d titter or place their hands in front of their gasping mouths while I ran around arranging dressing rooms or putting garments away. I said many a silent prayer that the garments in question were uncontaminated. Occasionally, I helped someone find an outfit in their size or in their lover’s size. When their selections were complete, I would wrap the little G-strings or chemises in hot pink tissue paper, place a little sticker on the package, and ask the customer, “Cash, check, or Visa?”
I felt very important asking this question. I dressed to the nines every day for this job, donning high heels and business dresses. This was my first real job, and despite the fact it was minimum wage, it was important to me. I asked this question every time I rang up a customer and felt proud of myself. I was an adult now. I was asking these people how they planned on giving me money. A transaction was in progress, money had to be handled, and I was the one the business counted on to do it and do it right.
Every now and then however, this question resulted in a funny look from the customer. I assumed the client was worried about their finances, debating how to pay, pondering how to explain such an outlandish and unnecessary bill to the husband. It was not my concern.
One year into my employment, the store manager announced she was getting married. This was a very likable woman, a kind and caring boss. Naturally, every single employee wanted to attend her wedding. The wedding was on a Saturday and during store hours. Someone was going to have to work that night and, most likely, work alone. I bravely volunteered. I had just graduated high school and had an insane fantasy that maybe if I proved myself, I could get promoted to assistant manager or at least gain more work hours. It was agreed among all my coworkers that for that one night, I would woman the store alone.
So it was a Saturday night and I was wearing my best two-piece, a light blue skirt with a matching jacket and two-inch high heels that made an awful racket on the hard floors. You could probably hear me coming a mile away. Click, slap, click, slap went my shoes. “Cash, check, or Visa,” went my perky self as I rang up one client after another.
Approximately one hour before closing, my then boyfriend showed up to help me get out of there. We had a date when I got off work. The store was full of people, and bras and panties were all over the place. Everywhere but their designated locations, that was.
I looked at my frowning boyfriend as I rang up yet another client and told him to help me. “Go put those bras back in their bins.”
He didn’t look pleased, but he didn’t want me stuck in the store until midnight either, so he did as I said. He was picking up bras and panties left and right, straightening up hangers in disarray, and I was running around talking to customers, attempting to find sizes they requested in this or that camisole while also eyeing the clock.
As my boyfriend was attempting to fix up a pile of garters on a table next to the checkout counter, a very attractive woman plopped down a black teddy in front of me. I offered her my fake ear-to-ear smile especially reserved for customers that wait until the last five minutes of store hours to make their purchases, and proceeded to wrap her black teddy in the hot pink tissue paper, slapping a sticker onto the whole thing, and throwing it in a bag as I asked her, “Cash, check, or Visa?”
The woman arched a brow at me, but dutifully handed over her credit card. My boyfriend was staring at me over a hundred red and blue garters, his eyebrows forming one line across his forehead. I offered my fake smile to both of them this time and did the cashier routine before handing the woman her receipt and bag. Finally, the store was clear of clients and I could clean up, count the money, and go on my date. With a sigh of relief, I lowered the gate as the woman left the store and locked it. I kicked off my high heels and ran to the register to begin my duties.
“What did you ask that woman?” My boyfriend’s head popped up as he picked up a hangerless slip from off of the floor.
“Huh?” I asked him. “Cash, check, or Visa? Don’t you ask that over in your store?” I was referring to his job as a sale’s assistant in a store directly across the mall hall.
He grew very embarrassed, if the look on his face was anything to go by, and he cleared his throat a few times. “It’s cash, check or vee-sa,” he said.
If it was possible for an entire body to blush with embarrassment, I did so right then. I realized that for an entire year, I had been asking customers left and right, approximately twenty- five to thirty times a day, if they wished to pay with cash, check or “vie-sas.” The funny looks had nothing to do with their dwindling bank accounts. The moment I had dreaded my entire life had finally occurred: I was talking funny.
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