Before I introduce my younger sister, who last night began a blog of her own (Jeune Gal), I want to provide some background about my family.
I come from a family of writers, each of us with a unique style and method of sharing our hearts and thoughts with the world. I have so much gratitude for the way I was brought up, always being read to and encouraged to write. My father recited Shakespeare to me when I was a really little kid, and perhaps the nectar of Shakespeare's language flowed into my developing brain and planted a seed that continues to grow each time a line of poetry or a storyline comes into my head.
When I was seven, I applied to be a poet laureate in my hometown at the suggestion of my father, who later did become the poet laureate. Though I knew I wouldn't be selected, going through the process of submitting poetry and receiving a personal letter of encouragement from the committee was an empowering process that no doubt contributed to my continued inspiration as a poet.
Every year that our local Poetry, Prose, & Arts Festival has taken place, my sister and I have attended, writing poetry, reading others' poetry and stories, and hearing from famous and local poets about why writing matters. We were even featured on one of the promotional postcards for the Festival one year.
A major reason that I've pursued the world of writing is my parents. My father is a journalist, community college English teacher, former poet laureate, television book show co-host, and writer of short stories. My mother writes every morning in a journal, relies extensively on her writing and communication skills in her job, and has many times in her life written letters and poetry. This barely scratches the surface of how my parents have been role models to me, not only in writing, but in everything they've done and how they've done it.
Beyond my parents, there are many other writers in my family, too, including my grandmother (and faithful Green Gal blog reader!), who has written a number of short books with stories and poems that she's given to family members and friends. I could go on about how family and friends in my life who write or express themselves artistically have inspired me to be the writer, poet, and artist that I am today, but that could take up ten more blog posts. This post is about my sister, one of my biggest inspirations and supporters.
Given the history of writing in our family, it's no surprise that my younger sister also has a knack for sharing her thoughts with the written word. Though I'm well aware that she was exposed to the same inspirations and models of writers as myself, she hasn't been in the habit of sharing her words as often as I have with my blog, so this morning when I read her latest blog post on her new blog, Jeune Gal, I was impressed and so proud of her. Her ability to communicate her thoughts into a story through blogging is something I've been trying to teach my peers about at college; it is not often that someone actually writes their blog in a way that captures "story-telling" in a very real sense, but my sister has managed to do this without anyone telling her how. She not only shares the heart of her story in a succinct way, she also organizes her thoughts in a way that ties everything together.
Her blog is a space to share her experiences with having a rare genetic disease called Jeune syndrome, which makes her small (among other symptoms and conditions). She is fortunate enough to have a very mild case, but it has still greatly affected her life in large, visible ways and in more subtle ways.
She also hopes that writing this blog will open up the door for connection with other older people with Jeune syndrome. Because the disease can be quite severe, most babies who are diagnosed with the disease die very young. My sister has been doing research to find others who have survived the condition, and so far she's only found one or two people who are old enough to connect online. Everyone else writing about or asking questions about the disease online are parents of children with the disease.
It's inspiring to see her putting her ability to write to the service of connection with others who are struggling or have struggled. Like I said, each of the writers in my family has a unique way, purpose, and skill in sharing through written word.
Please visit her blog and read about her experiences. Beyond the audience of those with Jeune syndrome or who have children or know children with the disease, the blog is written for society in general, so that we can all gain some perspective on what it means to be treated differently by people in our world based on appearance and how we can all have more compassion and respect for all people.
Perhaps the more people who read her blog, the higher the chance is that someone with Jeune syndrome will come across her posts. She would love to connect and share experiences with someone else in the world who has faced similar obstacles to her.
Her blog can be found at http://jeunegal.blogspot.com/
Welcome to Green Gal's blog, where you'll find stories, recipes, gardening updates, and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems. This blog is written by a young woman entrepreneur who is also a beginning farmer-gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.
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