Susan Nussbaum's plays been produced at many theaters. Her play "Mishuganismo" is included in the anthology Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out. In 2008 she was cited by the Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" for her work with girls with disabilities. This is her first novel.
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Susan Nussbaum, author of Good Kings Bad Kings, talks about how a debilitating injury changed her career - and her entire outlook on life.
I used to wonder where all the writers who have used disabled characters so liberally in their work were doing their research. When I became a wheelchair-user in the late '70s, all I knew about being disabled I learned from reading books and watching movies, and that scared the shit out of me. Tiny Tim was long-suffering and angelic and was cured at the end. Quasimodo was a monster who loved in vain and was killed at the end, but it was for the best. Lenny was a child who killed anything soft, and George had to shoot him. It was a mercy killing. Ahab was a bitter amputee and didn't care how many died in his mad pursuit to avenge himself on a whale. Laura Wingfield had a limp so no man would ever love her.
This imagery fresh in my mind, my own future seemed to hold little promise. I had been in acting school at the time I was injured. As all of the theaters were now inaccessible to me, both behind the stage and in front, and the chances of any director in the world hiring me were remote, I decided I had no choice but to reinvent myself.
I joined the disability rights movement, barely ...
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