Local Writer Aims To Help Disabled Tell Their Stories

OSWEGO, NY – Local writer Amy Quonce has begun a community project that will give voice to people with disabilities.

“After picking up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Special Needs Soul at the rivers end bookstore, I was inspired to do a similar anthology based on the lives of people in Upstate New York,” she explained. “New York State has the largest amount of people with disabilities because of the great services that are not provided in any other state. We are the perfect place to write such an anthology.”

Amy Quonce reads from one of her stories earlier this summer at a special event.
Amy Quonce reads from one of her stories earlier this summer at a special event.

She has contacted Katie Backus, community services coordinator, Oswego County DSS, Division of Mental Hygiene. She has helped spread the word to many agencies throughout the county, Quonce said, adding that she hopes the general public gets involved as well.

Most publishers want to see a complete manuscript or at least the first few chapters to be considered for representation, she said.

She has been inquiring to different agents about the project; self-publishing might be an option, too.

“Right now I am in the process of contacting agents in hopes of getting representation and writing the book proposal for possible publishers. If I am unable to secure a traditional publisher, I will begin some fundraisers so that we can self publish the book,” she said. “My vision is to get enough entries so that it is similar to the Chicken Soup for the Soul, Caring for the Special Needs Child book, yet focused on the needs of people in our area.”

“While this project is in the beginning phases, it seems to have generated a lot of interest in the community.  The Oswego County Autism Task Force has asked if they can post the information on their website. I have linked it to my website as well (www.windingroadbook.weebly.com),” Quonce said.

The Oswego YMCA has offered to display some of the pieces at its annual member and staff holiday party as well as hosting a public reading, which will be scheduled for next spring.

“We are hoping to get stories and poems from caregivers, family members and especially from the individuals themselves on how their life has been affected by a disability,” she said. “These can be humorous, quirky, or life affirming.”

Quonce envisions From Caring To Sharing as focusing on the humor, trials and tribulations of caring for a special needs child and sharing them among friends.

Everyone is invited share their stories and poems in a community based anthology on what life is like living outside of the box, she noted.

“Funny, quirky or inspiring, life with a special needs child can be just as unique and unpredictable as the weather in Upstate New York,” she said. “Please join us in a project that will promote literacy and community bonding while gaining acceptance for those living with a disability.”

Right now, she is talking with the Oswego YMCA regarding plans to schedule a night where the community can meet about the project.

“When I have received all of the submissions I will ask for a panel of volunteers to read through the entries to decide which ones will in the book proposal,” she said.

And on a personal note, she added, “I recently submitted two stories for consideration in an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul series.”

Submission Guidelines

All entries must be 1,200 words or less and have a positive aspect to it. A total of 50 pieces will be chosen by Oct. 15 and compiled together to be submitted for possible publication.

Those accepted will be notified shortly thereafter.

Several pieces will have the opportunity to be on display during the Oswego YMCA event.

All participants will be invited to a public reading of their work in the spring.

For more information and to submit your work, contact Quonce at: [email protected] or 343-1035, WindingRoadBook.Weebly.Com and on Facebook/From Caring To sharing.