This is the final post of the Quick Q&A series. I hope you enjoyed all of the other interviews. This one I saved for last because it features both sisters, Joy and Jenelle, who write DoubleVisionBlog. Don’t miss the extra item after the interview…
Jenelle Landgraf, Washington State.
Q: Describe your visual impairment in one sentence.
Jenelle: I have retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which causes loss of peripheral vision.
Joy: I have Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is a degenerative condition that starts with loss of peripheral vision and night blindness.
Q: How do you want others to refer to your vision loss?
Joy: legally blind or low vision or whatever they want!
Q: Why did you start blogging?
Jenelle: About 4 years ago, I had the idea to start doublevisionblog as a way for my sister and me to share with family, friends, and other people dealing with similar challenges or disabilities. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what would come of it or if anyone besides our mother would actually read our posts. Writing the blog has been more of a personal journey than I anticipated, and I am grateful for it.
Joy: My twin sister asked me if I’d like to start sharing stories about our vision loss together on a blog, and I immediately loved the idea. I love having an outlet to share my stories and encourage others in their journeys with vision loss.
Q: How do you write your posts?
Jenelle: I usually write my posts in my head while I’m taking a walk or doing something mundane, like washing dishes. Then, I find a quiet moment to sit down and record the things that have been floating around in my head. When I don’t have ideas for new posts, my sister assigns me a specific topic and due date. (yes, she was a middle school English teacher for several years, so she is very good at giving out assignments!)
Joy: It depends on the post, but usually I start jotting down ideas and then let them marinate in my mind for a few days before sitting down to write the full post.
Q: What do you enjoy reading?
Jenelle: I love historical fiction, and I really enjoy reading about other cultures. Isabelle Allende is one of my favorite authors. I also love a good memoir because so many people have unique stories to tell.
Joy: Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Isabelle Allende. Non-fiction, fiction, sci-fi, historical fiction
Q: What advice would you give to someone experiencing vision loss?
Jenelle: There is no right way to go blind. Allow yourself to take the journey that is best for you, and don’t worry about what others may say or think about your personal journey with vision loss.
Joy: The more you fight vision loss and try to hide it, the harder it will be. The more you embrace it, the more free you will feel Canes and guide dogs are not crutches of dependence, but merely tools to use to help you move about the world with confidence.
Q: Recommend a resource for people directly or indirectly experiencing vision loss.
Jenelle: There are some great support groups on Facebook – “Room With a View” for women and “RP Family“, and asking questions to these online support groups of individuals who have gone through vision loss can offer great insight. Personally, I found meeting with a counselor one on one to be an effective way for me to face anger/sadness/denial/despair over my vision loss.
Joy: Well, a great new organization that I just heard about regarding employment for blind and visually impaired people is called “Industries for the Blind”, and they are a very professional company with an awesome mission. Check them out on Facebook!
Q: What’s your favorite dessert?
Jenelle: flourless chocolate cake – gimme some – right now please
Joy: dark chocolate mousse
Q: What can you not get enough of lately?
Jenelle: Brene Brown – I love all her books, her interviews, everything she posts online.
Any podcasts that Joy recommends – she calls me literally every other day with a new “must listen” and she is always spot on with her recommendations
Joy: There is this podcast I’ve been obsessed with lately, called “Blind Living Radio”. I think there are 85 episodes so far, and I’m binge listening to all of them right now. #addicted
Q: How can people connect with you besides your blog?
E-mail Jenelle jenlandgraf AT msn.com , or Joy at joyellenthomas AT gmail.com
And, just as I promised, here’s the extra item. Check out what Joy created, the DoubleVisionBlog Fight Song. It conveys a brilliant message. Watch it and share it!