Reader, writer, storyteller

Unofficial Bits and Pieces

Quick Quirky Facts (also known as the good stuff!)
I don’t have a dominant hand, nor am I ambidextrous. Instead, I have what is called “mixed hand.” I am naturally left-handed but was forced in primary school to use my right hand. I use my right hand for handwriting and other fine motor skills, but I can do all other tasks equally well with both hands. I don’t have a backhand for tennis or squash, but switch the racket between hands.

I like my music unusual, in makeup with a side dash of Al. Which is code for Cyndi Lauper…

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I have two main topics I write about — Books, Reading, & Librarian Life and Cystic Fibrosis & Organ Donation, although I’ve always considered myself a Fiction writer first.
I also write about Dogs — Because Dogs Are Good For the Soul.
Occasionally I write about Relationships along with a blast from the past that brings History to life.
Writing in multi-genres and topics means I have learned some valuable Writing Advice and Tips.

Everyone has a favorite child — and of my personal essays, this is mine:

And I really enjoyed researching these stories:

Subscribe to my newsletter &…

From a slush pile reader to a judge for a major literary award

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) is the peak body for children’s literature in Australia. The CBCA is a volunteer-run not-for-profit organization and has held its annual book awards since 1946. The Book of the Year Award celebrates high literary and artistic merit in children’s books.

CBCA book week — held in August, is a celebration of children’s books in schools and public libraries across Australia. Book week is timed to coincide with the announcement of the Book of the Year Awards.

As a librarian being a CBCA judge has always been a bucket list item. When my application…


Day 14: The statistics said I would die soon after giving birth

Beliefs are not always what they seem

I grew up believing that I wasn’t going to grow up. And if I did reach an age to be considered an adult, children were out of the question. Because people with CF were infertile, or so we were told.

Neither of those things turned out to be true.

Pregnancy for a woman with Cystic Fibrosis was considered a massive risk in 1995. There was little data about outcomes both during pregnancy and after birth — and it wasn’t positive.

When I accidentally-on-purpose fell pregnant, it changed the…

A cry of defiance against the social model of disability

Cover of I Can Jump Puddles
Cover of I Can Jump Puddles

As a person who identifies as proudly disabled, my reading is quite diverse — and as a school librarian, my aim is to build a collection that represents our school body. I have strong beliefs that every child should see themselves accurately represented in literature.

I read many of the books I purchase for the school library. Currently, I’m working on expanding the books that accurately represented chronic illness and disability. So I decided to revisit I Can Jump Puddles.

I first read I Can Jump Puddles in my childhood, but if asked, I couldn’t honestly tell you what it…


Day 13: How the cross-infection policy changed everything

Life was about to change

My first hint that life was changing within the CF community was having to provide sputum samples before going to the Adult CF camp in Queensland in 1993. The assignment of our rooms (which floor) and the bathrooms we could use were determined by the bacteria we cultured.

Then Burkholderia Cepacia reared its ugly head and ripped our community in two. Some people who cultured Cepacia died within weeks. Others lived. There was no rhyme or reason for the way it affected different people.

Then the “guidelines” came into force. There was to be no in-person contact with those who…


Day 12: A time when the nurses would join in our shenanigans

Two people sitting on a balcony
Two people sitting on a balcony

B Block

In the early ’90s, the respiratory ward at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (Charlies) was in B Block. Back then, people with CF would share a double room or hang out in the CF Common Room together — it was a place where we could cook, eat meals, play board games or watch movies.

At Charlies for the most part, the nurses would join in our shenanigans. They were either actively participating in them by joining in the water fights or providing the necessary syringes for the shenanigans to commence. On the surface, it might seem irresponsible — but the nursing…


Day 11: The road to self-destruction was well signposted

Everything seemed hopeless

I was nineteen, relatively healthy, and stuck on the Invalid Pension. Not because I needed the Invalid Pension, but because other than my few casual shifts at Coles, I’d been unable to secure any other employment.

I still wanted that education, I wanted to work in a library, I wanted to travel, and I wanted a family. And it all seemed so elusive.

More significantly, I was starting to believe this constant narrative that was thrown at me. Who was I to dream of having a job, travel or a family? …


Day 10: As an adult, I needed a job to survive

“The books are too dusty. They’ll make you cough.”

I passed my first interview after high school with flying colors. Then I was sent for a medical with the company doctor.
“Medical history,” the doctor asked.
“Cystic Fibrosis,” I replied.
“We’re done here,” he said as he placed a big cross against my name. “You’re not fit to work.”
“But you haven’t even examined me,” I protested.
“Don’t need to. You won’t be able to hold down a job.”
“What?” I asked, my indignation plain, “Not even in a library?”
“Certainly not. The books are too dusty. They’ll make you cough.”

Back at the company, I asked if they…


Day 9: The struggle to gain part-time employment in high school

Disability discrimination comes in many forms

The social model of disability states that people are more disabled by physical barriers (access issues) or attitudes and assumptions than by bodily limitations.

Most of the barriers I have experienced are from assumptions — what other people perceived to be the problem, rather than my limitations. I am well aware of my physical limits and know how to work around them.

When I first started to apply for employment, I received knockback after knockback.

“I’d like to study librarianship,” I told my Year Ten guidance counselor.

“Oh, no,” he said. “Books are heavy. Not for the likes of you to lug around. You’ll never cope. Accounting. I’m going to put you down…

Sandi Parsons

Sandi Parsons lives and breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller. Newsletter subscribers receive my free ebook The Last Walk →

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