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Scheduled Guests for May 21, 2018

Eliza Factor - Strange Beauty

Strange Beauty (Parallax Press, 2017) is a memoir. I started writing it shortly after my son Felix, then ten years old, moved to a residential school. Our house, in spite of the best efforts of my young daughters, felt dismally quiet and dull. I wanted to write a portrait that would recreate Felix’s energy and show off his depths. With the exception of Benjy in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and, more recently, Termite in Jayne Anne Phillips’s novel Lark & Termite, I had not come across any characters in American literature who reminded me of my son. Even in disability literature, his type of person barely seemed to exist. I believe this has to do with a tendency, particularly strong in my own beloved city of New York, to measure ourselves and each other according to quantifiable accomplishments. In the disability narratives that get published, for instance, you are far more likely to find stories about “how I saved my child from autism” or “ten famous people with autism,” or “how a one legged woman climbed the Himalayas,” than ruminations on being wordless in a wordy world, or the fullness of an enigmatic life. I wanted to represent Felix, and give an idea of his influence over me, our family, and our neighborhood. Living with him has taught me so much about violence and beauty, communion and loneliness, language and love. I wanted to share what I’ve learned, and to convey the immense worth and power of people like Felix. They are not to be pitied or condescendingly applauded. They are not a problem to be solved. They are an opportunity to widen our perceptions and connect with one another. They are not other, they are us.

Extreme Kids & Crew

Extreme Kids & Crew is a welcoming space where children with disabilities, their friends, and their families, socialize, create and play. We are community center, not a service provider. We do not offer therapy, but a play-space where families share resources, stories, tears, and laughter while children play and take part in inclusive arts programming that is open to all members of the family. We are A SPACE TO BE.

Anita Davis

Anita served the city of Youngstown, as a police officer, for over 35 years. Anita refers to me as her "favourite criminal"

Eliza Factor

I am a writer and the founder of Extreme Kids & Crew, a nonprofit community center that connects families raising children with disabilities through the arts and play. I live in Brooklyn, New York and Dublin, New Hampshire with my husband and three children, along with various friends and animals. I enjoy meeting other writers and readers, lovers of trees, people who live beyond language, and those who cartwheel down corporate corridors when no one is looking.

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