The letter that made me cry

When I have author visits with schools I tell the students my inspiration behind writing MYSTIC. Arielle. Before I knew I was going to write a fantasy, I knew I would have a protagonist who used a wheelchair. Arielle was reading many books as a fourth grader in the Accelerated Reader program and not one of them had characters using a wheelchair. Meanwhile, I watched as Arielle’s life changed and she had to persevere through many obstacles while surrounded by able bodied people who she continually had to educate about these obstacles. Kids as well as adults could behave in ways that were insensitive. Playgrounds were not accessible and often her friends would run off and leave her. Sometimes things were said that were not appropriate like: “So if I shoot you in the leg, you wouldn’t feel it?” And then there was the substitute teacher in 5th grade that yelled at her for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Arielle had transferred to her desk and he didn’t notice the wheelchair in the back of the room.

I wanted to write a book that showed the inner and outer struggles of a child using a wheelchair. After six years, many edits and seven full rewrites, MYSTIC was published January 5, 2013. Since then, I’ve received many letters and emails from children telling me how much they enjoyed MYSTIC and asking when the next book will be out. I love hearing from kids and I’ve kept all of the letters and emails they sent. Yesterday, a letter came addressed to Krista Rausin from Illinois. I was very curious because I write under the name K.D. Rausin and it was an adult’s handwriting on the envelope. I opened the letter and read it out loud to Eric. Tears streamed down both our faces. The words told of three young girls who read MYSTIC.  All three used wheelchairs and lived in small towns where they were the only ones using wheelchairs. They were, “SO excited to read a story about a girl who uses a wheelchair ‘just like them.'”

Suddenly, a sense of closure came over me. After a year of worrying about how many books I sold, whether I was doing enough marketing, and whether or not I was taken seriously as a writer since I published MYSTIC myself, I let it go. MYSTIC made a difference.  Three girls that may be feeling the same things Arielle felt at their age had the chance to read about a young girl “just like them.”

Disability Resources and Educational Services

Comments to "The letter that made me cry"

  1. Jamie Ayres

    February 1, 2014

    This makes my heart smile. As an author, I think we need rhino skin. It’s not an easy business and it’s easy to let ourselves believe we’re not making a bit of difference. Then there are shiny moments like these. I hope you never doubt yourself again! Call me if you do. And hey, I remember that pledge story from Mystic! P.S. You have more thank you letters on the way. Is it wrong of me to hope one of them will make you cry 😉

    • kdrausin

      February 2, 2014

      Haha! It’s not wrong at all. I look forward to reading those letters. Thanks, Jamie.

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