The Vision Thing: My essay on blindness and mobility in Houstonia Magazine
My life for the past 20 months has revolved around cooking and food. But before that, my life had revolved around writing. I hope that soon enough, I will be able to strike a fine balance between the two loves of my life, as I like to call them.
So it was with great pleasure that I was recently asked to write a personal essay for the new kid on the Houston journalism block, Houstonia Magazine. My former editor at Eating Our Words, the Houston Press food and dining blog for which I was a former contributor, is now at Houstonia, and she approached me about writing for the “H-town Diary” column, which she’d mentioned also boasts the likes of such writers as Chitra Divakaruni and Mat Johnson, both of whom were my instructors at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. Of course I agreed I would write a piece for the December issue—it was my chance to switch gears and float back towards my writer persona. Plus I figured it would give me new material for my memoir (which I plan to finish a draft of in 2014—more on this later).
At first, the editor and I were kicking ideas back and forth about what I should write. “It’s your personal take on Houston. It can be about anything as long as it relates to Houston,” were just about the only parameters she’d given me.
Well, what about my favorite places to eat in Houston? Or how the food scene has evolved over the decades in Houston? Or what about my decision to accept a job offer and move back to Houston after college on a sudden whim while I was standing in the middle of the Hong Kong supermarket and thinking, I’m never going to get this sort of Asian food in Austin?
The editor liked the last idea best, but when I sat down to write, the words just wouldn’t flow. I’d been living and breathing and talking and writing food and cooking for the past two years, and something inside of me told me there was more I had to say about Houston than its food.
And thus this essay was born, partly out of my gripe for the city’s inconvenient public transportation system, and partly from my naiveté that I could possibly start a ripple of change by my words. At the very least, I wanted to make others aware of what it was like to be visually impaired in Houston.
And then the words just flowed.
So here it is, my personal essay about my trials and tribulations as a blind Houstonian trying to get around town, just like everybody else: “The Vision Thing” by Christine Ha. The essay is published in the December issue of Houstonia Magazine, on stands now. Happy reading. Do you live in Houston? What do you think of the public transportation here? Do you know anyone who has to deal with the METROLift? Or just want to gripe about my writing style? Leave a comment.