October 21, 2013
This week marks the one year anniversary of the publication of Laurie Rubin’s awe-inspiring memoir, Do You Dream of Color? Insights from a Girl Without Sight.
Laurie Rubin looks back on her life as an international opera singer who happens to be blind. From her loneliness and isolation as a middle school student to her experiences skiing, Rubin offers her young readers a life-story rich in detail and inspiration drawn from everyday challenges. Beginning with her childhood in California, Rubin tells the story of her life and the amazing experiences that led her to a career as an internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano.
Laurie shared her insights to writing, performing, and creating her memoir and music with Seven Stories Press and her readers:
What advice do you have for young people who want to write, sing, or pursue their creative talents?
I would tell them to go for it! Many people stop themselves from going after the things they want to do because they believe they’re pipe dreams. Writing was a reach for me because I had spent my life training as a singer. However, I knew I had something to say, and found my writing voice. I would tell them to do whatever it takes to make their dreams a reality for them, and to have unconditional belief that their dreams are possible. The only thing that makes a writer or singer different from an aspiring writer or singer is the steps taken to make his/her goal possible. I’d also tell them to find the thing that makes them special, and to be willing to share that with the world, to be generous with their vulnerability, unique traits, and spirit. That is when the world will really listen and also relate.
What kinds of changes have you seen since the original publication of your book?
The changes I’ve seen in my life since the publication of my book are really profound. First of all, my career has changed from merely a concert giving one to truly reaching out to people in a new way. I figure out ways of relating my book and stories from it to songs I perform in concert so that the music has more relevance for the audience, and they can relate in a more universal way. The book has made me become a stronger artist in that way. I also get so many comments from people I have never met before that the book is more than a story of a blind person, it is a story about them, meaning that they can relate to my stories. They are getting more than a voyeuristic view into my life. They are actually reading something that reminds them of their own struggles, triumphs, challenges, joys, etc. I think this makes them realize that I’m more similar to other people, and face the same universal issues, blind or sighted.
Why is youth outreach so important to your work?
I believe youth outreach is so important because it exposes people at a very tender age to disabilities and disability awareness. Youth groups and school assemblies are my favorite groups to present to because they are currently going through many of the things I mention in my book about isolation and bullying. They often approach me, and tell me they can totally relate to the passages I read to them, and they too realize I’m not much different than they are. Jenny and I were inspired by my book to write some music about some of those relevant issues like bullying, and when I talk to school groups about always believing in themselves, and letting them know that things get better as they have for me, they are incredibly inspired and filled with hope. We’ve had groups of students crying, and thanking us for letting them know that the difficult, awkward period does come to an end, and I realize how little they hear that in a visceral way. People tell them this of course, but exposing my own vulnerable side in the book makes that incredibly real for them.
Check back tomorrow for more exclusive content from Laurie Rubin & Triangle Square!