Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

A Marvelous Gift!!

I walk up to the mailbox and there is a wonderful present from my brother, a book. Yay!!

This one is Disabled Fables: Aesop's Fables, Retold and Illustrated by Artist's with Developmental Disabilitites.

What a treat!   You will never walk by or treat people with developmental disabilities in the same way again.  I recommend this book, not just for the beauty and insights, but for the way it makes you feel.   Read it and smile, and know exactly how you want to live.  It is so clear, isn't it, and if it isn't, this book will ensure you know just how to live each moment of each day.   It is for grade 1 and up, so most of us are covered. 

Here is the Foreward  by Sean Penn.

    In January 2001, I was invited to L.A. Goal, an agency on the West side of Los Angeles.  The purpose of my visit was to research the role of a mentally-disabled man for a motion picture called i am sam.

    When I arrived, I was greeted by L.A. Goal's no-nonsense, passionate Executive Director, Petite Konstantin.  This is not a woman who suffers fools like me easily.  At her direction, I was thrust into participating in that day's chore: T-shirts emblazoned with the artwork of my fellow workers needed packaging.  I was now a part of an assembly line comprised of the developmentally-disabled men and women of L.A. Goals.  I had no idea how to pack T-shirts in plastic, but I was surrounded by skilled packers, generous with their advice. "Which side goes in first?" I asked. "Where do I fold the sleeves?" "How do we seal the package?"  "Who am I?" "Where am I?"  Who's disabled now?

    In the panic of trying to keep up with the speed of my co-workers, I did just manage, here and there, to get a look at the artwork that was on the T-shirts.  At first, the pictures appeared childlike. Yet, there was a resonance to them that I still remember today. I don't know how best to describe them other than to say that they had a soul and maturity; in other words, they were art.  Pure.  Beautiful. Art.

    In the following pages we are reminded that it is innocence and humility coupled with the deep desire to express human thoughts and emotions that create any art of value. In Disabled Fables we are led into a world where the stories and pictures create an experience very close to the dream of one's own childhood.  I congratulate all the artists represented in this book, and I thank them for teaching me, among other things, how to pack a T-shirt into a tight plastic wrapper, exhibiting the art without rumpling the sleeves.

                - Sean Penn

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