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Listen to Our Stories: Words, Pictures, and Songs by Young People with Disabilities
Listen to Our Stories: Words, Pictures, and Songs by Young People with Disabilities



I Wish I Could Be as Powerful as Lightning

Ryan Heraty

Ryan composed the writing and the painting included here when he was seventeen and a senior in high school. Ryan has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. He also has a learning disability that makes reading and writing difficult. Nevertheless, he told me he enjoyed writing, describing his process this way: “When I think about something, I put it together in my head to what I think it should be. Then I have someone write it down.” At the time that he made his submissions to this anthology, he was anticipating becoming less dependent on others to put his thoughts down on paper; he had recently begun learning how to use a voice-recognition computer-software program that enabled him to dictate his words into a computer.

Ryan told me that besides writing and painting, he enjoyed sports, especially skiing, road racing, and weightlifting. He also commented that he didn’t like to dwell on the past, which he felt he had no control over. “What I reflect on is what happens during the day . . . things you encounter, like other people’s attitudes — things you can change.”

Bad News

First I grow silent like a bucket of water with a hole in the bottom,
The drops dry up as they hit the floor.

Then I grow violent like the sea in the endless season of storm,
Waves crashing against my little boat making my life difficult to live.

Then I grow calm like the summer breeze,
For I know his spirit is like the wind that carries seeds of flowers.

dedicated to Al, d. 1995


It's Lightning Striking a Tree by Ryan Heraty. In Ryan's words, "I put these colors in because I like the way they mix together. I like the power of lightning. I wish I could be as powerful as lightning."

Click here to read a description of this drawing

For more information about the disabilities discussed in this story, please visit the Resource Links page.




spacerLinda Hillyer, compiler and editor of Listen to Our Stories
logo art by Adiyana Paramita
The combined contents of this website are © 2006-17 Linda Hillyer. All rights reserved.