Steven Salmon, author of IT'S A NEW LIFE! Mom is Gone, is unable to use his hands and uses Morse code to write, tapping out letters using his head. (See YouTube video here.) With a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Writing from the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point, and the author of five books, he often spends 10 to 12 hours a day writing 4 to 5 words a minute. Eight caregivers covering shifts 24/7 take care of Steven and his two housemates.
Steven Salmon often writes emails with the request to have them posted. He wants the world to know how ridiculous our system is in this country when it comes to caring for the disabled. The limits set on what he can make and still receive disability cramps his style and his potential success. His caregivers don't fare very well either. The current political climate exasperates the situation. Here is what he just wrote to me:
"The Republicans will veto the proposal of Governor Evers to increase Medicaid. If the Republicans had to walk in my shoes for a week they would think twice about their vetoing the proposal. I am an author living in a group home with a roommate, who is bipolar and should be in an institution. She is deliriously believing that she has AIDS and we are “married.” I want to earn more money and work more, but I can only make nine hundred dollars a year to remain eligible to receive care. I could make an income. No one will hire or pay me a few hundred dollars for a small amount of work. I could earn that in a month. My care attendants earn thirteen dollars an hour. Some attendants don’t show up or do the minimum amount of work to make a paycheck. A check lays on my desk waiting to be deposited in my checking account and a bill needs to be faxed to my beneficial agent. The case manager quit this week because she was overworked managing five houses. There is no manager here. One care attendant worked over twenty-four hours without a break. My boss who is the director of my care agency won’t like that. He hates paying overtime. In the past I would have emailed him about these concerns but he doesn’t want to hear from me. I’m just a thorn in his side. A stupid author who he brags about when I get published or get publicity opportunities like getting on the radio or TV. God forbid if my desk is messy editing a manuscript or I need assistance at the writing conference. Next March I will pitching a screen play and a young adult manuscript to agents. I’m just a statistic now. Someday I will be an known author. Why can’t I have some extra money to enjoy life like going to the farmer’s market or the theater? On New Year’s Eve I have an opportunity to write play in a day and produce it on New Year’s Eve. Can I do it? Yes, I will. It will be a challenge. Being up for twenty-four hours. That’s nothing new. I’m a writer with Cerebral palsy. This last week I was working on getting my tombstone laid. Who does that? Me. My funeral is set and paid for. I could die tomorrow and be all right with it, but there are more manuscripts to write and a girlfriend to find. My dreams are real and will come true. I’m one tough SOB! ~ Steve"