Robert D Reed Publishers
It's a New Life! Mom is Gone by Steven Salmon
AN INSPIRING MEMOIR BY A DETERMINED PERSEVERING MAN WITH SEVERE CEREBRAL PALSY
Steven Salmon, an author with severe Cerebral palsy, gives us a very personal in-depth look at his life in IT’S A NEW LIFE! MOM IS GONE. Raw, honest, and endearing, Steven writes movingly about the death of his mother, about the humiliations of ordinary life, his hopes and dreams, and his adjustment to living in a group home.
Steven 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’s life turned upside down the night his mother suddenly died after a brief illness. After caring for Steven all of her life, he has to become a man overnight. His mother dedicated and sacrificed everything to allow Steven to pursue his dream to become an author.
In this memoir, we see an aspiring author, grieving the loss of his mother while making big decisions for the first of his life. He is thrust into the world from his sheltered life. Steven hires a care agency to care for him, chooses a house to live in, adjusts to having care attendants taking care of his personal needs and living with two less than ideal roommates, and buries his mother.
Often he writes through the night when the writing is flowing. Sometimes he has to wake up the overnight care attendant when one of his roommate calls to use the bathroom and Steven wants to go to bed. Nothing stops Steven. He is on a mission.
Dreams are meant to happen, he keeps affirming. One of Steven’s ultimate dreams is to have relations with a woman. When he starts looking at houses to live in, Steven’s first question is, “Can I have women come over to have sex?” He is told yes, but later Steven learns from his case manager that his caregivers can’t call women or help him to get ready to have relations. It is considered “pimping,” and attendants are terminated for offering assistance. Steven fell into a deep depression after learning this fact since he is a forty-nine-year-old virgin. Steven says, “I have always wanted to be with a woman. I have read, written, dreamed, imagined, and wished to have sex. That’s my only desire now! I’m a man with a career, but I can’t have what I want the most. I feel I won’t experience sex. It makes me want to die.” Steven satisfies his desire by getting lap dances at a strip club.
One of Steven’s biggest dreams is to have his own apartment where he can have quiet to write. The problem is his social security is not enough to pay for rent and the cost of a care staff. “I need my own place to create in peace and do I want to do. It makes me upset that these rules restrict my freedom. I feel trapped by stupid rules!” Steven’s two roommates are an artistic twenty eight-year-old man and a wheelchair-bound man in his sixties. “My roommates are kind, but we don’t share anything in common. I work, have four bosses, have responsibilities, watch sports, and go out to drink. I feel alone,” Steven says. He continues to write despite these circumstances.
Steven wrote his memoir in 8 months while working on another manuscript for his literary agent. “Often I cried at the computer writing as I mourned the loss of my mother, but I kept moving forward with my writing,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my friends and my agent,”
Steve's powerful voice pulls readers into his world, his life, and his experiences. This book gives everyone a chance to understand that a disability doesn't define a person, but his or her actions and impact in life do. Anyone who's experienced loss, love, and friendship will be taken by his raw emotion and honesty about life. ~ David Strong, Creative Writing Teacher and Technical Support Coach, Northland Pines High School, Eagle River, Wisconsin
Steve's honest and true story is a game-changer in how we often judge people before knowing their soul and witnessing their courage. It's a New Life is both a story of confronting grief and facing independence for the first time, two important life lessons. With writing that's edgy and raw, this is a book I couldn't put down. ~ Kristine Hansen, Chef, wine, and travel Milwaukee newspaper reporter.
Steven Salmon’s memoir is a well-written, fast-paced, and heartfelt look at what it’s like to have not just a dream but a yearning to accomplish something against all odds. This memoir defines “courage” and “hope.” After reading this story, it’ll stay with you. Steve’s story is especially illuminating for writers or any artist who might find themselves depressed over their lack of progress with a project. Steve shows all of us how to charge forward with grace, wisdom, and humor—and definitely courage. I highly recommend this memoir. ~ Christine DeSmet, faculty associate, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and mystery author and screenwriter
NOTE: Third photo is Steven at a Writer's Conference in Madison, WI March 18, 2017.