In 1955, shortly after my twin brother Dave and I turned three, my family moved to the Philadelphia area so that the two of us could attend the Overbrook School for the Blind and still get home for the weekends. That experience of living at Overbrook had a profound effect on my life, both for good and for ill. I got to grow up (at least through eighth grade) with peers and mentors who were also blind. Without life at Overbrook, I may never have known what it is like to browse in a library where I could read any book I wanted, because everything was in Braille or on “talking book.” Schools for the blind generally had excellent music programs, and Overbrook was no exception. Since those early days, I have remained an avid lover and performer of music.

At the same time, I missed most of those years when I could have grown up with my sisters, not to mention my parents. Still, I considered myself lucky; most students at Overbrook didn’t have a brother or sister there to share the experiences.

In ninth grade, I became one of the first students to try “mainstreaming” in a public school. This led, in turn, to double-majoring in music and English at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA), followed by study in organ performance at Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ) and in Paris.

Since returning home from France, I have worked as a church musician, systems programmer, high school English teacher, and one-on-one computer instructor for people who are blind. I currently provide email technical support for the Library of Congress’s “talking book” download service, operated by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

I carry on a regular practice of writing (poetry and creative nonfiction), but also like to make time for singing in Mendelssohn Club (a 140-voice chorus), putting on programs of music and poetry with my brother, doing peer counseling, and advocating for just causes such as saving the Philadelphia Library for the Blind from being dismantled by our state government.

I don’t claim to live a completely attentive, observant, intentional life, but after sixty years on this planet, I love life more than ever and believe that living wide-awake is the only way to go.

Thank you for stopping by. If you would like to contact me, you can reach me at dansimpson@comcast.net.