Rolling Without Limits

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Cow Tipping Press: Helping Authors With Disabilities Tell Their Stories
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Cow Tipping Press: Helping Authors With Disabilities Tell Their Stories

At Wild Rumpus book store in Minneapolis, you’ll often find local authors, delivering their latest labors of love. Mallory Schwartz is one of those authors. 

In front of an engaged audience, she’s reading, “Mallory Saves The Planet”.  

"Oh no, it's a bomb. Phew!" she read. "They come in the spaceship. You took it out right now."

Mallory loves to write stories. She has lots of them. She just needed someone to listen. 

And that’s where Bryan Boyce comes in.

"This is a group of people that are so often spoken about," said Boyce, "Which is why I'm always so hesitant to give an interview."

For more than ten years, Boyce has been working to give people with intellectual and developmental disabilities a voice. Two years ago, he started a Minnesota-based non-profit called Cow Tipping Press. It’s a publisher for people like Mallory, who Boyce says, we don’t hear from enough.

"If you start from a mindset of someone with a disability has a rich, different form of human experience that the rest of us without disabilities are missing out on if we don't engage with," said Boyce.

But before they take center stage, all of the writers start in classes. In one exercise, teacher Zarra is simply giving student Sam writing prompts.

"You tell me what you'd like to write," said Zarra.

"Yeah. I like my, my doggie," said Sam. 

"Ok, and my family, too," replied Zarra. "What else would you like to say?" 

And then she transcribes each word, as is. 

The class also has a teacher’s aide. Nathan is a former student who comes to support and encourage. At the end of class, he bestows an imaginary crown on student Mallory.

"I will give you the A++ crown," said Nathan. 

At the end of each semester, the work is published and the students become authors, which brings us back to the book store, where these authors bring their ideas to life. 

New author Ardelle shares some of her work.

"What do you think we could do to change the world?" reads Ardelle. "I think that we could be more respectful, considerate and kind to others." 

They're quite literally flipping the script on how the rest of us see disability. 

Image credit: Photo by Author

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