Writing has been Brooke Smith’s everything. The Denham Springs native was born 26 years ago with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects her ability to talk and walk.
She can only type with one finger, her left index finger. Most days, she writes for nine hours straight to meet deadlines. But as she puts it: “Nothing will stop me.”
She’s shared her story in a documentary produced about her, A Love Story for Brooke. She writes for websites and creates short stories for the mobile app Texties. She also has a personal blog, Creative Works by Brooke Smith.
Smith has loved writing since middle school. Her 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Taylor, encouraged her to submit a poem to the With Honors American Literacy of Poetry Publication, and it got published. Seeing her own thoughts in print excited her, and she hasn’t stopped writing since.
Because she has difficulty talking, writing has been vital to her self-expression. “My voice is loud and clear through my writing,” she says.
In her nonfiction, she often writes about what it’s like to live with a disability. She gives advice on traveling and dating for wheelchair-users. But she can keep it light, too. She likes writing fiction—mysteries, comedies and graphic novels.
While Smith lives with a disability, her life is her own, and she moves through the world with warmth. She wants people to see that she, like everyone else, is an individual.
“I am nowhere near to being normal. My life is full of surprises and plot twists. Yet, the best stories have the most interesting plots. I am glad that my story is fascinating to people. I want to be recognized for my originality … One of my goals in life is to help young disabled individuals believe in the impossible. Their limitations should not prevent them from living. Their limitations should only be their motivations. I’m unable to speak well, but I have never given up on being understood.”
This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.