In this searing and seriously funny memoir Dorothy Ellen Palmer falls down, a lot, and spends a lifetime learning to appreciate it. Born with congenital anomalies in both feet, then called birth defects, she was adopted as a toddler by a wounded 1950s family who had no idea how to handle the tangled complexities of adoption and disability. From repeated childhood surgeries to an activist awakening at university to decades as a feminist teacher, mom, improv coach and unionist, she tried to hide being different. But now, in this book, she's standing proud with her walker and sharing her journey. With savvy comic timing that spares no one, not even herself, Palmer takes on Tiny Tim, shoe shopping, adult diapers, childhood sexual abuse, finding her birth parents, ableism and ageism. In Falling for Myself, she reckons with her past and with everyone's future, and allows herself to fall and get up and fall again, knees bloody, but determined to seek Disability Justice, to insist we all be seen, heard, included and valued for who we are.
Dorothy Ellen Palmer is a disabled senior writer, accessibility consultant, and retired high school drama teacher and union activist. She grew up in suburban Toronto, and spent childhood summers at a three-generation cottage near Fenelon Falls.
For three decades, she worked in three provinces as a high school English/Drama teacher, teaching on a Mennonite Colony, a four-room schoolhouse, an adult learning centre attached to a prison, and a highly diverse new high school in Pickering. Elected to her union executive each year for fifteen years, she created staff and student workshops to fight bullying, racism, sexism, sexual harassment, and homophobia.
Dorothy sits on the Accessibility Advisory Board of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) and is an executive board member for the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP) where she writes a monthly column on disability in CanLit for the newsletter.
Her work has appeared in: REFUSE, Wordgathering, Alt-Minds, All Lit Up, Don't Talk to Me About Love, Little Fiction Big Truths, 49th Shelf, and Open Book. Her first novel, When Fenelon Falls, features a disabled teen protagonist in the Woodstock-Moonwalk summer of 1969. She lives in Burlington, Ontario, and can always be found tweeting