Keeping in Touch Spring 2009

Article Highlights:
  • All those communication marvels in the world mean nothing without the spark of human intelligence to craft messages that are coherent, understandable and ultimately meaningful to readers.
  • Longtime Quest contributors Andy Vladimir and Abby Albrecht were two such powerful communicators.
by Gerald C. Weinberg on April 1, 2009 - 3:38pm

QUEST Vol. 16, No. 2

One of the greatest human gifts I know is the ability to communicate effectively.

Gerald Weinberg
Gerald C. Weinberg

The world around us is imbued with a staggering array of communications vehicles. There’s the technological behemoth known as the Internet, with its e-mail, blogs, YouTube, MySpace and — the ultimate in brief communication — Twitter. On top of that there are cell phones, BlackBerries, TV, radio, printed newspapers and magazines, all jabbering away at us.

Yet all those communication marvels mean nothing without the spark of human intelligence to craft messages that are coherent, understandable and ultimately meaningful to readers.

Longtime Quest contributors Andy Vladimir and Abby Albrecht were two such powerful communicators.

Andy was 76 when he died this past fall; Abby was 33. The disparity in their ages doesn’t matter — both spoke with wonderful clarity about their unique experiences, inspiring and educating readers with and without disabilities.

Andy, who had myotonic muscular dystrophy, was a widely published expert in the world of travel and hospitality. His articles for t.ravelers with disabilities in Quest’s To Boldly Go section took readers from distant ports to Disneyland, from the bottom of the sea to the top of a horse.

Abby, who had spinal muscular atrophy, was an award-winning writer and Web designer who filtered the trappings of everyday life through a wry wit, whether writing about problems with personal care attendants or analyzing her own improbable 30th birthday.

We’ll miss them both deeply. But we know their spirits will live on, not only in the world at large, but also here in Quest.

This issue of the magazine offers a multitude of articles by writers with disabilities. In addition to humor (see Brice Carroll) and opinion (From Where I Sit), our special section on exercise, contains articles by freelance writers who, like Andy and Abby, professionally and ably illuminate the essence of living with disability.

Numerous other articles in this issue describe firsthand experiences of people with muscle diseases in such areas as exercise, education and power chair sports.

And what’s more “real life” than fashion — after all, everybody wears clothes! Don’t miss the photo spread on fashion in a wheelchair, inspired by Clinton Kelly of the TV show “What Not to Wear.” It was written by Abby’s mother and caregiver, Donna Albrecht.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Quest. And if you get the sensation you’re on a special wavelength, it’s because other kindred spirits are reaching out to share.

 
Gerald C. Weinberg
President & CEO
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