VIPER —Matthew Caudill, a young author from Perry County, is one of seven authors that will have his memoirs published in the upcoming book, “We Can Hear You Just Fine: Clarifications from the Kentucky School for the Blind”. The book releases Nov. 10.
The Louisville Story Program (LSP) partnered with the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) to give blind authors a chance for their voices to be heard and the struggles they face for the acceptance among their family and peers.
Caudill got involved with the project when LSP visited KSB and asked students if they would be willing to share their stories.
“Matthew stepped up and said that he wanted to be a part of a book writing project and learn how to write non-fiction,” said Deputy Director of LSP Joe Manning.
Caudill said his family was overwhelmingly supportive of the project, “My mom was very proud of me for wanting to write a book and very proud of me after I wrote the book.”
The project lasted a year and Manning spoke highly of Caudill’s work ethic towards writing the book, “He sits himself down and he does it until it’s done. It’s a pretty admirable process.”
His section of the book is titled “From The Mountain to Self-Reliance” and focuses on his life in Viper. It’s a love letter to the region of eastern Kentucky.
His memoir then discusses how important his faith in Christ is to him.
Caudill talks about his struggles for acceptance with strangers and even teachers, with the focus then shifting towards him leaving home to attend KSB. The book goes into detail on how he learned to become self-reliant and how he found lifelong friends at KSB.
The other portion of the book, Caudill interviews his father.
This isn’t Caudill’s first time his writings have been published. During elementary and middle school, Caudill had poems and short stories published through the school.
When he finishes college, Caudill wants to become a mortician with aspirations of opening his own funeral home one day.
“I want to help people in that situation. I want to help the family dealing with the loss of a loved one,” he said.
Caudill hasn’t ruled out writing a memoir about his time as a funeral home director.
In the meantime, Caudill said he will continue to write. He is currently in the process of writing a fantasy literature short story about a paladin falling to corruption. The story follows the paladin’s struggle as he redeems himself after his fall to corruption.
“I’ve always loved fantasy books and I’ve always wanted to write one,” Caudill said.
Some of Caudill’s favorite authors include Stephen King, Cassandra Clare, and Suzanne Collins.
While Caudill is visually impaired, he isn’t completely blind. This has caused some misconceptions between strangers and his peers.
This is what he hopes readers will take away from the book, “People who are visually impaired can do anything that anyone else can, they just do it in a different way. Sometimes they use tools to help with their blindness,” said Caudill.
He dreams of owning a 2001 Plymouth Impala, his dream car. Caudill is able to drive by using a small telescope attached to his glasses. The device is similar to the one surgeons use during operations.
Caudill said doing activities, such as driving, gives him a sense of freedom and self-reliance.
He said the writing project with LSP helped him become more confident, ” I believe the book helped me when I started the Pathfinder Club at HCTC, because before I would just put up flyers and wait for people who were interested to call me. The book has helped me become more confident when going up to people and asking them stuff.”
Caudill wasn’t the only on who learned something during the course of the project.
Manning said he learned a lot by just being around the authors and how much it meant to him working with Caudill and the other authors.
“I had my own misunderstandings clarified. I learned a lot just by showing up. I’ve never worked with authors who had any disabilities, I hate using that word, but that is the one that we use. I learned a lot, mostly that they can pretty much take care of themselves. I learned a lot and they were very gracious teachers. They are awesome people to work with,” said Manning.
The book can be pre-order and purchased by visiting louisvillestoryprogram.org.
It releases Nov. 10.
Check out Louisville Story Program on their Facebook.
TJ Caudill is a reporter with The Hazard Herald and he can be reached at 606-629-3245.