I am thrilled to announce that Jacqueline Jackson is still alive. She is 94 (I think) and a treasure to this nation and the world.

At one time, Jackson had made her book, Turn Not Pale Beloved Snail, available on the Internet for free. Back in 2011, I reviewed the book and told where to find it.

A number of years have slipped by since I read Turn Not Pale and so decided it was time to delve back into one of the world’s best books on writing. However, I’ve hurt my back (shoveling snow, would you believe), and walking downstairs to the basement bookshelves seemed too hard. No problem. Jackson had posted the entire book online for free.

But it was no longer where she’d posted it. Gone. As I scoured the Internet, I remembered she had a website, jacqueline-jackson.com, where she posted wonderful treasures, including many hours of MP3s of her radio program, in which she teaches and encourages children to write.

I didn’t find Turn Not Pale there, but joy of joys, found the radio programs and tons of other free things she’s written. And learned that she is still alive and active.

As for Turn Not Pale, I hobbled downstairs and retrieved my copy. World Braille Day is January 4th, and I wanted to reread Chapter Two of Turn Not Pale, which is entitled Blind.


Jackson begins the chapter talking about a 15-year-old friend of her family’s, a girl named Edie, who has been blind since birth. As a child, Edie went to a special school for the blind. However, when it came time for middle school, she wanted to move back home and go to a regular ‘seeing’ school.

When Edie moved home, the blind school sent with her enough blindfolds for her entire family. Parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents got to experience what life is like for Edie. Her brothers and sisters quickly learned that leaving books and toys and clothes strewn on the floor led to problems. Not just broken toys, but painful falls.

Jackson talks about another book, the Treasure of Green Knowe, by Lucy Boston. In it, a boy named Tolly meets a blind girl named Susan. Later on, he blindfolds himself to experience what life must be like for his friend. He gives it a real try, finding it more of a challenge than he expected.

“It’s very tiring not having eyes,” Tolly tells his grandmother.

Jackson gives other experiences of blind and pretend-blind people. She then suggested trying to go blindfolded for an entire day. She sums up how this can help you:

“. . .  these blindness games will be valuable to you as a writer. But their main value to you can be in another way. For writing doesn’t depend as much on the images you see with your eyes, or the sounds you hear with your ears, as it does on your “inner eye,” your “inner ear,” the understandings you have inside you that you glean from all your senses, including your heart.”

Get a copy of Turn Not Pale. Read it.

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