Tag Archives: braille

“Shadows” Revisited

On 3 December 2016, I wrote “Shadows” https://newauthoronline.com/2017/10/03/shadows-3/. My poem was prompted by the play of shadows created by the winter sun upon the walls of my study.

Today (Sunday 3 December 2017), it is (as was the case one year ago) a cold day. There are, however no shadows playing upon the walls of my study.

“Shadows” appears in my latest collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind”, which is available from Moyhill Publishing, and Amazon.

“My Old Clock I Wind” is also available in braille from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

To order “My Old Clock” in braille please contact RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or buy online at http://shop.rnib.org.uk/.

When contacting RNIB please quote order number 25870603

Alternatively please visit the library’s catalogue, and enter the search term, “my old clock I wind and other poems”, hit search and my book should be displayed.

The hidden History Contained in Pages

There is much history in books, if one looks carefully enough. By this I do not mean those works concerned with history itself, nor am I refering to historical fiction. Rather I am referring to passing references, such as that contained in the 4-volume edition of John Buchan’s “The Thirty-Nine Steps”, which resides on the top shelf of the tall pine bookcase in my bedroom. The book’s title page reads
“… printed and published by the National Institute for the Blind, Great Portland Street, London W” and carries the date of 1938.

The National Institute for the Blind has, for many years, been the Royal National Institute of Blind People, and its head office is today located in Peterborough.

On turning over the title page, the reader comes across the following
“The price given for this book in the National Institute’s books catalogue represents the actual cost of production. The book is sold to libraries and institutions for the blind in the British Empire, and to blind persons resident in the United Kingdom, or in any part of the British Empire at one-third the catalogue price”.

The British Empire has, of course long ceased to be. However contained within the pages of the braille edition of “The Thirty-Nine Steps” I find a reminder of a vanished age.

I would be interested to learn of any books owned by this blog’s readers which contain interesting historical data. Please do comment below.


“Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” is available to purchase, in braille from RNIB

I am pleased to report that my collection of poetry, “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” is available to purchase, as a braille book, from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and can be found by clicking HERE.

Enter “morris kevin. lost in the labyrinth of my mind“, into the search field and click on search.

My book should then be displayed.

Alternatively “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” can be ordered by emailing them directly at: library@rnib.org.uk, or by calling them on 0303 123 9999.

When contacting RNIB please quote order number 25686204.

“Lost” was originally brailled in 2016 (and I was provided with my own copy at this juncture), however it has only now been added to RNIB’s catalogue, meaning that it can be purchased by any braille user who wishes to do so.

Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” is also available in print, from Moyhill Publishing, http://moyhill.com/lost/, and as an ebook in the Amazon Kindle store, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AF5EPVY

Touching Words

To hold one’s own book is a wonderful feeling. The tangible representation of one’s endeavours writ large. For most authors the pleasure is enhanced by the ability to read the print editions of their works. However, for me as a blind author (who is unable to read print) the situation is rather more complex. I can read ebooks using the text to speech facility on my Kindle. I can not, however read the print edition of my book, “Dalliance; A Collection Of Poetry And Prose” which sits on the bookcase in my living room. While I still derive pleasure from taking the print edition of “Dalliance” in to my hands, it is not the same as being able to sit in an armchair, flick through the pages and pause at random to read a poem.
I got round the above issue by getting the Royal National Institute Of Blind People (RNIB) to transcribe “Dalliance” from the electronic file held on my computer in to braille allowing me to possess an accessible (physical) copy of my work. Yesterday I sent the electronic file of my latest collection of poetry, “Lost In The Labyrinth Of My Mind” through to the RNIB. I await the braille edition’s arrival with eager anticipation! While I am a huge fan of ebooks there is, in my opinion no substitute for their physical counterparts.


My bookshelves

I thought it would be interesting to share a view of the bookcase in my bedroom. The books in question are all in braille. I have four book cases in total; the one in the bedroom, another in my living room and two in my study/spare room.


K Morris reading an anonymous poem entitled ‘The Bridal Morn’

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A selection of books from my bookcase

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My bookcase

K Morris reading an anonymous poem entitled ‘The Bridal Morn’


An article from The Guardian about the poem ‘The Bridal Morn’

Oh For A Paper Dictionary!

In September 2014 I wrote a post entitled “Come Back My Little Oxford”, (http://newauthoronline.com/2014/09/28/come-back-my-little-oxford/). In that article I lamented the giving away of the Braille edition of my Dictionary and explained that the work is no longer available from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

I am frequently reminded of “The Little Oxford” when writing poetry and short stories. I wish to ascertain the meaning of a word or phrase, break off from my writing, go online and look it up. What is the problem with doing this? I hear someone ask. Surely the internet provides a wealth of information and unlike paper reference books, online material can be updated in the blink of an eye thereby ensuring the person in search of knowledge has the most up-to-date data at their fingertips

I agree with much of the above. It is impossible to deny the ease with which online sources of reference can (and are) updated. My problem with online reference material falls into 2 main areas:


  1. By going online I am distracted from the writing process and fall prey to the desire to check email or social media while connected. Additionally many online reference sources survive by using advertising which can be distracting when all one wants to ascertain is the definition of a word or phrase.
  2. I enjoy the physicality of books. Its pleasant to turn the pages of a hard copy work rather than search Google or other internet engine for the meaning of words.

It could be argued that I could avoid being distracted by carrying out online research prior to starting the writing process. Would that things where that simple. Admittedly I could, while writing note down words I wished to look up and research them online once the writing process has finished. However this can entail using a word and/or phrase of which I am unsure, marking it up for checking at a later point in time and continuing on with my writing. It is, in my experience easier to check as one is going along rather than using a word in the wrong context then, at a later point discovering one has done so.

In conclusion the world of online reference possesses many advantages, not least among them the ability to find meanings which may not have filtered down into paper works due to their newness. However this is, in my experience cancelled out by the distractions of the online world. As I said back in September 2014, “come back my Little Oxford”.

Writing Tools – A Guest Post By Victoria (Tori) Zigler

Thank you to Victoria (Tori) Zigler for the below guest post. For Tori’s previous (related) article please visit (http://newauthoronline.com/2015/05/13/from-idea-to-ebook-a-guest-post-by-victoria-tori-zigler/). For Tori’s blog please see, (http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/).


I’ve always loved writing, and it wasn’t unusual to see me as a little girl; pencil in hand, as I scribbled something on a piece of paper. I even held “lessons” for my dolls, where I would show them how to write poems and stories, with the occasional break to do some sums, since I also enjoyed mathematics.


As I grew, my sight decreased, so that I could no longer see pencil markings clearly without pressing so hard the pencil would all but go through the page, while the pleasure writing gave me increased, so that I formed the habit of carrying a notebook and pen with me everywhere; along with a book to read, of course, since I’ve always been a voracious reader.


I was ten years old when I was given a laptop for use for my schoolwork, since the teachers were starting to struggle to read my writing. Officially the laptop was only for schoolwork and homework, but I used to write stories on it too, though I still carried my trusty notebook and pen around with me everywhere I went; ready to take quick notes of any ideas that popped in to my head, which I would later type up.


I carried a notebook and pen around with me right up until the point where I could no longer see to use one. Then I destroyed every notebook I still had in my possession; a move which cost me a few story and poem ideas I no longer remember, and could have had someone read for me to make note of, butt which I felt – and still feel – was right, since my notebooks were journals as well as writer’s notebooks, so they contained some things I’d prefer not to allow others to read.


I can read and write Braille, and even have a shiny red brailler that I’ve had since just after I learned Braille while I was still at school, which I was given when my sight decreased enough that it was decided I should use Braille at school; the brailler was given to me to do my homework on. But I rarely use my brailler for writing. At home I use a computer, and the brailler is much too bulky and heavy to carry around for writing. So, now that it has no homework to help with, my brailler is used more to produce something in Braille that I need access to while I’m out, but will write at home; like a shopping list, or an address, or something like that.


There are some Braille frames that are a lot more portable, but they’re not very easy to use when you’re trying to focus on a thought that’s popped in to your head. I also find that voice recording devices aren’t very practical, since background noise makes it difficult for you to get a decent recording; unless you want to speak so loudly everyone will likely stop what they’re doing to look at you, which I don’t. As for using my Kindle’s notes function… Well, that may be an option later on, but right now using the touchscreen keyboard is proving to be a challenge I have yet to overcome. So, I have yet to find a suitable substitute for my trusty notebook and pen.


On the bright side, I have a computer at home, so can use that for writing. And, hey, if the electric goes out, I still have my brailler, which requires no electricity at all.


Come Back My Little Oxford

We have all done things in life which we later regret. As a child (teenager) I owned a Braille edition of The Little Oxford Dictionary Of Current English. I regularly consulted the dictionary (all 16 braille volumes of it)! To ascertain the meaning of words with which I was unfamiliar. It was an invaluable resource and, in retrospect I can not, for the life of me recollect why I decided to donate The Little Oxford to The National Library For The Blind in Stockport (UK). My decision to donate was no doubt connected with the proliferation of online dictionaries (why retain a dictionary which occupies a whole bookshelf when one can ascertain the same information by logging onto Google or another internet search engine of your choosing)? However I now regret my hasty decision, and wishing to obtain an updated replacement I logged onto the Royal National Institute Of Blind People’s (RNIB’s) website, only to discover that the Dictionary is no longer available in Braille.

Why the desire for a paper dictionary? Online dictionaries are convenient in that they do not take up shelf space. In addition an internet work of reference can (unlike it’s print counterpart) be easily updated. However online dictionaries (the free ones at any rate) tend to be chock full of advertisements (I hate wading through ads to find what I am looking for). Additionally I dislike being online while writing. The ideal, for me at least is to turn off my mobile, log off the internet and close e-mail thereby ensuring that I can concentrate, 100 percent on my writing. Also, to be frank I like leafing through paper dictionaries, perhaps at the age of 45 this love of traditional sources of reference is ineradicable. I suspect that in years to come paper dictionaries will become quite collectable. It will be a talking point when someone has on their shelves a copy of the last print edition of The Oxford English Dictionary but, in the meantime I still regret the loss of my 16 volumes!