Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Trà My has just published her fourth book.
Over the past two years, My has typed up her thoughts about life and interviews with inspirational figures, using only one finger.
She was struck by an undiagnosed illness when she was three month old, taking away the strength of her extremities. She struggled to move, hold things and speak in the first 20 years of her life.
My was born in 1986 in Đông Hà City, the central province of Quảng Trị, which she described as “an inferno in summer and an icebox in winter.”
She has never gone to school due to her difficulties speaking. Though the illness damaged her limbs and other parts of her body, her brain remained intact.
My learnt how to write and read from her younger sister.
My’s childhood was filled with books and words. She started writing poems at the age of 14 and was recognised at a writing competition hosted by a local college at 16.
At the age of 20, she moved south to HCM City, a place she had long dreamed of going, alone.
“I did not know how to fold clothes myself back then. I was too dependent on my family. But inside me, there was always a motivation that pushed me away,” she said, “I want a life for myself.”
2007 was a turning point in My’s life when she learnt to use a computer. From a tiny bedsit in HCM City, she connects with people across the country.
Step by step, My learned how to cook, clean her room and take care of herself. It took two years of physical therapy for her to learn how to speak clearly.
My writes to survive and to express her ideas in the country’s most competitive city.
Imagining herself still stuck in Quảng Trị Province, My can’t help but see her silhouette sitting by a window with sorrow.
“I would have been so curious yet scared about life,” she said.
With a wheeled steel frame that helps My move, she travels alone, meets countless people on the road and writes stories based on her experiences.
Until now, she has traveled to more than 30 provinces.
She even runs her own charity fund Giấc mơ đôi chân thiên thần (Dream of Angel’s Feet), named after her debut book. The fund aims to connect youngsters with disabilities with sources of books and learning materials, helping them access to better educational opportunities.
“I see life through different telescopes. Even my disability brings me new insights about life,” My explained.
Author Trần Trà My. — VNS Photo Khoa Thư
Believe in kindness
“Youngsters like me have our own definition of kindness,” Trà My said about her fourth book which she has worked on for the past two years.
With a small, tiny book printed on recycled paper, My wants to make readers think about negative aspects of our society.
The book, Tin vào điều tử tế (Believe in Kindness), immediately became popular.
“It would be easier for me to keep writing short stories about love and life of young people,” she said, “However, I think it’s time for me to do something different, to bear my responsibility as a citizen and speak up about problems we are all concerned with.”
The book wraps up My’s journey to sow seeds of kindness.
“If you pay a little more attention, you can see there are lots of things in need of changes.”
“Some flight carriers refuse to serve me and of course other people with disabilities as they worry about our conditions. I mean, disabilities are diverse but they do not know how to classify. Many social infrastructures are not accessible at all, those are problems that with ignorance, you will never know,” she said.
At present, My is working on her next book, focusing on impressive women she has met.
“I stop for a while to see what more is to be done. I expect readers to be inspired by the book like the way characters inspired me with their stories,” she smiled. — VNS