JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Local readers gathered on Aug. 1 at Northeast Spruill Oaks Library in Johns Creek to hear from Fiona Page, the author of “My Nightlife is 24/7: Turning Tragedy into Triumph.”
Page, who has been blind for 25 years, has made a career of sharing her life’s stories through public speaking and, more recently, through writing.
“Becoming blind made me a better storyteller – because I didn’t have to see the bored faces in front of me,” Page joked.
Page lost her sight at the age of 44 when complications from surgery caused hemorrhaging that led to oxygen deprivation to her optic nerve.
“I think I was blind 10 years before I really realized the magnitude of being blind,” Page said. “I just kept such a positive attitude that oftentimes I’d forget that I couldn’t see because I was focusing on my imagination, my sixth sense.”
Page has used that drive to pen two books and is now working on promoting them through events such as the gathering at Spruill Oaks.
The first book, “My Nightlife is 24/7” is a collection of stories from Page’s life. During the event, Page talked about situations like when she accidentally used fish to make chicken noodle soup and the time she accidentally put her hand inside a woman’s purse when she was reaching out for a clothing rack.
“She didn’t say a word!” Page recalled.
The author also discussed her experience competing in and winning the Miss Senior Georgia pageant in 2004.
A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia, a place where Page received training and worked with a counselor to help her adjust to vision loss after she lost her sight.
Marla Shavin, the public education director at VRS, said that stories like Page’s can help others in the same way group programs do.
“Individuals get the best advice from other people that are in the same place,” Shavin said. “They share their best practices. They share their stories, their frustrations, their inspirations – just the things that get them through the day.”
Shavin says the contributions from Page’s book help to bridge the gap for individuals that don’t qualify for any other form of financial assistance at VRS.
Page’s second book, “Bettina the Bold” is a children’s book about a queen butterfly that struggles to cope after realizing she is blind. A portion of the proceeds from “Bettina” goes toward the children’s program at Atlanta’s Center for the Visually Impaired.
In the future, Page intends to keep writing stories, but will not publish any more until she has spent enough time touring with her first two.
“My purpose of writing the book was to encourage others that feel different or feel lost or have obstacles they can’t seem to overcome,” Page said. “I realize that this book has an important place and God meant for me to write this thing.”
Page hopes to have “My Nightlife is 24/7” released in audio format for the blind community within the next six months. Both books are currently available on Amazon.com.