Living ‘beyond’ life’s obstacles

Published 10:25 pm Friday, December 13, 2019

A Suffolk writer and speaker has written her first book that explores the different “seasons” of her personal journey living — and thriving — with a disability.

Laura Robb’s self-published new book “Beyond” is a poetry book that will come out online Monday. Her book describes her experiences through four different “seasons,” or aspects, of her life: limits, longings, love and loss.

Robb turned 35 years old in August, and so there are 35 different poems in her debut book, which has become a wonderful moment in her life as both a person with a disability and an author.

“It’s like a dream coming true,” Robb said in a phone interview. “It’s like, ‘wow, this is really real now,’” This is the fruit of my journey, and it’s in my hands.”

Robb was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. According to rarediseases.org, arthrogryposis refers to one or more areas of the body being affected by nonprogressive contractures, in which joints become permanently fixed in bent or straightened positions, restricting the movement of the affected joint either partially or completely.

Robb writes about her life with this condition on her blog, lauracrobb.com.

“Living with a disability comes with many challenges, but I have never let this hold me back,” she wrote on her blog. “If I want to do something, I do it. Every day is an adventure. From early on, I learned the beauty of embracing my life and finding ways to accomplish any dream.”

She began blogging in 2012, she said, and writing poetry a year before that. Her new book of poetry honors her early beginnings as a writer.

“I didn’t grow up thinking I would be a writer. I refused to accept this as my own dream for the longest time,” she wrote. “I told myself I wasn’t a writer. I didn’t know anything about writing. Until I lived through hard seasons and realized that I need writing. And I do have a story that needs to be shared.”

Her story, and the personal growth she has experienced thus far, are both reflected upon in “Beyond.”

“Some of it is about accepting my disabilities. Some of it is about admitting my dreams, and learning about love and loss,” she said.

That includes living through these “hard seasons” in her life, like her longing to be an author.

“Some of my longings I kept hidden for a longtime, (but) I learned that it was OK to talk about my dreams (and) about myself,” she said.

She also wants her story to serve as a guide that can help her readers through the difficult “seasons” in their own lives.

“My hope is that anybody can pick it up and relate to the fact that, ‘Hey, she’s a human too,’ and maybe they can relate to some of the poems (themselves).,” she said.

For more information on Laura Robb and her new book “Beyond,” visit lauracrobb.com/books. Copies are also available at the SPARC Shoppe on North Main Street.