Kevin Oswalk

S P O T L I G H T  O N
Kevin Oswald
“You have everything you need to be successful in your eyes”

Kevin Oswalk
Photograph of Mr. Kevin Oswald

 Chance Meeting
Kevin Oswald and I met a few months ago at a multi-author Barnes and Noble Book Signing in Erie, PA. Although we sat at opposite sides of the room, I greeted the other authors beforehand.  Through our conversation
, I learned he suffered from a condition known as Retinitis, which is slightly different from Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), which I suffer from.  However, we both had received training from the Cleveland Sight Center.

Because it’s unusual to meet anyone else with RP and to have that person be an author besides, I found him inspiring and asked if I could interview him.

About Kevin Oswald
Amy Bovaird: Can you tell my readers a little bit about your background? 
Kevin Oswald: I was born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio. I am a writer, poet and traveler who currently resides in Medina (pronounced Me DIE na), OH

Choosing a Career
AB: How did you become interested in becoming an author and what kinds of books do you write? 
KO: I’ve written on and off my whole life. I write poetry books.

Kevin Oswald
Kevin Oswald with his book, Bare Bones at Barnes and Noble 

The Challenges of Vision loss
AB: You also suffer from vision loss. Can you share a little about how the challenges affect you

KO: I was born with a hereditary disease called Retinitis. I have scarring behind my retina. I lost a substantial amount of sight in April 2005, leaving me legally blind. My challenge is visual depth perception.

Specialized Training
AB: What have kind of training, if any, have you taken to retain your independence?  
KO: I’ve had low vision training, magnification and CCTV us

Impact of Vision Loss on Career
AB: How does vision loss impact your writing?
KO: I’ve had to use a magnifier to read and write; I also, use tactile and memory to aid my understanding of what’s there.

First Book written by Kevin Oswald 

Kevin Oswald
Bare Bones: A Collection of Poetry from 1989-2016

AB: When we met, you were selling your first book. Please share a little bit about it and what motivated you to write it. Who are your readers? 
KO: My first book is a poetry book called, “Bare Bones: A Collection of Poems (1989-2016)” by Indigokro.  Fiction, non-fiction, spiritual, romantic, personal, mystery and abstract are all themes. 
This book came about by throwing poems and writings that were written over the years into a brown box; and they were put together as a collection 25 years later. My ideal readers are any adults over 18 years of age.

Typical day 

AB: What is a typical day like for you?
KO: It starts out with a great cup of coffee. Then I spend most of the morning in my pumpkin patch. In the afternoon, I spend marketing my book, reading and writing; then I go for long walks. 

The Second Book
AB: When we talked, you mentioned you were working on a second book. What will this one be about?  
KO: The second book will be completely different from the first book. That was a collection of ideas, experiences, fiction and non-fiction over 27 years. The second book is the result of transcending those 27 years with experience of learning.

Personal Reading Tastes
AB: What kind of books do you read yourself?
KO: Poetry and multi-dimensional, transcendent books. I, also, enjoy biographies of music artists, of writers and about certain periods of American history.

Advice to Others Newly Diagnosed with Vision Loss
AB: What have you learned from your own vision loss journey that others just starting out diagnosed with RP?
KO: I’d say to find support with eye centers, groups of people, and to learn to be calm and have courage. Share your feelings with only those who care. What you experience in the beginning is not permanent. As you go through the change, you’ll become a better person. Don’t let what happened to your eyes discourage you from fulfilling your life. For you have everything you need within you for a successful journey in your own eyes.

Thank you, Kevin. I really enjoyed getting to know more about you through this interview.  Readers, this is your opportunity to ask Kevin more questions, so don’t be shy! Leave a comment at the end of this post! 

When was the last time you met someone with similar challenges and interests out of the blue? 

To connect with Kevin Oswald:  

Friday Friends: Spotlight on Kevin Oswald
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11 thoughts on “Friday Friends: Spotlight on Kevin Oswald

  • Pingback: Friday Friends: Spotlight on Kevin Oswald – I Have RP

  • July 30, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you, I Have RP, for sharing my post! <) It's awesome that Kevin doesn't let his vision loss stop him from pursuing his dreams! Thanks, Amy

  • July 30, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    So far I haven’t met anyone with the same eye condition as myself with the same challenges and interests.

  • July 31, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Hi Kevin,
    Thank you so much for sharing your eye condition and your goals! I have never met anyone with your condition either so I learned something new. But we DO have similar interests, at least in writing although the genre is different. 😀
    All the best! Maybe one day soon we can hold a book signing together at the Cleveland Sight Center!

  • July 31, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Hello Kevin,
    I must tell you that your typical day sounds heavenly. I am impressed because I sense a great peacefulness in the way you live your life; something lacking in the lives of many.
    Having worked in the field of blindness for more than 36 years I found your advice to people newly diagnosed right on target: contacting agencies for blind/visually impaired; being in touch with other people who will listen and provide support; and then making an effort to be calm and courageous.
    Continue to enjoy your morning coffee, your pumpkin patch. the process of writing and most of all sell those books! By the way, can you share some of the ways you are marketing your books? Best wishes, Dolores

  • July 31, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Dolores,
    It really does sound relaxing! I sensed the same peacefulness about Kevin when I met him at Barnes and Noble.
    I’m sure over the course of your career, you’ve experienced a gamut of personalities reacting to blindness. I’m glad his advice resonated with you. Thank you for taking time to read and leave such a genuine comment. Have a great day!

  • July 31, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    “What you experience in the beginning is not permanent.” These words are so powerful and I think a helpful reminder to anyone newly diagnosed with a blinding eye condition. The initial emotions can be so overwhelming it can be a tantalizing thought to want to throw in the towel but for those of us who’ve gone through the experience, we know there is life after sight loss. Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your experience with Amy and giving hope to those new to sight loss. ~Steph

  • July 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Steph! That is so true! And a great challenge at the same time, isn’t it?!
    You guys have really zeroed in on a crucial response in those first overwhelming days for a newly-diagnosed individual!
    Thanks for taking time to read and comment!

  • August 1, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Thank you, Dolores. I appreciate your comments and and honors to you for your devotion to people who have eye conditions. To me, that’s more than sacrifice what you’re doing. Yes, the earth is heavenly always and our red brothers and sisters knew this and passed it on to us. Peacefulness does come from nature and as sure as there is life after death, there is abundance after blindness. Thanks again for being a part of something way bigger than you and I.

    Thank you, Steph. All the power we ever need to experience is in our hearts. Unfortunately and usually, it comes through deep pain there. This has been happening ever since humanity existed. Often times it seems I’m trying to explain to people who don’t have sight conditions what it is and what’s going on. But it’s nice to be able to share with those whom I know have the same intimate feelings that I do with the eye condition. It’s a privilege to share from within something that will help another person that I may never know in person.

    Thank you, Amy, for sure this is a million times better than facebook. Keep up the good work; you’re doing more good than you realize. Book signing or not, we did what we could and it’s not in our hands anymore.


  • November 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Kevin,
    I twas interesting for me to read of you daily activities. Our typical days are very similar.
    I also have profound sight loss due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, a rare condition that strikes with no warning and there is no treatment once it hits. Sight loss is instant. My days are similar to yours, now that I have retired from my teaching position at a college. I liked the advice you offered here, for when sight loss comes, Sight loss can be so disorientating that it is a while before you can become a whole person again. Training and more training is certainly the key to success for us. I went away to a rehab program for 3 months for intensive training and when I departed from that place, I knew I could do anything I wanted to do again. Following this training, I have had lots more one-on-one training to be able to use sophisticated adaptive technologies and multiple devices – every day and everywhere I go. I applaud you for your enthusiasm and for your efforts in writing your book and the one to come in the future. Go Kevin! I am cheering you on! Lynda Lambert

  • November 9, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Hi Lynda,
    So glad you could relate to Kevin’s Spotlight! Both of you share a love for poetry and both are determined to move forward.
    I surround myself with positive go-getters. Thank you for taking time to read Kevin’s post and leaving a comment. 🙂

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