“The Way We Talk” documentary film about stuttering by Michael Turner

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Listen, folks! We have more phenomenal art and storytelling from the inside. And it needs to get funded!

Michael Turner has had his work screened on OPB and at the Oregon Heritage Conference. He won “Best Documentary” at The Teeny Tiny Film Festival in 2012. His new feature length film, “The Way We Talk”, is an intimate look at the lives of people who stutter. Why is he making this film? Because he is a person who stutters. And he knows that the stories he holds in his heart (and the stories in the hearts of the other people in the film) must be shared.

Have I mentioned my secret here before? I can’t remember! I trained to become a speech therapist. I never went into the field. I tried, but my TBI happened in 2010. So before I could get to my job, I became a patient in speech therapy. Sorta turned me off from wanting to become a speech therapist.

From where I sat, I saw too much emphasis on training me to act “normal” again. No one talked to me or my family about what others could do to support me, or hey, even accept me as I was, quirks, slow thinking and all. There are incredible, compassionate speech therapists who work as our allies, not our helpers. There’s no doubt of that. I personally know them and even listen to some, like Peter Reitzes on the StutterTalk podcast. The problem to me was that one fundamental principle of the field–training people with disabilities to act more like people without disabilities–started to raise some serious questions for me. I was so consumed by that, that I could not see the other pieces that make up the work. So I left and became a storyteller. This is why I promote other artists experiencing disabilities on this blog and my Facebook pages. I promote the art of people who are not attempting to reach some elusive ideal of “normal” but are living life as themselves, whatever that looks, sounds and feels like.

So Michael’s film, “The Way We Talk,” is beautiful. And Michael is looking for a tad more support to get his Kickstarter campaign complete. I wish I could embed the video here, but WordPress won’t let me! To watch a trailer and read about the film, go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/1516460982/the-way-we-talk. And donate. We’ve got till September 7th.

Insider stories are important. It’s not that no one is allowed to talk about someone else’s experience. And it’s not that all non-stutterers or all non-brain injured people are outsiders. It’s never as simple as you over here are in, and you over there are out. It’s just that most movies and TV shows with disabled characters use non-disabled actors. Worse, the characters are written by non-disabled people who don’t put effort into looking at the lived experience of disability. They show a person with a bunch of medical symptoms and call it a day. Ever seen the girl who pretended to stutter on “Glee” in the first season? She quit stuttering. Just like that. What was that about?

So if you want to know what stuttering looks, sounds and feels like, you will learn that first-hand in this film, “The Way We Talk.” Then, you will know or know more about it. And if you want to know about other parts of stutterers’ lives (because they are more than their speech) and find out about the challenges they face by people’s prejudices against stuttering, you can watch this film. Then, you will know. Please donate to this beautiful, very important film!