Meet Marc O'Brien, the Author and Poet Using Fictional Writing to Thrive Through Adversity
Fictional Author, Storyteller and Barry University Communication Arts Graduate, Marc O'Brien first began writing with purpose as a Journalist. Born with Cerebral Palsy and growing up in a supportive setting, for O'Brien, the adjustment into a normal college-bound scholastic life was smooth. However, he always felt that it was his duty to teach others about facing adversity.
"After fairly completing my academic obligations to society it is my true feelings that the term cerebral palsy is only a handwritten chicken scratch note in a medical file,"
said 1988 Barry University Communication Arts Graduate Marc O'Brien, "even my antagonists in life have to admit that it is my honesty that truly defines me as a person."
Enabling O'Brien to present his work professionally on a global scale while getting things out of his system on paper, he has managed to successfully educate the public in a way they feel most comfortable using interpretive fiction. Using fictional writing as a healthy
activity, O'Brien challenges the reader allowing them to interpret life's adversity, what could happen if one was disabled, making it clear that at times, it is not the person’s fault.
Further, O'Brien encourages his readers to discuss real-life issues peacefully to learn rather than feeling inspired.
"Figure out who you are and what you want to be. Things start as dreams but through education, you develop your weaknesses and strengths. Strengths will allow you to make goals. When you develop those goals is when you will become a successful person,"
O'Brien states in an empowering conversation with Rebecca.
Taking his trade in a whole new direction, O’Brien has proudly put together a strong portfolio comprising of numerous fictional books including 'Peter The Peteeatrick Panda’s Playground,' 'Peter The Peteeatrick Panda and the Pandy Chip Pancakes', 'A Special Person to Ride,' to the well-known 'The Final Fence: Sophomores in the Saddle.' The skills obtained during his College years as a therapeutic horseback riding participant followed by the South Florida Hunter/Jumper Association were significant in sparking the inspiration behind The Final Fence series.
The Final Fence: Sophomores in the Saddle, published by Austin Macauley UK, compares the academic classroom with the athletic field. Based on real-life events, it highlights the importance of nurturing the disabled demographic. Moreover, it is very rare for someone to present an issue of the importance of a disabled person to others outside stereotypical ‘inspiration.”
The main character, Eddie Patrick, a make-up of O'Brien, is a Communications Arts Major. With two canes, as a result of something taking place beyond his control and two wristbands, a sign of being self-destructive, this led Eddie Patrick to attempted suicide.
On the contrary, with big dreams of being on the United States Equestrian Team, Danielle Lynne, who never competed on a national level, is able-bodied with the skills necessary to qualify for the Olympics.
When the two well-meaning individuals, Patrick meets up with Lynne on a college campus, a love of horses triggers a classroom discussion. Working towards a common goal, Patrick and Lynne's friendship highlights how one person was able to handle a physical disability that was not their fault, the importance of discussing mental health, great friendships, respect, finding closure and having a secure base.
O'Brien, goes on to further state that,
"the disabled person with closure, academic credibility and achievements equates to a very powerful and well put together individual despite a so-called disability."
Once accomplished, the disabled person no longer self-destructs and becomes an adult ready to take on the world.
One of O'Brien's characters the journalism student, Peter King whose name homages authors Peter Straub and Steven King were the ones who instigated his writing bug assisting him in coming to terms with issues that a person must learn on their own.
Taking an honest and creative look into a life filled with support, The Final Fence: Sophomores in the Saddle is based on socialisation and how we perceive a disability.
Everyone is capable to contribute to society and make an impact. The Final Fence is not about winning, it is about living.