Braille! … Eventually.

I do eventually plan to have all my works available in Braille. Hopefully within 10 years. I simply want my works to be very accessible, no matter who is consuming it. My work is already available in audio, e-readers can make text massive and my books do exist as ebooks, For me, the final frontier is Braille.

However, I have noticed that accessible tech is really, really expensive. Even e-braille devices are thousands of dollars. This is a load of nonsense when you remember that disabled ppl make less than abled people (which, to me, is very ableist and creates a vicious cycle against the disabled). And once you get past the money hurdle, there is also the “can you even get the device” hurdle. Some places are wild in that they’ll want the money … but then you learn they won’t even have the product. It’s just so unnecessary to me.

Braille, everyone, is just embossing. Bumps on a paper. It isn’t a new language so it isn’t too hard to tell a computer “when you see ‘a’, make this group of raised dots”, instead of “when you see this sentence, feed it through a bunch of complex grammar and letter rules to make a new sentence that is comprehensive in another language.” I do know that text to braille software exists but the bits I have seen are clunky af. I can probably code something better, since I already have a background in coding (I have a background in a lot of things) and it would help me since I also have special letters in my works because I mention other languages like Spanish and Chinese. That way, I would know exactly what is going down on the page. It isn’t hard to make a braille embossing plate, I have a 3D printer. I also can probably get a plain old standard metal one. That is the plate that the paper lays on to give the pressed in bits of paper to go.

A Cricut can do embossing. I am glad that penny finally dropped in my head. They even have some braille projects. However, I want to make sure I can do 100+ pages efficiently so I may make my own embossing machine from scratch since I also have a background in building tech and thus can make it happen. Or just get a Cricut and fiddle with that a lot.

As for binding, any stitch that is great for single page binding or thick book binding would work. Braille books are thick! And big! I have a background in bookbinding (I told you have I have background in a lot of things) so that’s super easy. A plain saddle stitch/journal stitch would do the works just fine. So would perfect binding (which, if I remember correctly, is just glue on the spine and there you go. Even a Japanese stab bind could be efficient here – and tactile and pretty! Printed braille paper isn’t usually double sided, it’s single sided (because of the embossing) so Japanese stab binding is probably perfect. That’s usually the stitch I use for single sheet binding, especially for big works. Plus, it lasts a very long time on shelves.

As for “signing” the works (making an autographed version), that’s not hard. Embossing stamps exist. And raised ink. I can probably make do with puffy paint and my glass dip pen and some ingenuity.

It would be a “big” project but not impossible, not by a long shot.

It just means I would have to take my works, put them in print form, see how much words fit on a given page and go from there. To print, I probably would have to make a “digital plate” per page (so I can print multiple copies of the same page) and collate it by hand. Printing via embossing isn’t exactly as cut and dry as printing in sighted text. Probably because there are way more devices for printing sighted text because at one point in history, printing sighted text took making book plates and creating each plate letter by letter for every page. Now, you can just shove your file into a computer, wait a little bit and a printer spits out a printed paper, fresh off the presses. A system that used to take days to do just to make a simple page now takes perhaps a minute or two.

Either way, I would certainly like to have my works as far and wide as possible. This includes those with disabilities. Especially because there are so few Black penned works in braille. But a lot of visually impaired people are people of color. I know this because the first library I ever worked in was the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. And Blind Industries exist in my state. I also know blind and deaf people. So, yeah. I want to barrage the blind people of the world with my works the same way I barrage the sighted people of the world, lol.

It’s doable.

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