A retinal scan of Sheridan’s eye that shows his Retinitis Pigmentosa.
A retinal scan of Sheridan’s eye that shows his Retinitis Pigmentosa.

It was only in hindsight that I saw clearly that pain can lead to progress—that injury can create insight.

One year ago now, in January of 2020—after years of deliberation, planning, and more deliberation—my wife Claudia and I moved to Los Angeles from Albuquerque to pursue the next stage of our lives and careers. I’d been writing and directing films for over a decade in New Mexico and with a dozen shorts under my arm and my first feature in development, we finally felt ready to make the leap. …

A close up of a rusty chain and padlock bringing together two sections of chain link fence.
A close up of a rusty chain and padlock bringing together two sections of chain link fence.
[image description: A close up of a rusty chain and padlock bringing together two sections of chain link fence]

After talking with a lot of people over the last year, I’ve realized for a lot of my friends and family, I’m the only blind person they know. In one sense, this is an isolating statistic—a reminder how my rare my vision condition—Retinitis Pigmentosa—really is (this month, February, is actually Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month). In another sense, I see it as an opportunity—to share, educate, and raise awareness.

Beyond being a marginalized group and all the challenges that come along with that, disabled people also have to contend in a still largely inaccessible society. Yes, the passage of the ADA…

a shirtless woman with her back to us rests her head on her knees and sits on a couch bathed in soft window light
a shirtless woman with her back to us rests her head on her knees and sits on a couch bathed in soft window light

Because of the pandemic, a lot of people are returning home, or returned home. Home for some people might be a place or a person or a state of mind. I fought going home, but eventually did for a month. Going home is accepting you need support or being there for others or returning to your core self. In my opinion, it’s an act of courage and will. So if you did go home, or are home now, or considering it, I hope it brings you some peace and community like it did me.

until i came home
by Sheridan…

movies
by Sheridan O’Donnell

there is a
thin film
over everything

so clear
and convincing
most of us
cannot see it

it dulls those
who are hurting
and accentuates
the winners

it makes you
brighter and bigger
and everyone else
a little dimmer

it makes life
feel like
one of those
nice movies
where you
can guess
the ending

but sometimes
for some of us
a jagged thing
might tear
in it
a little hole

somebody loves
somebody leaves
somebody says

you are leaving

it takes time
to see
the hole

not because
it is small
but because
it is easier
not to see…

In the Capitol Hill riots, America endured an episode of abuse — the ugly pinnacle in a long and dark abusive relationship. People lost their lives because of it. I felt violated myself as I watched our nation and our elected officials under siege.

Like abuse, before real change can be made it has to be acknowledged and confronted. You don’t rationalize or minimize it, you don’t say “you’ve done it too”, you don’t make it about something else.

But simply acknowledging abuse doesn’t spur immediate change, as horrific and eye-opening as January 6th was, and as much as we…

Sheridan O'Donnell

Writer, filmmaker, aspiring human being (not necessarily in that order). Born in TX, raised in NM, living in LA. IG: @sheridan.odonnell

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