I had some sad news this week. Kids On Wheels, a great and unique magazine I've been involved with, is no more.
We've known for a while that this was inevitable. The magazine had been seriously struggling financially, even with continual propping up from its parent company. But the recession has hit the publishing industry very hard, and it just wasn't feasible to publish any more. The one full-time staffer is back to the original magazine, New Mobility, and the rest of us freelancers have one less place to write.
The shrinking world of paid freelance writing is frustrating, but the really sad part is the loss for the magazine's devoted readers. KOW was the only magazine of its kind, written for and about young people who use wheelchairs. Kids with disabilities and their families are a very underserved community, and KOW was beloved by its followers.
I was involved in the project from its earliest days of publication. We started with the Kids On Wheels book, a big resource guide, for which I wrote the sports and recreation chapter. When the magazine spun off from the book, I became an associate editor and wrote large portions of the children's edition. (There were two editions, one for kids and one for parents.)
Through my KOW writing, I had the opportunity to speak to so many amazing kids, doing everything from water-skiing and sled hockey to activism and gourmet cooking, despite the many challenges in their lives.
KOW also gave me the opportunity to see my fiction published for the first time. I wrote a novella in serial form and worked with an illustrator, also a first for me. It was a great writing challenge, and reminded me how much I used to love writing fiction for young people. (I stopped because I got seriously fed up with not being published.) I'm thinking I might put the novella online.
I'm so sorry to see KOW go. It was great while it lasted.