Beyond Dancing: Book Review


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I had an interview with Anita Bloom Ornoff who is the author of the book, BEYOND DANCING. While this may not seem like a big deal there are several things that you might want to consider. Anita is 85 years old and she wrote her book a year ago. Anita is also a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. She was the first woman to get a drivers license by using only her hands and she was the first handicapped female to enter and receive her degree from NYU.

Anita lost the use of her lower limbs at the start of World War II. She enrolled in the WAAC which later became the WAC. A cut on her finger got infected and malpractice ended up with an infection requiring that her spinal chord be severed. She has had three husbands and four marriages and two children. You will have to read her book to figure the math Keep in mind that this is a female who became handicapped long before the American Disabilities Act. Her struggle was constant and up hill. She had to fight the VA for benefits and she had to fight a society that was not yet ready to accord all equal access to the benefits and rights that most of us take for granted. When asked about how things were for the handicapped now, as compared to after World War II, Anita said that by comparison, today is like heaven.

This brings to mind the issue of whether or not we can control our lives and partake of happiness, regardless of circumstances. Many are brought up in situations that seem insurmountable. But the fact that there are those who rise above those situations should be proof that we each have more control over our happiness than we are led to believe. Anita said that above all; do not let others keep you down. Do not let people say that what you desire is not possible. Do not accept the norm since the norm and conventional wisdom is often wrong.

Despite all of the forces that seemed to be arrayed against her, Anita Bloom Ornoff refused to accept a “no can do” attitude. She fought for what she desired and has led a happy and joyful life. History is replete with those who, against all apparent odds, rose above the “trials and tribulations” of life and created a reality that was of their own liking, and not that dictated by others. Books like the recently released, “The Secret” say that with the power of the mind, all things are possible. Anita is an example of an everyday person who brings that refrain into perspective and reality. Perhaps there should be a little less whining in our society and perhaps we should listen to those, like Anita, who have paved the way in proving that what we think is what we create.

The novel is published by Bartleby Press, ISBN 091015550X, 311 pages, hardcover. Visit the author's web site at and listen to the podcast of her interview at

Mr. Harris was born in Massachusetts. He attended The American University in Washington, D. C. and received his degree in Political Science. His graduate work was done at the University of Northern Colorado and Howard University. While in D. C. , he spent several years working for local and regional government agencies. Upon moving to Maine he worked with three governors and served as the Assistant Director of the Maine State Planning Office. He worked on a White House Task Force for the development of a National Rural Policy and later served as Rural Policy Coordinator at the Federal Regional Council of New England. He has worked on gubernatorial and senatorial political campaigns and currently works in Special Education.

Mr. Harris is co-author of the novel WAKING GOD and is a nationally syndicated and featured writer for The American Chronicle. He is working on Book II of the Waking God trilogy and writing features for literary E-zines. His second novel, A MAINE CHRISTMAS CAROL has been released by Cambridge Books. Contributing writer for UPI's Religion&Spirituality web site.


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