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120. Catherine Shields | The Shape of Normal: Parenting, disabilities, and self-discovery

Arts Calling Podcast | Down-to-earth conversations with independent artists about craft, community, and a life well-lived.

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Hi there,

Today I am excited to be arts calling wonderful writer Catherine (Cathy) Shields! (

About our guest: Catherine (Cathy) Shields writes about parenting, disabilities, and self-discovery. She is a retired educator with an M.S. Ed in Exceptional Education. Her experience includes networking and dealing with children and families of persons with disabilities. Cathy and her husband reside in Miami, Florida, where they raised three grown daughters. They kayak, ride bikes, hike in the Everglades, and visit the two grandchildren who live nearby.

THE SHAPE OF NORMAL, coming from VINE LEAVES PRESS November 2023!

The Shape of Normal: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability and Embracing a Different Kind of Perfect opens with a scene in my twenty-eight-year-old daughter’s empty bedroom. Jessica, my grown-up child, graduated from Sesame Street to YouTube, collecting teen magazines, playing her music at ear-splitting volumes, and singing the lyrics to all the top-ten songs. I reminisce about the years spent struggling with unresolved feelings, my ableism, and my fear of how the world perceived Jessica. She is the hero of this story. “My daughter was never broken. I was. And I was never on a hero’s journey to save her I was the one who needed saving.”

Thanks for this remarkable conversation, Cathy! All the best!

Arts Calling is produced by Jaime Alejandro ( If you like the show: please consider reviewing the podcast and sharing it with those who love the arts, or are starting their creative journey! Your support truly makes a difference, so check out the new website for the latest episodes!

Go make a dent: much love,


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