All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow. — Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Hello there, I’m Cristina, a writer of true and not-so-true stories living in Pittsburgh. In the nonfiction realm, I write mostly about Deafness, blindness, and literature. On the more fictional side of things, I create characters who live on the fringes of society. My stories help us build empathy with those different from ourselves. That’s the plan, anyhow.
Some background: I was born and raised in upstate New York by two Brazilians who found themselves in the snowiest and grayest part of the United States. For the first six years of my life, I heard nothing and used sign language to communicate. That changed when I became one of the first children to receive a cochlear implant, which led to many hours of therapy and a premature identity crisis. I went on to become a grade-A nerd who actually—gasp—liked school. My strange affinity for learning sent me to some pretty nice places such as Phillips Academy, an elite prep school, and a few Ivies. My stellar education endowed me with much knowledge and few marketable skills.
Upon graduation, I decided to be practical and go to law school. Life repaid my practicality with a horrendous employment market after the 2009 financial crisis. As I scrambled for a job, my vision took a nosedive and left me legally blind. “I tried the whole practicality thing,” I thought as I walked into a bush during white cane training. “It didn’t work out, so I might as well do what I really want to do.” I’ve been writing ever since (and have gotten much better with the white cane).
Since you’ve made it this far, here are some fun facts about me. I have two cats, Ezra and Moo-Moo. Ezra is a rapscallion who loves pilfering cheese even though he’s lactose-intolerant. Moo-Moo is a scaredy-cat who runs into the basement at the slightest provocation. When I’m not writing, you can find me rowing on land on an erg, reading on my refreshable Braille device, or fighting the weeds in my front lawn. Nature always wins. Always.
It’s not a tragedy to be deaf and it’s not a miracle when technology brings you sound
I was born Deaf and lost my vision as an adult — but reading is my constant companion
The highs and lows of growing up deaf in a hearing family
What it’s really like to hear for the first time after growing up totally deaf
As someone with limited sight, Braille allows me to feel the landscape of language