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Writers Inspiring Change feature author: Ken Dickson

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Tell us about yourself!

I was a dedicated engineer, content with my eight-to-five job—until I suffered agonizing abdominal pain after digging holes for fruit trees in my back yard. Unknowingly, I had perforated my bowel which led to a life-threatening infection and emergency surgery. Despite many complications, I recovered only to end up becoming manic from a reaction to the surgery and medications. That bout of mental illness took me on a wild ride through many hospitals and psych wards. It also altered the way my mind works. Now, I’m still an engineer, but I struggle to perform engineering tasks because what I most want to do is write. Having never considered writing a book prior to my illness, I wrote and then published my first book, Detour from Normal in 2013, which details my crazy misadventures in America’s unpredictable medical and mental health systems. I continued to write, publishing The Road to Amistad in 2016, which allowed me to explore thought provoking concepts that I conceived while manic. This novel is my own alternate history from 2012 through 2016, a fictional memoir that contains so much truth and fact that you’ll wonder if it really happened. The Road to Amistad is a fascinating and enlightening tale that spotlights the unlimited capacity that we each possess. During my mental illness, a judge unexpectedly revoked my Constitutional right to bear arms even though I’d never owned a gun or committed an act of violence. I could forgive the inexcusable treatment that I endured in the hands of medical and mental health professionals, but losing my Constitutional right devastated me. Before long, I had a new mission: clear my mental health record and reinstate my right. Few Americans have dared to go down this path and I encountered roadblocks at every turn. Among other things, the court rejected my petition three times and twenty psychologists refused to represent me for fear of legal repercussions. Nevertheless, I forged onward. I won’t spoil the ending, however. Yes, you guessed it: I wrote another book. Published in 2018, Aim for Justice is the heartbreaking and inspiring story of how I lost my sanity and right to bear arms, and then fought to clear my mental health record and reinstate my Second Amendment right. Each of my books contain two messages. The first is: “all you have to do is shine.” Be an unmissable example of the best that humanity has to offer. Follow your passion and ignite passion in others. Sure, life has its responsibilities, but take time to live your dreams and encourage others to do the same. The second is: don’t give up on your goals. Keep putting one boot in front of the other until you get to where you aim to be. Thanks to my writing, I’ve met people in over twenty countries. I’ve learned that we are not just American, Canadian, British, Australian, European etc.: we are one species with many shared interests and experiences, connected unlike ever before by the internet and eager to learn more about each other. My books will tell you a great deal about me, how my mind works, and what it’s like living in the Sonoran Desert of Phoenix, Arizona. I hope that you will choose to read one or more of them. I guarantee that they will make you step out of your comfort zone, laugh, cry, feel outrage, and be inspired. Thank you for taking precious time from your life to learn a little about me. If you love my writing, you won’t have to wait long for another installment: I’m already hard at work on a fascinating new book. If you’d like to see what I’m up to, please stop by my website for the latest news, read my blog posts and discover my interesting or perhaps unusual views of life, or drop me an email. Even though I may be a half a world away, you might just discover that we share the same hopes and dreams.

Tell us about your book

My latest book is entitled Aim for Justice. It’s a fast-paced, emotionally taut, and inspiring true story that begins by describing how an unplanned surgery and inexcusable treatment by medical and mental health professionals lands me in a high-security psych ward. While there, a judge revokes my Constitutional right to bear arms even though I’ve never owned a firearm or committed an act of violence. The ruling devastates me, and I vow to recover my lost right. As the story continues, I struggle back to normalcy and then take aim at the impossible: clearing my mental health record and reinstating my Second Amendment right. Few Americans have dared to challenge the legal system after losing their right to bear arms due to mental illness and it is extremely rare that anyone succeeds. Nevertheless, after a mandatory one-year wait from my court hearing, I begin my battle. Despite encountering roadblocks at every turn, consuming years of my life, and spending a small fortune, I never lose sight of my goal. I hope that you will join me on this unimaginable journey, root for me during my traumatic ordeal, and cheer as I confront a legal system determined to stop me. Author website: Reviews “Well written, compelling, and with profound insights into critically important human struggles…” D.L. “The author’s story will challenge your sense of credibility, it will plague you with nightmarish images and make you question the “sanity” of the system that apparently is entrusted to bring sanity back to the insane, and it will certainly inspire you to ride out rocky seas to the port on the other side.” R.L.

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