Closing in on a year and other tales of survival (or who let me adult? WTF?!)


Yesterday was Andrew’s birthday. He would have been 54. I was bombarded all day with memories from various social websites reminding me of this fact and of all the birthdays in years past and how we celebrated. Mostly it was concerts. Because our whole lives were concerts. But mostly I woke up feeling lost because for the first time in 16 years I did not wake up to snuggle his  crazy blonde curls that I affectionately called Rooster head and tell him “You’re 8 years older than me”. July was very special for us. Our first date was July 15th and for years (including that first date) went to Muncie for Shakespeare at Minnetrista and later on BSU’s campus until they did away with it altogether. His birthday came on July 19th and 7 years 7 days and 7 hours later on July 26th came my birthday. It seemed our whole world revolved around 7s. Now I have had to add the anniversary of his mom to July on the 14th. In the past, our little group of 3 couples celebrated four of our six birthdays in this week. Starting with Drew’s birthday and ending with mine. It seems a little weird to start on a different birthday this year.

It also seemed weird to sit quietly at home and go to bed fairly early last night.

We plan to celebrate a little with a lantern release tonight. Just the few of us getting together and remembering a man who made so much impact on all of us and left such a giant gap behind. It’s important to go through these rituals of remembering and feeling all of the feelings that come with it. It makes us…..(swallow) human.

If I had known a year ago that my life was going to be so drastically changed and forever altered, I don’t know if I would have acted/behaved/done anything differently. But I do know that I would have still put my head down and moved forward with everything that is inside of me because I am too stubborn/dumb/pathetic to do anything less than that.

So this year has been filled with all of the firsts. Which suck. Every. One. But still I move forward. This year has also been filled with lots of changes. I changed jobs, hairstyles, focuses, relationships, coworkers and cars. I didn’t get stuck but am often debilitated by the thing that brought all of these changes. I am not happier in these changes, per se, but I am feeling a hell of a lot less stressed about life in general. I have found support in places that I did not know existed. I have learned that we take life way too seriously and that we worry about far too many things that…..Just. Don’t. Matter. And we also let life get on top of us in ways that…..May. Just. Kill. Us.

Think about those things for a moment. Meditate on them. Use them for a mantra. Life is way too short to fuck around with people who make us miserable and far too precious to waste time doing things that don’t make us happy or lead to a way to make us happy.

Afterall, I decided that after 2 years of being stuck in a job that I hated and that had become some sort of demented antagonist in my life, that I was moving on. With or without a replacement job. Luckily a replacement job came along.  I have learned to appreciate little things in life. I consider nothing wasted time anymore. Roger wants to take a car ride?  Let’s go! Chance to take a day off work and take my kid to see our lads <bows head in reverence> Liverpool play on US soil? Fuck yes! Take my friends and kid to concerts? Hell yes! (Side note: you have not lived until you realise that you prolly played WAY too much Violent Femmes while your kid was growing up because you are standing next to him at that concert and you both are screaming the lyrics “why can’t I get just one fuck” at top volume.)

Have a written a word outside of a few blogs since Andrew died? No, I have not. But let me tell you why. I sit in front of the screen writing a blog and I cry my eyes out. I am not ready to write anything else right now. Writing is intensely personal and intensely emotional. I am just not ready to share that much with anyone right now. I haven’t stopped being creative. I have been working on the Autie Zombie Girl shop and things are starting to come together in a way. I have a working website: Weird gifts for Weird people. For now, this is satisfying my creativity. I will go back to writing. But right now, there is so much to do!

I challenged myself this year. It would be very easy for me to go inside, shut the door, lock the latch with that satisfying CLICK and….Never. Come. Out. Again. But because that is the easy answer, I did not do that. Instead I put myself out there. I go to the market every Saturday. Good or bad weather. Good or bad sales. I signed up to do some local shows. That is definitely not in my comfort zone. But without Drew to buffer the world for me, I have had to learn to do it for myself. I do occasionally still hide. I still have Asperger’s for fuck’s sake. But I had to get strong enough to do things on my own. I always have. I have always had this pool of getupandgoness that makes me move forward in a generally lucid manner.

I am now also LITERALLY my husband’s brother’s keeper. Not many of you know that Drew has a brother with an extremely awful mental illness. He is paranoid schizophrenic. When their mom died, Drew and I promised we would look after Mark. When Drew died, I thought that it was my job to fulfill that promise. He was arrested a few months ago in Family Dollar arguing with his voices and destroying merchandise. We got him a placement in first our local mental health agency and then our state mental health hospital. The guardianship hearing was a hoot. Drew’s real father showed up to contest it. He’d succeeded in putting off the hearing for a month. He attempted to make it a three ring circus, but did not succeed. He told the judge that I was crazy and that I was famous on the internet because “her people call her auntie zombie girl”. He also tried to turn being weird into a bad thing. He told the judge that I was proud of being different. So the judge told him that he could see I was different from where he was sitting and he was going to give me guardianship anyways. Bam!

I have been tempted often in the last couple of months to send him a letter and tell him that this is  not how good Christians and Believers behave. That he should be happy that someone has stepped up to take care of Mark. Afterall, he’s just as crazy if not crazier than Mark. He does not see it that way. Thankfully, I have people on my side in that family. Drew’s cousin told the rest of the family that I was obviously the best person for the job. Afterall, his own mother trusted me to take care of him in her absence. I also made sure to dispel the myth that Drew’s mom died atop a giant pile of money that was earmarked for Mark’s care. This is not the case at all. It’s hard to make people who only use money and their own rewards/benefits as a basis for helping others understand that sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

I continue to clean the house and to put his items away that will eventually go to an auction and be used to pay for his headstone. I continue to find memories of what our life together was and what it meant to him. I believe he was truly happy. Not just with me and our marriage, but with his life. He loved his little part time job and he loved fixing things. He was starting to put together a little network of people that needed things fixed. He enjoyed the freedom of doing what he wanted when he wanted and taking as long as he wanted to so that the job was done right. He was truly in a very good place in life.

So ahead of us are the last few firsts. My first birthday (in 16 years) without him. My first year without him. It’s a struggle that I feel immensely under equipped to take on. But here we are. How would I have done this all without the love and support that I have? I have no idea. Prolly not very well.

I miss his smile. I miss waking up every day and told how pretty I am. I miss his gentle kindness. I miss his confidence. I miss the confidence that he gave me in myself. I miss having a built in concert/movie buddy. I miss everything about him deep into my soul. Life is not as happy without him. Music is not as good without him. My house is so quiet and empty without him. He was my best friend.

Tales From the Editing Trenches and other Endeavors


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It’s been awhile since I’ve written, I know dear readers. It’s been a busy summer. I’ll only bore you with a few of the details, I swear. I hope that you walk away with a few of the insights that I did even if you’re bored to tears. I’m laughing to myself right now as I sit in my new auction purchased writer’s chair in my cluttered little office. I laugh because like all things in my life lately, I am examining where to begin. This is not an easy chore.

As some of you know, I started a new job this summer. I have been frightfully busy doing nothing because of impending changes due to the federal sequestration of funding. Then I was frightfully busy waiting to be able to implement the changes which I could not do until the powers that be made a bunch of decisions. In true “powers that be” form it took until the last minute and then they want to start asking why I didn’t make these changes sooner. To which I blow giant raspberries. Typical government crap….hurry up and wait and then change everything to fit today’s needs in yesterday’s timelines. I also am starting to think that this job problem is biting into my social media time….I’m laughing out loud at how acclimated we have all become to the constraints of real life on our virtual lives.

The summer has also been busy with following my heart on many things which is starting to prove to be a very worthwhile endeavor. Even though it is scary and sometimes uncomfortable for this little autistic zombie girl, I am very happy to report that I have just closed my eyes and done lots of deep breathing. Then opened them to the surprise. Wow the surprise is that this method has actually worked!

I’ve also seen lots of movies and in typical summer pursuits at our house gone to lots of concerts! My dislike for old man bands grows while my anticipation for the upcoming Adam Ant show makes me giggle in 80’s girl insanity.

The biggest changes of this summer, outside of the new job issue is my slightly changing view of myself and the world in general around me. Not that the world has suddenly become autistically inclined, but more in the comfortableness of myself and learning to balance all of the new roles within my own little world.

One of the most important changes has been in my own house as I am the main money maker, now. Yes, the Fix-it-guy is still unemployed. I feel his tension in the shift of the money power, and honestly, I really try not to point it out. Occasionally, however, I take just a little delight in poking my finger at it. I actually have a little extra money these days and I treated myself to a brand new netbook. I have waited far too long for Scrivener to pull an iPad app out of thin air. Honestly, Scrivener, you started on Mac, why isn’t this the first thing you worked on? The call of NaNo looms hugely over my head and the pressure to be mobile as the new ML of the Indiana Elsewhere group charges at me with its ugly little stubborn head full force and completely without brakes. I wish technology would keep up with me, honestly. Why is the march of progress so relentlessly slow? It’s like a snail.

Wee Geek continues to struggle with the parameters of his grown up world. This has been the most difficult part of my life lately. I know that he has to struggle and I feel so powerless in pushing him up the hill and over the hump. There was a misguided and misunderstood non-suicide threat which landed him in the nut hut for a couple of days. This did make him understand that he needs to learn how to control his emotions a little more and also to understand that he cannot do this huge job of mopping up the mess his dad made all by himself.  I’m sure that in his dad’s little control freak brain, it made perfect sense to disable rather than to enable this kid. What he really did was create a huge cauldron of crap that is taking a lot of time to unravel. Wee Geek spent so much time stuffing himself down to keep from getting killed in that awful environment that there was little opportunity to actually learn how to cope. Now that his life has settled down and started to find a path, he is unable to control the feelings that are surfacing. The biggest of which is anger at his dad. I feel a great deal of frustration in him sending all of his energy in that direction. That too is a coping mechanism, however, and I have to let him get through it. No matter how inefficient it truly is.

It’s been a struggle for me not to run to bring him home. There is value to all paths we make decisions to follow. Not always wisdom, but value. He refuses to go file for unemployment. He has been warned that I will be somewhat unsympathetic toward money issues if he does not take steps to help himself. We all have to draw lines in the sand. In reality, the Fix-it-guy and I know that the best thing for him would prolly be to come home and let us help him to get on the autism waiver and get involved with Voc Rehab to help him with financial stuff and getting a new job. It would be helpful in getting him back into school, too. He’s very afraid to take that step. It feels like he’s taking a step backward to him. It’s progress in a backdoor way and he is not excited for that in the least.

The biggest event of the summer came in a very strange way, however. And it almost didn’t happen. My publisher Post Mortem Press (go see link here) http://www.postmortem-press.com/ threw a little retreat for its authors. I had planned for Fix-it-guy to come and at the very last minute (and I do mean that in the most literal sense of the word) he decided not to go. So, I drove to Yellow Springs, Ohio all by my lonesome. The motel was fantastic http://www.thespringsmotel.com/ and I recommend it for that truly creepy Bates Motel experience. Not that the motel was bad, it just gave you this very distinct feeling of going back in time. It was your typical one story strip mall kind of motel with gigantic dollops of nostalgia.

It was interesting to meet the other authors and most exciting of all…..extremely motivational! The main activity of the weekend was a little Edited! (rather than Chopped) contest. We had to submit a flash fiction story before we arrived. Don’t worry, I had to look it up, too. I had no idea how to write flash fiction and only barely understood what it actually was. This link helped me to get it: http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/flash.shtml .  So I wrote this strange little story called “Damned If You Do” about a boy zombie killer and his girlfriend. I know, no surprises there. After placing in the top of that round, we were given the lyrics to an old Joy Division song http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/joy+division/love+will+tear+us+apart_20075884.html “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Here’s a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHYOXyy1ToI  . Didn’t really miss Joy Division, did you? So I wrote another little story of the same title about a man who kills his wife and they in true Norman Bates style, keeps her as if she was sick. The next prompt was a picture prompt. It was a strange little photo with a young girl holding a baby and a storm brewing in the background. That story was born of a strange experience in a haunted school (that will be later) called “Vortex Baby”. It was about  a child of an incestuous rape being born. The final story was based on the prompt “The Caretaker”. This story was rooted a little in the story that appeared in “Fear of the Abyss” http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Abyss-Post-Mortem-Press/dp/0615732518  and a little on the movie “Daybreakers” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433362/ which I highly recommend as refreshing look at the vampire mythology.  It was about an alien race who used humans as their Life Force. It smacks greatly of “Solyent Green” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1  again another movie that comes highly recommended from yours truly. This story was the winner.

I know that the strange string of events that led to this was nothing short of silly, but it worked and as a writer of fiction, who am I to argue with the debate of fiction needing to be more real

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than real life. At any rate, my winnings consisted of a little plastic trophy and a  huge cache of Post Mortem Press books. Winning this really did something to me. It validated that I do indeed know what the hell I am doing. It made me realize that this is what I should be doing with my life. It also solidified the need to get all three of these books out of my computer and into a book.

So, never fear, the zombie novel is finally coming.  I was so inspired and energized by spending the weekend with 20 people that I didn’t even know of outside of Facebook and some not really at all, that I now count them all as wonderful influences on my life as a whole.

So here are some links to authors that you should link to.

Nelson Pyles http://nelsonwpyles.com/ who also runs https://www.facebook.com/TheWickedLibrary

J. David Anderson: https://www.facebook.com/authorjdavidanderson

C. Bryan Brown: https://www.facebook.com/cbryanbrown

Jessica McHugh: https://www.facebook.com/author.JessicaMcHugh

Gary Braunbeck: http://garybraunbeck.com/

Tim Waggoner: http://www.timwaggoner.com/

Lucy Snyder: http://www.sff.net/people/lucy-snyder/

Kenneth Cain: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Your-eyes-My-vision-the-Dark-Fiction-of-Kenneth-W-Cain/177796992258142

Brady Allen: https://www.facebook.com/authorbradyallen

Georgina Morales: http://www.diaryofawriterinprogress.blogspot.com/

I think that hits everyone. If I missed someone feel free to let me know.

What I did learn from this fateful weekend is so awesome that I find it hard to find words to talk about it.

I know, you are dying to know about the Haunted School trip. It was at Poasttown school http://poasttownschool.com/Home_Page.php . There is a place in the heart of the school that they call the Vortex. It’s a kind of place that all the roads in the school merge into. It has a very unique energy. As most of you longer time readers know, I have Asperger’s. This means that my brain is never quiet and I never stop ticking. This is usually fairly easy to control with massive doses of Benydryl. As I walked into the vortex, I was taken completely off my feet. My brain was quiet. My body was quiet. I didn’t feel the need to rock or twitch or move or really anything. I know that most neurotypical people won’t get it. They can actually turn off their brains. My brain does not have that switch. It is constantly moving and driving me into distraction and destruction. The feeling of complete and utter calm was so foreign that I almost didn’t know how to react. At first the quiet scared me. It was immediate. Like a switch being turned off in my brain. It was dark and felt like everyone was sleeping. If it had only been quiet and I had not had the stillness in my body, I prolly would have run like hell. Instead, I just stood and enjoyed the curiosity of it.

At any rate, that was the reason behind the “Vortex Baby” story. It also brings me to a screeching halt here in the Land of the Not Quite Right. I have a roaring allergy headache that refuses to go away and I am seriously going to lay down and try to get rid of the damn thing. I am inspired once more, so hopefully more blogs will be leaking out of my head as I continue on this creative binge.

 

 

 

A Mother’s Humour and Other Ways to Delve Into Madness


It’s literally been a very odd week. It started with Mother’s Day. I, of course, wanted Wee Geek to go and pick up my mom and drive to Muncie and meet us at Outback for lunch. Which after all the court broo-haha on Friday prior to that would have been nice. However, my mom was in one of her moods that are so aspy, and yet, so completely odd to me. She decided that she didn’t want to go. I guess it was fine. Wee Geek told me to let it go and I did. So The Fix it Guy and I spent Mother’s Day eating lunch at Outback and then going to an auction which turned out to be completely great. I picked up a ton of nice vintage jewelry that I’m ever so much in love with.

I don’t pretend to understand why my mom has these moments, but when I look at it, I guess that occasionally, I do as well. So I shouldn’t be too hard on her. After all, we all need time to do our own thing and I would want her to accept that about me.

Another odd thing about Mother’s Day was that a dear friend’s mother died that day. I didn’t know this friend’s mother very well, I’ve only met her a few times, but I’m told that the irony in her dying this particular day is simply delicious. I’m glad that my friend is able to deal with the loss of his only surviving parent with this kind of humour. He, does, in general, try to face most trials in his life in this way and I suppose that this is prolly why we are friends. Because we both approach life’s tragedies and trials as if it is in reality some gargantuan joke that we just don’t know the punch line to. And we laugh anyway. If you can’t beat them, by god, join them.

I’ve been very interested in watching the dynamics of this family as they go through this difficult time, because as always, I am a keen observer of humans in general. (I may have to report back to the Big Giant Head at any moment…see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115082/?ref_=sr_1 if you have no idea what that refers to.) I hope that my friends don’t mind my observations. My friend is trying very hard to be the zen hippy dippy California guy and stay in the middle because his sister is a wreck and his brother is the guy who always orchestrates the duck line and makes sure that it is doing the right thing. So the only thing left for him to be is the guy in the middle who is even.

This process has been difficult to watch because it brings to mind the idea that our parents are getting older and their health is going to decline and they are going to need help. I am very aware that my mom doesn’t have anyone else to rely on that’s close except for me. This is hard and I often wish she would move closer to us so that I don’t have to worry so damn much.

So going through this week, trying to be considerate of my friend’s feelings, I have just been trying to anticipate what he might need and I’ve been trying to make sure that he knows that he has support or someone who accepts him and loves him for who he is. It is hard to know what to do in these situations, but especially hard when you live on the spectrum because you just never are quite sure what the protocol for social behavior is. Grieving times compound this because people do not react in uniform ways to grief. Very distressing for those of us who need some sort of species conformity in order to form rules for ourselves so that we don’t inadvertently perform some ritual that is going to cause Karma to visit us 4 times daily with extra healthy heapings of bad luck.  So, if all of you neurotypical people could just get together and figure out a uniform way to grieve, that would be very helpful, thank you.

I never know what to say. Thankfully, The Fix it Guy knows that you are supposed to say silly things like “I’m sorry for your loss”. I don’t even know how that is remotely comforting. I much prefer, “I am here for you to use however you need to so that you can get through this truly horrific moment in your life”. I would never even have guessed “I’m sorry for your loss” not even with cue cards.

So, I am still teaching blogging at this conference tomorrow and so have to miss the funeral. I always feel as if funerals should really truly be for people who were close to the dead person or family. I’m just sort of a random passerby who happens to know three of her four kids. I will be thinking of my friends tomorrow as they go down this path of their lives. It is with a truly heavy heart that I think of them.

In other news….I think I’ve figured out what the next phase in my life is. So now I have to hurry up and do all of the stuff that I said I would do while I was not working. Craft room will be completely moved this upcoming week as well as one zombie book edited. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of my craftiness.

The first three doctors

The first three doctors

The Fourth Doctor

The Fourth Doctor

The Fifth Doctor

The Fifth Doctor

 

MWW 12 Reflections: Being a Literary Citizen


I’m still reflecting on things overheard at the Midwest Writer’s Workshop.  Go here to learn more. It’s a wonderful opportunity for writers right here in the heart of midwestern land http://www.midwestwriters.org/ .

I heard a lot about being a literary citizen. I’ve thought about this in depth for this last week. I’ve also thought about the people that I see doing this every day. Big shout out to http://kelseytimmerman.com/ who pulled a gigantic move of conscience and sent back his Eagle Scout badge this week. You can contact him on twitter, or just tune in to see what his thoughts are in general. http://twitter.com/KelseyTimmerman or just find him @Kelsey Timmerman. Think about the stand he is taking and why it is occasionally important to stand up for what you believe in even if it means becoming a pariah in some of your normal social groups. Everyone loves a groupie, but they really aspire to be a star.

It’s not just about being active on all of the social media, which they made a huge deal out of. It’s not just connecting on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. It’s not just about interacting in communities that you think might help you. All of these things are good and even putting links to things like I just did twice already will prolly get you lots more readers, but there’s more to it than that. What is it about? Here is where you thank  your lucky stars that I’m here to think about this stuff for you, so that you don’t have to. Here is where you look at what I did and say to yourself….”Hmmmm….self, maybe I should ponder this for the hundredth of a second that social media will allow me to and see if this makes sense for me to do.”

I talked in great length with one of the social media consultants during the workshop (http://twitter.com/androgynisto) who was absolutely brilliant in stroking my little writer’s ego, but also in suggesting new ways to boost my little writer’s ego for myself.  I’m not negating what my 10-25 regular readers do, I’m just saying that I’d like to boost my subscriptions AND feel as if I am actually doing something for my community that is fulfilling and satisfying. I have also been thinking of being a literary citizen in terms of extending the conversations that I am already having. The ones that hold meaning for me.

I’ve thought about what MY community is. I belong to lots of communities. All of them offer me something different in the fulfilling and satisfying department. My home community, although frustrating and the number one filler of blog content, is genuinely pretty satisfying and fulfilling. 

I belong to a community of writers. Actually a couple of them. This community has given me the courage to put myself out there and actually get published. It also has encouraged me to write. Not just stories, but things about myself, this blog and even a few articles here and there. This community has also given me friends and a time when I desperately needed to have friends so that I could transition from being Wee Geek’s mom to the wonderful autistic zombie girl that you have grown to know and to love.

I belong to the autistic community and this is where I feel the greatest responsibility. I cannot separate myself from the way that my brain works. It colours everything that I do, how I think, how I feel, how I interact with the world. Here is a great article about person first language by Jim Sinclair: http://autismmythbusters.com/general-public/autistic-vs-people-with-autism/jim-sinclair-why-i-dislike-person-first-language/ . I feel a great responsibility toward this community mostly because I am the most in tune and intertwined with this community. It bugs the hell out of me that there are so few role models  for autistic people. Especially ones on the higher end of the spectrum. I also feel that we need to dispell the myths about autism because it is a spectrum and we need to ALL work together to make the world a better place for ALL of us. Not just the lower functioning people. Not just the higher functioning people. ALL of us as an autistic community. (I jump sheepishly down from the soapbox.)

I belong to a community of early education specialists. People who know the value of early intervention in the lives of children and their families. For me this means pinpointing developmental issues and trying to minimise their lasting effects on kids. We all know that the earlier we intervene with kids on the spectrum the higher functioning we can make them. Here is a good article on early intervention impacts (disregard the crap about ABA): http://autism-help.org/intervention-autism-aspergers-introduction.htm . I believe this with all of my heart and soul. This also means working with families to make them understand that this is true and coming to grips with the autism diagnosis NOT being a death sentence. It also means enjoying little kids and sharing with their families why you can enjoy your little kids. Our families are in such crisis sometimes that they have forgotten to truly enjoy this wonderful little person that has been thrust upon them.

When I look at just these few communities that I belong to, I am overwhelmed by the impact that they have on me. These few communities only scratch the surface of the things that I am involved in, but they are all terribly integral to who I am as a person and what my belief system is. These are the communities that I care about contributing to and extended conversations about. In some cases I want to start important conversations in these communities and move on with them. I want to learn from these conversations and broaden my horizons with them.

So when I examine my idea of being a literary citizen. I hope that I’m being faithful to the things that I mean to be faithful to. I hope that I am conveying meaningful ideas that start conversations, add to them and make people want to continue them. I hope that I am doing these things in a thoughtful manner that encourage interactions. I also hope that I am doing these things in a thoughtful way that might make people discontinue interactions. This means that I am hitting home with someone and making them think in a way that is uncomfortable for them. Making them think outside of their boxes.

I encourage people in my communities and in other communities to do this as well. We cannot blindly follow. We must think and intervene. We must be good citizens of all of our communities and promote meaningful and thoughtful change when needed.

Go forth, all of you, and use your evil powers for good.

Notes from the Midwest Writer’s Workshop and Other Places Zombie Girls Might Thrive


I know that it’s been a little while, and I will get around to updating you. It’s been a very interesting and busy week including a little mini vacation. I wanted to fulfill my need to catalogue everything I see on some sort of notecard that I will tuck away in some dark and deep corner of my brain where I can access it later for what could turn out to be some illicit purpose.

I look around at the people who attend this writer’s conference and chuckle sardonically to myself. I want to interject here that I am much more relaxed at this particular conference than when I came here 2 years ago for the first time. Last time I came, I’d felt a little bit like I was trying to live up to some expectation that I couldn’t possibly ever live up to. This time, I just feel like going with it and trying to have fun, make good observations and learn something. I’m having lots of fun with observations today.

Today I am noticing that there is a little different crowd than was at the intensive sessions. Intensive sessions are all day classes on a specific topic. I had wanted to get in the manuscript makeover class, but Best Buy guy didn’t give me the money (as my birthday present) in time, so there were no slots open. I had to pick something else that may or may not have been helpful. In retrospect, it was only slightly in the may be helpful category. I would have been happier if I’d actually read the teacher’s stuff. I hadn’t. I also hadn’t read anything that anyone talked about during the entire session. Sigh. It was a long road with the promise of taking an idea to some semblence of fruition. In this class, there was a bullish man who tried to interject his ideas (none of them very good or very well thought out) into everything. He did this in a way that tried to warp everything into some strange Frankenstein monster of an idea. I did not enjoy that. I didn’t care enough to interject my own thoughts, I had decided to just go with the flow. I know, completely contrary to my normal autistic stance.

I look around today and see a few of those faces from yesterday, but I also see a few pretend people. That is to say, people who have an idea in their heads of what “real writers” look like, and they try to look like that. In other words, there’s some cosplay looking stuff going on here. A few examples: a guy with a steampunky waxed into curls mustache, a woman with an ostrich plume in her hair, a girl with a little 20’s inspired outfit, complete with flapper hat. It’s definitely an interesting group with a diverse idea of what being a writer means. There are lots of degrees of pretentiousness here which is a whole different range of scary.  I love it.

Mutant and Proud


I’m still basking in the glory of what was the wonderfulness of the new X-Men movie.  I know only cursory history of the X-Men from the comics.  I was not a huge X-Men geek.  I have always and forever had my heart taken away by John Constantine in Hellblazer.

However, as someone on the spectrum, I completely relate to and am completely enamoured of the idea that mutation in all of its forms is the wave of the future and that like it or not and neurotypicals be damned, we are coming and we are here. We are aware and we are no longer hiding.

So, the main gist of the movie is to give us a little more insight into the background of Magneto and why he is so evil.  It helps us to empathize with his position that it is an “us” and “them” mentality that the world has. We must adapt and make a niche for ourselves.

It also gives us some amazing background on the character of Mystique.  Who knew that she was ****spoiler alert**** the adopted sister of Professor X?  Like I said, I am not an X-Men comic connoseiur.  I was extremely interested to learn about the origins of the X-Men Academy.  It was fantastic!

So, we need to point out the main theme of the movie.  Mutant and Proud.  It’s long held in the Asperger’s community that AS is the next step in evolution. The next step up in intelligence and focus.

I was so deeply touched by the ideas that were put forth.  Should we hide our difference to fit in and be accepted?  Should we wave it around like a flag and risk rejection?  Should we make it more acceptable and more easily tolerated by others who do not understand it?  Should we dismiss it completely and ignore it?

In my younger days I tried very hard to fit in and be like everyone else.  It never really worked and then I was miserable.  The only time I was happy was when I was reading, writing, or sitting in a bar listening to bands.  In my young adult years, I listened to some idiot tell me that something was wrong with the way I felt, the way I thought, and the way I did things.  I was still miserable and stopped doing the things that did make me happy.

Now that I’m 42, I don’t care.  I’m so obviously not the same, that I can’t hide it.  From the purple streaks in my hair to the way that I assess facts and put them into palatable patterns.  It’s just the way that it is.  However, at this time in my life, I have learned what is important and what makes me happy.  I have learned that the people that are critical of me, are not worth my time and I have learned who my true friends are.

I have learned who I am and not to be ashamed of it.  I have learned why my opinions are the way that they are that I should stick to them and be proud of them.  I have learned that I am worthwhile and I matter.  I am just as valid as anyone else.

So, the messages of the movies are these.  That those of us who are different have the ability to scare others because of our talents, etc.  Whaat we do with that knowledge shapes how we relate to the cookie cutter people.  I know that sounds confrontational.  But it’s reality.  Those of us who are different have to make a conscious decision about how to temper ourselves to be accepted. On the other hand, we also have to make that decision about how much we care about that acceptance.

The message also is that people who are different can contribute to the world just like everyone else….the difference being that in the world of X-Men, people who are different have to make a choice to be good or evil.  I suppose that everyone must make this decision just not in such absolute terms.   It is important to note that our contributions are occasionally more substantial because of the way that our brains put information together and interpret it.

I was in love with these themes.  Hide our differences or not?  Be recognised for our differences and demand that the world adapt, or move quietly in the background like Hank?  Contribute to the betterment of mankind in general realising that we are all people? Or forsake humanity for their stupidity and work to constantly remind them of that stupidity?

The choices are all ours.  We must all work together.  At some point we will need the help of someone who does not think the way that we do and we will have to be led through some system of social workings by that person.  That’s reality.  We

I walked away wishing that everyone who was different would walk away from life knowing that there is something about them that is wonderful and worthwhile.  It may not be today.  And we must all realise that we make our own destinites and that we are the only ones who can determine how we feel and how we deal with those feelings.

So, I also walked away wishing that our kids did not have to go through the same pain that we lived through to get to the same place.  In reality, I feel that I went through it, my son shouldn’t have to.  But here he is.  Going through hell for the same ends seems like a  lot of extra trouble for nothing.  I tried to give him the tools tha the would need to get through life with a measure of confidence that I was never allowed to have.

We can give our children the message that it is truly okay to be different.  However, the world doesn’t truly support this difference.  Sigh…I’m appalled that humankind hasn’t evolved anymore than that. And thank goodness that I have.