#My Writing Process Blog Hop

#My Writing Process Blog Hop

A couple of weeks ago I received a message from my lovely friend Renee Salas inviting me to take part in this blog hop. I was very interested and not a little flattered to be invited to add my piece alongside such writers as Cynthia Kim, Michael Monje Jr., Sparrow Rose Jones and many others whom I hold in high regard. Renee reassured me that I was worthy of inclusion, so here is my description of my writing process.

What Am I Working On?

The main things that occupy my time are my day job as a software developer and caring for my wife, Anne. Unfortunately there are too few hours in the day for me to devote as much time as I would like to other pursuits.

I am likely unusual in that I do not have writing projects that stretch over much time: I believe a few days is the longest I have ever worked on a single piece. That said, I do have a couple of pieces scheduled over the coming months. One is for an anthology about the impact of the internet on being trans. The other is user documentation for an application I developed. Quite a contrast, I know.

I am also starting to work on expressing myself visually through drawing and painting as a way to complement the images I set down in words.

How Does My Work Differ From Others in the Genre?

I am far from the only person writing about personal experiences, but my combination of autism and gender dysphoria does give me an unusual perspective. I write both prose and poetry; my prose is often poetic in its imagery, which is a consequence of being visually-oriented in my thinking. I like to think I have my own style of expression, a fingerprint that identifies my written voice.

One thing that has struck me since I first began to read others’ writings about autism is how much we have in common in the way we experience the world. Surely this is the source of the strength in our community.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

I had been writing for many years before I ever started publishing my words on a blog. It began as a form of therapy, a way to express and release the thoughts that swirled around my mind, distracting me from everyday functions. I progressed from handwritten journals to typing, and from there to here was but a short step.

It wasn’t long after I began blogging before I started to receive comments from autistic readers who drew parallels between my accounts and their own experiences. I realized that simply by documenting events from my own life I was helping others feel that there was somebody else with whom they had things in common: the same response I felt myself on reading what other autistic authors had written.

I made a decision that I would try to promote understanding of autism through my writing. My goal is acceptance of neurodiversity, and recently I have added gender variance as well.

As for choosing my subjects, well that is difficult to explain. I have no tactical plan, no list of topics that I intend to cover. Which leads to…

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

I write, so I guess whatever my process is it works. For the most part I find I am inspired by a particular event in my life that highlights an aspect of autism or gender non-conformity. Or else I might draw inspiration from a conversation with a friend, or reading others’ writing.

Whatever the source I will find myself with a concept crystallizing from the solution of thoughts and feelings within my mind. Once that happens it is just a matter of shaping words into a facsimile of my mental construct. Sometimes this feels more natural in the form of poetry.

Ideas crystallize,
The shapeless given form,
Nebulae collapsing
As bright stars come to life.

End of Line

I’m afraid that this particular branch of this Blog Hop must end here. No excuses. I simply put off contacting potential contributors until events in my life conspired to distract me from the task, until the deadline loomed too close to avoid.

Instead I will simply point you in the direction of the writers I linked to in my opening paragraph. All of them are writers I hold in high regard and I hope that if you are not familiar with their works you will take this opportunity to introduce yourself.

Flash Blog: Autism is Not a Crime

Flash Blog: Autism is Not a Crime

Another terrible mass murder. Another excuse for the lazier elements of the media to trot out the tired old cliché of autism causing somebody to go out and kill. Even if the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome is accurate, correlation is not the same as causation.

The causes in this case were probably complex and interwoven, but certain factors stand out. This young man felt tremendous pressure to conform to societal expectations of sexual activity. He had access to a firearm and ammunition that were not stored securely. He presumably had nobody to whom he felt able to talk about his problems.

I’m not trying to paint him as a victim here; I do not condone his actions at all. I do think that society as a whole needs to take a closer look at his situation to understand what motivated this terrible act. I see it as a symptom of sickness in society that crimes such as this are committed.

Gretchen Leary

Dear Autism Community,

Considering the recent sad tragedy and the false media stigma that seems to be rising up – I want to ask you to join me in doing a flash blog tomorrow using hashtag #Aspergers & #Autismisnotacrime so we can find each other’s posts.

Although I cannot host everyone’s blog posts on my page, if you email me your blog post I will tweet it out. (Authorleary @ gmail dot com)

I’ve never led one before but I feel compelled to help clarify this false stigma that the media has placed on our community.

Will you join me and write a blog post about the most positive way that ASD has affected you? Please post it tomorrow to show the world that this stigma is wrong and our community is nothing to be afraid of.

Best,
Gretchen Leary

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Reflection on Refraction

Reflection on Refraction

The rain has passed; I step out
From the place I found to shelter,
Breathing deeply to savor
The fresh greenness of the damp air.

I spin round to see the colors
Washed clean of their dirty dullness
Shining with vibrant newness
As the sun sparkles on droplets.

I raise my eyes as the clouds
Recede, the sun warm on my back,
To be greeted by wondrous
Light bridging the far horizon.

Those many tiny raindrops
Perform a final miracle,
Bending beams of solar light
Into a beautiful rainbow.

Rainbows and departing storm clouds, Minsi Lake, Northampton County.
by Nicholas_T on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.
A Word About Anti-Depressants

A Word About Anti-Depressants

I no longer think that my prescribed anti-depressants are helping my state of mind. Since I have been unable to arrange an appointment with my doctor until the middle of next week I have taken the unilateral decision to halve my dose.

I was finding that I am less able to function. My concentration is impaired and it has been affecting my work: I have had to take time off sick because of the side-effects. These include nausea and light-headedness. I have come to realize that my difficulties in establishing a routine in the morning are not entirely due to my autism: the medication is preventing me from concentrating sufficiently to move from one task to another.

When I finally do see my doctor I am going to tell him that I no longer wish to take these SSRIs. I will start the process of weaning myself off of them. I am not saying that I no longer have depressive episodes; I am saying that I do not believe that this medication is helping. I would rather try to deal with the low mood with a mind unclouded by chemicals.

Light Show

Light Show

I fall into the diamond sparkle of light refracted by my cut-glass tumbler. Shards of shattered rainbows glint and swirl kaleidoscopically as I spin round and round, drawn deeper into this well of visual stimulation. My world is reduced to the immediacy of this pyrotechnic extravaganza: colors explode, burst, shine briefly and fall to earth while still more rise on trails of glitter to take their place. As I am drawn deeper a cloud of iridescent bubbles floats on the air all around; I am lost in a cloud of polychromatic ephemera. The bubbles burst to reveal a swarm of butterflies, nacreous wings flashing in the light. I float among them, borne by their fluttering, reveling in my weightlessness; they carry me up, higher and higher, until they metamorphose and dissipate into a whirlwind of flashing color, fragments resolving into spectra until I am returned to where I started, captivated by the beauty of the prismatic play of light on my glass.