Neurological differences are not mental disabilities, and after everything I've observed this past week in particular, I'm beginning to think people who are neurotypical have no business questioning the mental fitness of others. In all seriousness, one type of neurology isn't inherently better (or worse) than another simply because it's the norm. Just means its associated strengths and, yes, weaknesses are more common, and therefore accepted. Even (especially) those who do have mental disabilities should not be discouraged from advocating for themselves and others. Personally, I'm more humbled and inspired by people who overcome challenges than people who coast on mediocrity. Consider people with physical disabilities. Anne Sullivan was nearly blind but saw more than many sighted individuals. Helen Keller could neither see nor hear, but once Sullivan helped her find a way to communicate, she was relentless in her pursuit of knowledge and her advocacy for others. “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” - Helen Keller Back on the subject of neurological disorders, I'm not comfortable with people referring to them super powers if only because those same people tend to gloss over the fact that even Superman has his kryptonite. Like, my ADHD might allow me to think outside the box or, more to the point, agonize over linear thinkers who don't even think to question the existence of the box, but physics is my kryptonite. These boxes people force themselves into may not be real, but that table I just ran into very much is. ...I haven't actually run into furniture for quite some time. Batman had Albert and Lucius to help manage his life and overcome his weaknesses. Ironman had Jarvis and Pepper. I have nonstimulant medication. (I'm basically Batman is what I'm saying. Minus the bad boy antics and inherited wealth.) ((Really, I'm more like Catwoman.)) As for Greta Thunberg, who has Asperger's syndrome, which places her on the autism spectrum, she's a marvel. People attacking her for her age or her gender or her neurological differences instead of critiquing the content of her ideas only reveal their own shortcomings. It's not that I don't fall short myself. I used to be very outspoken as a child, but I let the same kinds of people attacking Greta now wear me down. When I first heard her speak, I thought, "Wow, she sounds like me at her age. In my brain. At 3 AM." I also felt deeply ashamed. I certainly didn't think her fear was unwarranted considering I shared it decades ago and things have only gotten worse, nor did I for once suspect her parents or George Soros put her up to it. If people question Greta's ability to articulate her thoughts so intelligently, it's only because of their own inability to do so; rather than confront their own weaknesses, they delude themselves into thinking someone else must be behind her show of strength. Just like people delude themselves into thinking everything is fine to rationalize their own complacency and laziness. She's the crazy one, not them. Never them. In the dark ages, if neurological differences didn't lead to accusations of witchcraft, speaking her mind and challenging authority would have. What interests me is that antivaxxors are among her detractors. They still subscribe to the long debunked scam that vaccines cause autism, yet they are fine with Exxon and other global corporations pumping pollutants into the air and water, and Monsanto and Nestle taking over our food and water supplies. Strange how the people most scared of the NWO are the first line of defense for its closest approximation. Someone said she had no business complaining because people are starving in Africa. There's people starving everywhere, and some people in Africa are not only fine, they're at the forefront of addressing everything from hunger to renewable energy. That, and the root cause of problems like world hunger and pollution is the same corporate greed. By the way, there's more to Africa than what you see on late night television, and the diverse people of its 54 countries deserve better than being reduced to a scary story for finicky eaters. To Greta I apologize that people like myself don't share your strength and fortitude, and that other people are threatened by smart girls who dare to speak out, and that in many ways, we're still living in the dark ages.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Speaking of new beginnings - I say like it hasn't been over two months since my last post - I began work on the umpteenth re-imagining of my novel Grimalkin. Which is to say, I wrote over a chapter in a fit of inspiration one day; and I have spent every day since developing characters and working out the plot, mostly while showering, trying to sleep, or even driving.
Mind you, I always pay attention to cars and lights and stop signs and little woodland creatures, but once I missed a turn, and another time I thought I missed a turn only to realize I was totally on track, if a bit discombobulated from lost time.
(Seriously, though - don't plot and drive.)
Little remains of the last incarnation, apart from the general setting and a few characters, some re-imagined much like the story itself. Ironically, one of the supporting characters that made the cut was one I intended to remove, but there's a stronger case for her now, and I can't imagine Grimalkin without her.
I've also been polishing my short story, "Alpha" (soon to be published), dabbling in other pursuits, and battling crippling self doubt. It's been a tough summer that began with an unexpected pet death and culminated in adjusting to a higher dose of a non-stimulant while managing grief and lifelong frustrations magnified by the worsening state of the world.
Recently I saw a Tumblr post from another writer with ADHD about Terry Pratchett. Pratchett set a surprisingly modest daily writing goal of 400 words for being such a prolific writer, and it just sounded so tantalizingly manageable. I glanced back at the new beginning of Grimalkin, which is more than double that, and I don't think it took me over an hour to churn it out.
Of course, that's my typical MO: either the words pour out, or they bottleneck somewhere between brain and fingers. Supposedly Writer's Block is a myth, and anyone who experiences it isn't REALLY a writer, but surely irritability can plague the brain as much as the bowels.
(Yes, I know it's a gross analogy, but it's also pretty accurate, though I do hope the actual output of my brain isn't proverbial poo.)
((Then again, that often sells...))
I debated sharing the new opening chapter of Grimalkin or excerpts from my other short stories, and maybe I still will, but I do plan to release a proper website. I just have to pick a host and relearn coding, and honestly, it all just sounds an awful lot like work.
(It's possible I may be lazy independently of having poor executive functioning.)
((It's also possible my ongoing woes about the futility of life coupled with my inability to find the right words to inspire positive change have killed my motivation.))
(((No, I'm not depressed, at least not clinically, just...paying attention.)))
I've been leery of speaking precisely for fear of providing a glimpse of what it's like inside my brain when I let my thoughts run amok, but maybe that's what I need to ease the bottleneck. And, bringing this post full circle, my existential angst has been key to thematic content and the development of one of the supporting characters in Grimalkin.
I can assure you she's more optimistic than I am.
It's easy when you're written that way.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
I've always wanted to write (and act, and sing and play guitar and piano in a rock band, and direct, etc.) but before that I was a reader. I still remember cracking the code and learning to read in Kindergarten. It opened new worlds to me, and I wanted to explore them all.
My favorite book as a child that remains one of my favorites today was Howliday Inn by James Howe; Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe was and is a close second. Both books aged well, and are great for reading aloud to children.
Within a few years, I was maxing out my library card with a stack of chapter books: Nancy Drew (the newer ones from the 80s when she actually did stuff), Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High, The Babysitter's Club, The Fabulous Five, and so on. I'd be done within a matter of days, to my dad's dismay.
My dad introduced me to The Gunslinger by Stephen King when I was in fifth grade. I'd already flipped through his gruesome graphic novella Cycle of the Werewolf by the time I was nine. He even gave the library permission to let me check out adult novels, hoping it would extend the time between visits but fewer could be checked out at a time, and I still blew through King and Koontz pretty quickly as well.
It's no surprise that some of my own writing was hailed as "well written but kind of morbid," a childhood memory my husband and I strangely have in common.
The golden era was when I happened upon the YA section. Back then it was mostly Sweet Valley U (which was oddly, consistently bleak) and romance, but YA horror was a growing sub genre dominated by Fear Street by R.L. Stine (which I recognized as schlock, but still devoured) and also books by Christopher Pike and trilogies by L. J. Smith.
The trilogy format really captured my interest as both a reader and writer. So many of the books I've attempted over the years were developed as potential trilogies. There was just one huge, glaring problem: I'm great at ideas; I'm bad at finishing anything I start.
Shocker, I know.
I came to two big epiphanies this year: I need to start small, and I need to go back to basics. And by going back to basics, I mean way back. The first stories weren't written. They were passed down orally. And the one thing my favorite books have in common, be it the original Bunnicula series of my youth or the Discworld books of Sir Terry Pratchett I discovered as an adult, is that they are as pleasurable to read aloud as they are on the page.
To the end of starting small, my first published work will not be a trilogy or even a novel, but a short story aptly named "Alpha."
The story began not with an idea but with a quote.
Sir Terry Pratchett once advised "Fantasy doesn’t have to be fantastic. American writers in particular find this much harder to grasp. You need to have your feet on the ground as much as your head in the clouds. The cute dragon that sits on your shoulder also craps all down your back, but this makes it more interesting because it gives it an added dimension."
I realized this was part of what made his stories so enjoyable to me and wondered if I could challenge myself to apply a similar approach. I'm not good at world building, so I decided I wanted to delve into magical realism with a story taking a ridiculous notion growing in popularity to its literal extreme.
I don't want to give too much away, but "Alpha" is the culmination of that writing experiment, and it has been selected for publishing in the WritingBloc Deception! anthology.
It's not just a start.
It's the start.
Saturday, September 1, 2018
"And she had worked on her smile in the mirror. Usually May's smile looked like a
grimace. But she'd gotten it to look halfway normal, she thought. Girls with nice
smiles made friends."
“...it was not until someone tapped her on the shoulder or said her name that
Coraline would come back from a million miles away with a start, and all in a
fraction of a second have to remember who she was, and what her name
was, and that she was even there at all.”
“I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then.”
As originally posted on social media spring 2018
Neurological differences are not mental disabilities, and after everything I've observed this past week in particular, I'm beginnin...
I've always wanted to write (and act, and sing and play guitar and piano in a rock band, and direct, etc.) but before that I was a read...
Last year my diagnosing psychologist said there wasn’t a place ADHD ended and I began, but in the year since, I’ve learned that’s not en...
Speaking of new beginnings - I say like it hasn't been over two months since my last post - I began work on the umpteenth re-imagining ...