Global Autism

Today is one of those controversial days, this month sometimes less than joyful.

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and April is dubbed Autism Awareness Month. (Yes, April is also National Poetry and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but allow me to focus on one for a bit, please.)

There are some in the autism community that despise this month, this day especially, because they don’t agree with some of the organizations that have over-run things with their own agendas and publicity. No matter what some groups have done, this month is still be a great opportunity to share your stories—whether your own or your family’s—and bring to light the joys and frustrations of life on the autism spectrum.

Today, I’m wearing blue, and all month I’m sporting a bit of blue hair and an Autism Awareness ribbon. These visual tokens give me conversation starters to share with others about my own family’s journey, as well as direct people to great advocates on the spectrum like John Elder Robison, Dani Bowman, Erin Clemens, and A.S.P.I.E.

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Over the coming weeks, I’ll share a few more autism-related posts (including literary news you’ll want to stick around to hear.)

As for the other worthy cause, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I highly suggest reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Several different times she and her publisher helped raise money for RAINN in April. One year I donated to RAINN and Laurie, in return, donated to Autism Society of America. A win-win situation of awesomeness.

Now I’ll branch over to the National Poetry Month. Here’s a haiku I just wrote about some of the feelings one might deal with on the spectrum:

All thoughts are spinning
Mind, body, crowded senses
Breathe, wrap me in weight.

What are you passionate about this month?

Writing, Everyday

Since it’s officially a long weekend here (Hello, Labor Day!) I’ve decided to labor over my WIP to get closer to finishing the never ending first draft.
I write slow, with a capital S.
After skipping work for three days at the beginning of the week, I’m making up for it by busting my fingers to get the words down. I’ve added for than 3,500 in the past forty-eight hours. FORTITUDE needs to be finished. This draft has to be complete so I can go over it multiple times with edits. I want this first draft to become a twelfth draft.

Always good with timing, the fabulous Laurie Halse Anderson is hosting her sixth annual Write Fifteen Minutes a Day this month. You can find the first post here. For those interested in writing or the workings of an author it’s a great series to follow.

I’ll update later this week, but for now, here’s to nurturing goals:
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The End Game

I don’t usually review books but once upon a time I listed them here and wrote a blurb about each one. Scaling down was the best option for me a few years back, but if you’re interested in what I’m reading, you can track them on Facebook. It’s not as visually pleasing but I update whenever I start something new.

That being said, I’m not going to post a book review, rather praise a novel’s introduction. Yep, the introduction. Though from what I’ve read so far, the book is good, too.

The fastest way to bump a book up on my TBR (to be read) pile is to release a movie. ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card has been on my “pile” for at least a decade. (The pile is too big to stack: I have books on random shelves around the house plus a list of books to get—at some point—from the library or at the bookstore.) This November is gonna rock in theaters! I might go to the movies twice a year, but with THOR: THE DARK WORLD, CATCHING FIRE, THE BOOK THIEF, and ENDER’S GAME all releasing in November, I might be going weekly. I used to collect THOR comic books (still have them), I’ve read The Hunger Games series as well as The Book Thief, and now I’m into Ender’s Game.

The old paperback that's been around the house for YEARS.

The old paperback that’s been around the house for YEARS.


Two nights ago, I started Ender’s journey from the beginning. I read books from beginning to end, from copyright page all the way through the dedication and to the author’s biography at the end. I love introductions and author’s notes and the introduction to the “Author’s Definitive Edition” of Ender’s Game published in 1991 was no let down. Orson Scott Card imparted reader/writer wisdom in a way that everyone can understand.

Here’s the breakdown of the main points that spoke to me:
1. A writer is always developing.
2. Simple writing does not equal weak writing. (One of the reasons I love children’s literature—it is powerful.)
3. Truth in fiction is what the reader learns about themselves while reading the story.
4. Writers bring the tools; the readers build the story in their own minds.

If you’re an avid reader or a writer—of any genre—I recommend tracking down a copy with the introduction and read it for yourself. It made me want to rush out and tackle my literary dreams as well as lose myself in a great book.

Speak Loudly

When I asked for ideas for a hundredth blog post, a friend thought I should have my hundredth on New Year’s Day. Sounds like a good plan, even though it means seriously kicking up my blogging habits. After all, I’ve been at it four years this month and only have ninety-three—now ninety-four—to my name.

But, as my previous post mentions, now is a time of reflection.

One of the changes in me this year has been vocalizing my opinions. This could be seen as good or bad, depending on your own ideals, but for me it has been freeing. If I merely listen to or read other people’s thoughts, I tend to obsess over the situation. But if I share my side, I am able to move on. It’s not about converting others to my way of thinking—the act of giving voice is empowering in itself. I’m shy and have held my tongue for most of my life but this year I found my strength. What I have to say is important—even if just to me. The people around me don’t have to agree, nor I agree with them, but each of our opinions is valid.

I’d like to apologize if I’ve come across as rude over any given topic, in person or in writing. I’m the first to admit my social graces are lacking, so please forgive me because I never mean offense. Discussion is open, so please tread respectfully. After all, differences make the world what it is—varied and beautiful.

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They Speak–I Listen

On my July 6th blog I coined the term “fantabutitus” and spoke of my always pleasant encounters with those I admire. Amid the telling I said:
I’m a dedicated fan, loyal to those who speak to me even when the spotlight has moved on to newer faces. (Speak to me? Yes, speak to me. I shall blog about that next time.) And the next blog happened weeks later, recapping my month spent hiding among literature while the house was over-run with nephews and nieces. Of which I need to add:

and

And then I posted a blog tag question game. Fluffy fun.
If you haven’t before, take a look at my profile and see the listing of my favorite authors/books, musicians, actors/movies, etc. Not the standard answers!
So, without further ado, I shall describe the Wonderlonian philosophy of what creates the fantabulous connection to the brilliant artists I esteem.
It’s my belief that each individual was born as a spirit child of a Heavenly Father and Mother before being born on earth. As such, we had a pre-mortal life, which is how I believe memories of “past lives” occur. If we were angels, for lack of a better term, watching over those already on Earth, then we might recall glimpses of events that occurred before we were born. Maybe we were even assigned people to watch over—only time will tell.
But as spirits waiting around in heaven to be born to Earthly parents, wouldn’t we have had friendships? We had to pass the time somehow. Maybe there were cloud bands and theater guilds and painting-by-star clubs or something. Suppose some of us were sent down to whisper muse-like into the ears of philosophers and writers. The possibilities are endless.
When I see a piece of art, hear a song, read something, or see a performance it either speaks to me or it doesn’t. Some voices and melodies are so familiar, I know I’ve heard them before. Some paintings I feel like I’ve lived in the landscapes of, in some other-worldly time.
There isn’t much in this world that I will say I “hate” or even “dislike”. My favorite response is “it’s okay, but it doesn’t speak to me.” I can’t say “it’s not my style” because my style (some will swear I have none) is all over the place musically, literary, artistically.
What better way to describe a connection to another soul than by feeling that you were friends before? The ultimate kindred spirits.
What’s your philosophy?