Thursday, May 30, 2013

To Write a Word

When I started out on my writing journey back in 2005 I had no idea if anyone outside my dad when ever read my words. There was a thought though and that was, "If I write a word and no one reads it does it still matter?"

As I continued writing my book Finding Kansas I kept having that thought, in a way. I was writing simply for the sake so my dad could understand me a bit more, but at the same time I wondered whether or not my words would ever be read by just one other person because that's what I wanted; to simply be understood.

I've been tremendously busy this year and I feel my blog has slipped quite a bit. Also, I've wondered what the point is because what if no one reads it? Why go through the work (a normal blog post is usually several hours of pre-thought then the actual time to write it) if no one is going to read it?

There's a trap here; if a person wants to be read but doesn't start the work because they don't know if anyone will ever read the final product then, of course, they never will be read. Writing is a magical art form that allows you the reader to get a glimpse of another person's world. My goal when I started was just that and when I started I never envisioned the day someone else, a complete stranger in this world, would be able to buy, hold, and read my work.

The point I'm getting to today is I read something that brought me to tears today. It made me think back to all those nights I stayed up until sunrise writing about my life, my hopes, my dreams, and my fears. It was the boldest journey I ever took and today I read a review on I have no idea on if a review is shareable but I'm going to do so anyway because I don't know if I've ever been humbled and honored more than what I was when I read this:

I read a review where someone said the book was dull and does not deliver on its promise of enlightenment. I HAVE to believe that this person is a scholar looking very superficially for some sensational, spine tingling account and not someone who loves and Aspie and has first hand experience. My 15 year old son has Asperger's and he is exasperating, frustrating, exhausting, overwhelming and depressing. . .but not so much on the "spine tingling" for those readers looking for that type of thing. Having Asperger's is not thrilling or exciting most of the time. Aspie's are trapped which is a word my son has used for years but it took so long for me to understand that. Life is grueling for him in a way that is difficult to fathom. There are parts in this book that might sound melodramatic if you hadn't heard it from your own child's mouth for years. The question still remains: Why? Why does this or that upset you? Why do you feel this way or that way? It's still unclear to me but that is ok. Clever analogies like the one about he film reel goes further than anything else I've read or researched to help me understand my son.

Aaron's wish was that people would read this book and it would change them has been fulfilled. It does. It will. I don't know what else you could ever hope for but a book like this. I've read so many but none of them fit my son. This is the first book I've read that talks about a boy who looks normal, often acts normal, does not flap or have any tics, can likely make eye contact, is able to have riveting conversation, is super bright and talented yet is unable to function (get a degree, hold a job, have a relationship etc.) We used to say our son always "took it to the mat!" meaning that if he didn't want to do something there was absolutely, positively NOTHING you could do to make him change his mind. He would rather be punished, yelled at, spanked, and it seemed he'd even rather DIE than to do the one tiny thing you asked him to do. Why go through THIS much drama? Why take it to THIS level? For the sake of not sleeping on sheets? Or not bathing? What is the big damn deal???

Well we may never know what the big damn deal is, we can only know how it may feel to our son. If it will not cause him harm and it means that much to him then fine. Sleep on top of the comforter with another comforter over you. Personal grooming? We will keep trying but a Don Juan our son is not. LOL. This book offers the very MOST you can ever know about Asperger's! Somehow Aaron has found a way to get it out and let us in and I am so grateful.

Credit to Aaron's father as well for understanding so much, so fast (or at least faster than my husband and I). Reading this book, particularly the parts about hating school and the father's dependence on the "--But your son is soooooo smart" comment to help ease the blow of all of the negative comments made about his son's behavior rang so true that it begs the question. . . .why does it still take SOOOOOOOOOOO long to diagnose Asperger's in kids when their experience seems to almost form a pattern that should be more obvious?

Finally, I am glad that my husband and I have been able to accept our son for who he is and rather than force him in to uncomfortable situations because we ourselves do not find them uncomfortable (and we think he shouldn't either), we are able to use the past as a template for living and pay close attention to body language in order to avoid meltdowns. What I mean is that rather than try to cajole, force or train our son to enjoy or participate in things that are "fun" for others but create overwhelming stress for him--we simply AVOID those things whenever possible. After reading this book you will understand that this is a small kindness rather than a weakness in parenting a kid with Asperger's.

To the reviewer I don't know if you read my blog, but let me say this if you ever do; thank you! This is exactly what I needed to keep my passion fueled up. I've been feeling tired the past month or so and wondering if this is my true calling in life but once again I know there is nothing else that I could be doing more important than this so thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Have you heard this statement before? "Those who can, do. Those who can't, review." There is much more truth to this than reviewers and critics like to believe. I used to run a jazz website where I would listen to and review albums from new and established artists all the time. I quickly decided that I needed to follow the old chestnut, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." It didn't mean that I would lie or make up nice things to say. What it meant was, in almost every instance there was always something positive to point out.

    Another bit of advice I'd give to people who are doing what you're doing, whether it be a blog or a podcast or anything that reaches out to the public forum, would be to take the advice of Hollywood director Kevin Smith. He highly advocates that every person in the world has a blog or podcast in them but the only way to be "successful" is to do it for yourself first. Do what interests YOU or makes YOU happy, and success will follow. If you put too much stake in reviews or number of followers you might actually miss the fact that one person was truly affected by what you wrote or said.

    You have a great blog Aaron, and I look forward every day to seeing if you have a new entry. And, believe it or not, I can empathize with most of what you write about because ultimately you're not writing about having Autism, you're simply writing about the human condition as one person experiences it. Keep it up and don't ever worry that someone doesn't "get it."

    By the way, have you ever considered doing a podcast concerning navigating the world with Autism? I've been tossing that notion around my head lately as I listen to several of my weekly podcasts.