January 15 Weekend Odds – Blogs and Cats

I’ve pretty much pulled out of the post-election slump, so things are picking up. Life goes on, though I think I will be spending the next four years in a state of outrage and disbelief.

I did, finally, start a blog about Asperger’s and the autism spectrum. Spent a good deal of time mulling it over, and defining exactly what I want to accomplish and whether I can keep it up long enough to be of use. Two posts and an About, so far. I’ll probably post only about once a week because I’m determined that it isn’t going to be another straw on my shoulders. Anyway, it’s Disorderly Minds, if anyone is interested. Sidebar and other stuff to be developed as I have time and inspiration.

For the first time since I started writing Bentham’s Dream I feel that I have a good grasp on it. Changing to first person was what did it, and giving the protagonist a distinct point of view that reveals more about him than what I originally intended.

I just began the sign-up with Apple’s iBooks so I can publish there. Gad, what a process. You’d think they were making sure of the nation’s security. For some reason, they couldn’t verify my additional information after I registered, so I have to wait, possibly for days, to find out what information they’re talking about and what to do if it’s giving them a problem.

On the home and hearth side, I’ve been pondering, almost since I moved, whether to get a cat. My Lizzie died a few years before the move, so this is probably my longest period in years without a fur ball. Several things have been standing in the way — carting cat litter home (though I can either order from Amazon or get son #2 to do it for me) and the usual litter box hassles. And my age. If I get a young cat, she’ll undoubtedly outlive me and son #2 will have to adopt. He’s been bugging me about it, threatening to find a cat and drop it off at my door. I’m hoping to find an older cat that would like a nice quiet home.

One of the thrift stores we went to the other day was the one the Humane Society runs, and they just happened to have cat dishes and other goodies, and a nice litter box, very cheap. Guess what? I’m now the proud owner of a litter box. It’s a start. I’ll get the rest of the necessities, but won’t pick out my fur ball until next month. It’s a big investment — $80.00, but that includes worming, vaccination and spaying. Much cheaper than paying a vet for all that. Even looked up dangerous plants for cats, and now have to figure out how to keep my two peace lilies out of paws’ reach.

So it goes.

Aspie Writer — Too Much Big Picture

For the last few months, I’ve been scribbling bits and pieces of a story that has been developing slowly, mostly in my mind. I mentioned it in an earlier post: SF somewhat along the lines of Childhood’s End, but very different. Aliens observe earth and have to decide what to do about the danger of humans to the rest of the universe. It will reflect my unashamedly negative view of my species, and the aliens will be, in effect, my mouthpieces for a broad view of what we are doing to ourselves, the earth, and, potentially, any planets we might discover. Although, fortunately, the chance that we will ever travel much further than we already have is decreasing by the year.

There are two, seemingly contradictory, autistic traits that can be the making of a writer. First, is the obsessive way in which you can focus on a topic of interest until you’ve exhausted it. Second, is the tendency to do that with many, many topics. The pattern can be established very early, but may not be recognized until well into maturity.  What you recognize, at some point, is that you have developed a bird’s-eye view, a big picture view of connections between topics that, to most people, seem to have nothing to do with each other.

It’s a slow, cumulative process: acquiring, sometimes in a very casual way, knowledge of topics that gradually reveal their relationships. What does the almost hysterical excess of words about the deaths of a couple of movie and music celebrities have to do with the current political situation in the US? And by extension, with climate change? A neurotypical person (that’s most of you out there) will shake your head. Some of you might see some of the connections, but they won’t capture your attention for more than a few moments. The media parade moves on and you will move with it, victim of your brain’s distractibility and forgetfulness.

It is that characteristic of the typical human being that determines what my aliens will do. It’s that characteristic that supports my writing, and drives me to despair about the future of our species.

Cogitating about Aspergers and Maverick Writer

There’s been plenty of cogitating since I wrote yesterday’s post, and for those of you who notice patterns, you will probably be expecting a few more in this daily run and then an extended silence. The inevitability of the extended silence assured me that starting another blog in order to discuss being a writer with Aspergers would be a very bad idea. There isn’t much energy to spare for the already-existing projects, and I doubt that the subject could be (or should be) dragged out indefinitely.

The solution is a header for Aspergers posts–Aspie Chronicles, maybe?–so readers who aren’t interested can skip right over them. Aspie Writer? Okay, that’s more informative. For new readers unfamiliar with the term Aspie, I’ll probably explain it briefly every now and then. It’s just a nickname that some of us use–and that some of us hate.

Science fiction is very often an interest of people on the autistic spectrum, and since this blog has moved in that direction, expect some more cogitating–about how nontypical thinking might be an advantage to someone who writes science fiction.

I’ve never “come out” as an aspie, except on a couple of autism/aspergers forums which quickly grew too boring to hold my attention. In all my years on the internet, no one has ever asked me if I’m on the spectrum or suggested that I might be. It hasn’t really mattered, as far as I can tell. I keep my private life to myself, and generally don’t identify as either male or female on the web. Some people respond to my writing as if it’s by a male, so maybe it does make some difference. I don’t know whether that’s due to voice or my preference for analysis and logic.

When they’re relevant to my writing, I’ll mention or discuss some of my personal quirks and peculiarities, but there won’t be an Aspergers biography. My readers won’t be subjected to yet another confessional. I don’t do confessionals. I don’t even read them, as a general rule. For one thing, most of them vary only in the details, otherwise being typically human and thus, eventually, predictable and boring. I suspect that isn’t a normal response since autobiographies and confessionals never seem to fade in popularity.

 

Thinking about Aspergers

As usual, a jumble of apparently unrelated topics has been weaving itself together in my racing brain. And, as happens now and then, even though I think I’m through with the topic, it comes down to Aspergers. Because, yes, I’m on the autistic spectrum — specifically at the high-functioning end of what used to be called, officially, Aspergers Syndrome. With a swipe of its powerful arm, the latest incarnation of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) shuffled all us aspies off this mortal coil and decreed that henceforth we are merely autistic.

I say merely, not because autism is somehow a more shameful or disgraceful condition than Aspergers, but because so many aspies believe it makes differentiating between the functional and less functional members of the autistic spectrum that much more difficult. Practically, there is no solution to this dilemma, which has become highly politicized, and I choose to stay out of it.

However, there are good reasons for me to be slightly more concerned about adults with Aspergers than with other age groups or levels of neurodiversity, as the whole ball of wax has come to be called. After all, I’m a member of that group and have been affected by it on many levels all my life, even before I knew there was such a condition. Because of the way that a new insight about my brain and its functioning dropped on me recently, I am once again considering whether to start a blog about elderly aspies (having given up on it a couple of times) or just talk about it here when it’s relevant to writing and creativity.

What led me into this post was thinking about early influences on writers and remembering that I scoured the fairy tales and folk tales section of my junior high library, reading every single book in the collection. Before I was finished I had already recognized that the stories, no matter what country or part of the world they come from, fell into a number of patterns. It wasn’t a particularly meaningful insight at the time, but it was interesting enough to stick in my memory for all these years, available to be brought to awareness with the right trigger.

I won’t pursue that further right now, except to say that I reached a point in my life when I understood that pattern recognition had always been an important part of my thinking. Later on, I learned that it was also one of the “symptoms” of Aspergers.

And there I’ll live it for now, to ponder further.