Obsession

No, not the personal fragrance, but rather an aspect of life.

Many neurotypical people have obsessions.  I know this.

When an autistic person develops one, it is much the same. Except that for some of them? They don’t quite grasp that your head isn’t thinking the same way his head is. The idea that you aren’t as obsessed interested in this topic is inconceivable.

Today’s topic?  Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. A worthy cause.  But honestly? I cannot enumerate all the ways in which the pollution is evident.  My son, however, is reading up on the topic in magazines and on the Internet.

I love that he shows a natural interest in the world around him. I don’t mind talking with him about it – listening to his mind process things can be fascinating. But for me, this isn’t an obsession. (Viking invasions into Ireland? That’s an obsession for me!) It’s a topic of conversation.

And I am relieved when he lets me get back to my Vikings for a while.

This does not make me a bad mom. It makes me a balanced human being. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

Don’t wait for the Divine Afflatus

It doesn’t have to be a “divine afflatus” as the ancient Greeks might have touted.

It doesn’t have to wait for you to be “in the mood” or able to grasp an entire, heart-engaging scene.

Sometimes, writing is just plugging away. Like we do every day, all day.

I have domestic duties that involve changing the hand towel in the bathroom.  Getting dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. Sweeping the floors.  Straightening the cushions on the sofa.  Defrosting meat for dinner.

These little things are disparate, yet contribute to the whole that is a welcoming, warm home.  A totality of environment that I create and encourage in steps that I sometimes have to make myself take.

With a story, it can be much the same. Sometimes, the whole, beautiful concept is there and it’s inspirational and I lose myself in the wow-filled wonder of my own brain.

But often? It’s the sentence here, the sentence there. The working on more than one story. Making myself write out what the hero is thinking here, what the heroine is going to say, there.

But if you wait for it to be a “mood” or wait for “everything to be just so” – if you wait for that “divine afflatus” you might not ever finish what you’ve started.

The major masterpieces we’ve grown up with were written one word at a time. Sometimes, those words were hard-won.  Sometimes, they were agonized over. Sometimes, cherished authors growled into their manuscripts and felt like the book would never, ever make sense. They “lost” a voice. They experienced “writer’s block.”

But they didn’t quit. They kept at it. One. Word. At. A. Time.

Maybe today will be a creative whirlwind. Maybe it’ll just be a puff of breath. Just…write. Just breathe.

The words add up.  Really.

They’ll Teach You

Oops.

I forgot to do an Autism Post of the Day yesterday. Sorry.

I had a good reason. Okay, I had a few. “But then again, too few to mention…” (Cannot believe I’m having a Paul Anka/Frank Sinatra song on my site…)

Anyway. Part of the reason I wasn’t typing was because I was spending a lot of time listening to my kids.  Mostly my younger son, Medium-Sized Guy.  My older son, in the manner of young men in many places, doesn’t often voluntarily converse with his mother. *smile* But his little brother does and has been doing so an inordinate amount all during Spring Break.

And I finally figured out why this morning.

When things are different in my life, I often ask “What am I supposed to be learning, here?”  God, in his infinite wisdom, teaches all day, every day, and I am doing well if I can learn.  Lately, MSG’s verbosity has had me curious.  But like I said, I figured it out.

He was teaching himself to write a paper.

Now, he didn’t know that was what he was doing.  But I figured it out this morning.

For weeks, I have been trying to get him to understand why he has to write with more detail, the paper he has to write for his school. It is not a big paper – he’s in the fourth grade in an autism/behavioral learning class.  But it does need to be done and I am categorically not allowed to do it for him. Which I get.

But. It’s frustrating.

Today, though, I finally saw the light.  What has been his most prevalent communication all week long?  Video game explanations and tutorials that he has made up himself.  He guides me, the neophyte, into a notional understanding of his gaming universe.  He’s even made an iMovie about it on our computer.

I finally realized that this was how he needed to approach his paper. Treat it as an explanation. Write himself a script – and that will be enough for what is required for the project.  It will teach him something, will teach his readers/teachers something, and will serve as a building block for next time.

Whew! All week, it’s been right in front of my face.  I just wish I had figured it out, sooner.

But we’ve got it, now.

So pay attention to your children, be they neurotypical or not.  They’ll show you how best to work with them.

Have a super Friday!