Updates and Answers
Posting here or any writing progress at all has been halting and slow for a few years now. I have been open about my frustration at the lack of answers to new, severe physical and mental symptoms over those same years. I was diagnosed with autism, Chiari I Malformation, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Those diagnoses provided answers to several issues I have experienced my whole life. Still, they could not explain why I kept having what looked like myoclonus and dystonia episodes, involuntary movements or muscle contractions that pull you into odd postures, and cognitive impairments that seemed like the early stages of dementia with increasing frequency over the past decade.
I bounced between various neurologists, therapists, and a rheumatologist for almost three years now in search of answers until I was finally referred to the Movement Disorders Clinic at UAB last month. The neurologist I saw there reviewed all the imaging and tests run over the past few years, ran a few tests of her own, asked a series of questions, and finally diagnosed me with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).
Okay. Okay, this isn’t the usual content on here, but to be fair, I was still having trouble with focus when I started this project. I have since changed meds, and through the magic of lower side effects, I’m beginning to baby-step my way back into writing stories and articles. It’s still slow going, but I’m managing to scrape together the focus to make headway for a little bit most days. So this is likely to be the last Sims 4 Challenge for quite a while.
This one does pertain a bit more to fiction and writing than the Color Spectrum Challenge did, and it gives the player both a bit more wiggle room and a higher challenge than the last one. It is still based around 10 generations, each affecting the next, but each generation is based on a common character trope. Since tropes tend to have a fair amount of variance across genres and even within the same, you are provided with a few options to choose between here and there.
I had a lot of fun while playtesting this challenge. You can even find some of my families and the builds from that play-through on the gallery under Tekaran_Lady. (You may need to tick the allow custom content or modded items buttons. They don’t actually have any CC, but I had MCC Command Center, Wonderful Whims, and the Better Schools mods installed when I uploaded them. Why that automatically counts them as having CC, I don’t know, but it does.)
If you decide to give the challenge a shot, please let me know how it goes. Or if you post about your games anywhere, send links. I would absolutely love to see what you make of the challenge.
The “Not So Berry” challenge for the Sims 4 created by LilSimsie and AlwaySimming inspired this one. It has a similar structure, but I have tried to make it completely different at the same time.
Like the “Not So Berry” challenge, you have a backstory and several goals for each generation. Also, the generation heirs embody a specific color somewhere on the light/color spectrum. I decided to start with black, as the absence of color, and go through the visible light spectrum until the challenge finishes with white, a combination of all colors in the visible light spectrum. I wasn’t entirely sure where brown was supposed to fall, so I placed it just after black since that’s where it seemed to fit the best.
Thoughts on Own Voices
I began looking into the autism hashtags on Twitter in late 2018 and early 2019 between beginning to suspect I might be autistic and before seeking a diagnosis. Like most social media sites, Twitter uses algorithms to determine what to show you, even from the people you follow. So an interesting thing happened as I broadened my searches from just writing related topics to autism and ADHD.
Tweets and hashtags related to the own voices movement, most specifically those related to authors with autism and ADHD, began popping up in my feed. Before then, I hadn’t heard of such a thing.
Drivers Behind Fan Works
In a manner of speaking, many of the paintings and literary masterpieces we consider classics are fan works.
Shakespeare is well known for taking the work of other writers and improving upon it when crafting his plays. When you get right down to it, what are Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno but fan fiction written about the Bible? Many of the earlier novelists took inspiration from each other’s work, often borrowing heavily from one another.
Aside from portraits, what are the subjects of most of the famous Renaissance paintings we learned about in school? They either featured Bible scenes or scenes from Greek or Roman mythology.
The Dark Side of Creativity
I might not have had a lot of time to really dig into any creative projects or make much progress on the ones I'd already started over the past couple of years. But this doesn't mean I forgot about them.
Sad as it sounds, I kind of coped with this desire to create and little to no time to do so via Pinterest. I might not have had time to make something, but I could usually scroll through Pinterest for about five to ten minutes each night and pin some things I thought I'd find useful once I had a bit of time again.
I have boards full to bursting with prompts and pretty stitches or psychology articles and infographics. I have pins of various mythological creatures and stories, all types of herbs, medical knowledge, funny geeky things, and all sorts of other things. Whole sheets of words pinned when I was just starting to have issues with aphasia after decades of not noticing the "spells" due to a lack of speaking in general.
It's an odd mix mash for those who find my public boards, but I have found them a source of useful information and an endless source of inspiration. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to talk about today, so I started looking through. And I found this image.
Thoughts on Diversity
A few weeks ago, I talked a little about how I came to realize the way I experience the world isn't how the majority of people experience it. As a result of that particular journey and the things I learned along the way, I came to realize I had written at least two of my characters as autistic without actually setting out to do so. Having come to this realization, I had a choice.
Rewrite them to be neurotypical, which is another way of saying "normal," which in and of itself is just a way of describing how the majority are, or I could keep them as they were.
The thing is, I cannot really imagine either Pyrrha or Asa being any other way than how I have been writing them. Plus, for me at least, nothing has really changed about how I view either character. Both are still strong, intelligent, kick butt women. They have places where they struggle and places where they shine like anyone else. There's just a concrete, neurological explanation behind some of theirs.
Welcome back, dear readers.
It has been well over a year since I last posted anything here, but don’t worry. I’m not about to make a bunch of excuses for why posting fell off abruptly in late 2018. I’m not going to make promises about being better in the future despite planning to try and improve. I’m just here to sum up the year and state my goals for heading into the new year and new decade.
I had the opportunity to return to a favorite company in late 2018, one I loved working for before and to which I was excited to return. Although I returned to the same position I’d had thirteen years prior, the job was very different, as one would expect after so long of a time. The company had undergone some restructuring, and my old position had been merged with the old receptionist's position.
Have you heard all the hoopla surrounding Star Wars being bought out by Disney and all the new movies? Some are all for it, but others, including Mark Hamill have some... issues... with the new storylines. Why though?
Well, to get at the answer, you have to understand a few things about the Star Wars fandom and the franchise itself over the past thirty years or so.
I think we've all seen or heard the "tortured" artist trope at one time or another. It's no secret a high percentage of notable artists, be they writers, poets, musicians, painters, sculptors, or any other kind of artist, have or do suffer from a range of mental health problems. Because of this correlation between mental health problems and creative success, popular notions of creativity have come to romanticize them as part and parcel to creative genius.
I hate this notion so much! Even if there's some truth to it, it's a dangerous and irresponsible idea in so many ways.
A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and the home-schooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
77384 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Series Book 2
Sketched w/ Some Drafting
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4