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.
Being both a homeschool family and a bunch of creatives, it’s no wonder summer is a busy time for the lot of us when it comes to our personal projects. During the break the kids and I all take advantage of the extra time to pour a few more hours each day into the creative pursuits we work on throughout the year. So it also tends to be a time of skill growth as well.
This is always a good thing, though both girls have found it to also be a tad frustrating. You see, they have a talent for more visual arts than me, and both have been progressing quickly. This is developmentally normal given their ages and the leaps in fine motor control and abilities to understand and think through complex sequences. However, this becomes a bit of a problem when working on large scope projects such as the comic series one is writing and the animation and game design the other is pursuing. By the time they finish a leg of the project, the art they are producing no longer looks like what they did at the beginning.
People look at writing as a solitary pastime, and in many ways it is. However, the best parts of the writing community are anything but solitary, especially so nowadays with the internet connecting us with ease.
When I was coming up and just starting to seriously look into publishing back in the mid to late 90s, being able to find an author’s address or email address was huge. Even back when the only internet access I had was the once a month trip to my high school’s computer lab, I managed to find Anne McCaffrey’s address on her website and write to her. Aside from our school librarian, she was the first person to ever encourage the writing dream. I found the boards on her website, and some other writer’s boards besides, in the following year or two, and through them, I found mentors.
You can tell a lot about a person through their preferred art across the spectrum. Whether we are the ones to create it or not, aspects of our personality and thought processes influence the music, images, stories, and more we find ourselves drawn to throughout our lives.
I think we lose a lot when we remove artistic education from our curricula and skimp in areas where our children could explore the arts. Of course, there are arguments insisting different art forms can boost and bolster academic performance, but even looking beyond that, art and art education has much to offer kids and adolescents.
Today’s lesson is on another common form of figurative language, the hyperbole, and a literary device that is its polar opposite, understatement. The use of either one can add humor, impact, and variety to a literary work. Authors who master the use of both develop powerful tools to add interest to their work.
I returned to handling the science and English classes for my daughters back in January, and much has changed since the last time I taught them. However, one thing has remained constant. In teaching them, I learn, and relearn, lessons as well.
C.L. and I, with feedback we received from the girls, decided to go a bit more old school with their lessons a couple years ago. Neither girl felt they were absorbing the digital lessons, and we agreed. So aside from math, for which Khan Academy has been amazing for us all, we stick to textbooks and paper these days. This means C.L. and I have to spend considerably more time preparing for each class. However, it also means the girls have us to explain the material in however many ways they need us to explain it for their understanding.
Upon returning to homeschooling Nichole and Brooke in English and science, I've decided to broaden my scope for this series. Instead of simply sticking to grammatical rules, I will include simple primers on literary devices as well.
The elementary versions of these lessons will stick to explaining what the devices are and how to recognize and interpret them. The high school level classes published here on the blog will cover this as well while also speaking about utilizing them in your writing.
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.
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.
I wish I could say returning to writing after almost a year and a half of barely writing at all, aside from business correspondence, has been a breeze. Well, I suppose I could, technically speaking, but it would be a lie.
Truth be told, returning to writing and soaping has been difficult and rather frustrating. It isn't for lack of trying or a lack of desire to begin creating again. I'm just horribly rusty, so it's a bit like returning to a sport after sitting on the sidelines for a season or two.
Creativity, much like any other mental skill, has been compared to a muscle so much it has become a bit cliche. The thing about cliches though is they come to be because they contain an element of truth. "Use it or lose it" applies to mental skills the same way it applies to physical dexterity and strength.
In addition to working as a freelance writer, A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and a homeschooling 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