baby steps

*ahem*

hi.

i do in fact still exist. i am attempting to attend class and do my homework and eat and sleep. it is…challenging.

today, all i have to offer you is basically: i got a twitter account

i’m vaguely incompetent at using it. but i am truly excited for when all ya’lls who follow this blog just for like, autismfeels, finally discover exactly how far to the left my political inclinations run. and how utterly terrible my sense of humor is.

it is cold.

my wrists/hands are cramping up again.

i am a tiny frail robot.

adieu.

a look back

i’m feeling inspired by jess’s post this morning, which includes part of a writing assignment her 13-year-old (NT) daughter “katie” recently did for school. back in the day, creative writing was pretty much the only writing i was (semi) consistently capable of. there is a lot of it. and it’s all very…my-brain. in particular, there’s one short (short!) story i wrote a little bit after i turned fifteen that i think was one of the first really concrete, socially validated examples of how incredibly not normal my experiences of thinking and of the world around me actually were. so i figured i’d share it here. 

“discombobulated”

The night was lonely and sweet lights outside my windows weren’t enough to soothe my dry eyes. The word discombobulate echoed sneakily behind car horns and train horns and the smooth sound of a fountain.

I’d tried earlier to sneak downstairs, and had gotten as far as the windowsill in the kitchen before the golden streetlamps came on. The light had flung me against the far wall, and my own shadow frightened me back to my room.

I had spoken “Discombobulate” earlier, as a secret to my traitorous pillow, but the syllables escaped. I hadn’t known what I was getting into, the damage a stray word could work. I needed a dictionary, another thing that slept however restlessly downstairs. Again I crept slowly. I snatched the book and turned away from the window. A sallow yellow brick road had crept from behind my bedroom door; I caught it and ran back to bed.

Discombobulate: -lated; -lating [prob. alter. of discompose (how ugly)]: upset, confuse <Inventing cool new ways to ~ the old order — Kurt Andersen> — discombobulation.

Discombobulate was more difficult than his synonyms. The word itself was a lesson in handsome uncontrollability. For some reason, whenever I’d thought of it, Discombobulation separated the head from the body, like decapitation, but less violent. Sweeter. A sort of heady headlessness.

Now I had set Discombobulate free on an unsuspecting city. Havoc would be wreaked. Even now he probably stood, cigarette stuck in his mouth; that pale space between the “i” and its dot, out in some alleyway getting ready to <invent new ways to discombobulate the old order – Kurt Andersen>. I doubted we were ready for Discombobulate and his Virginia Slim. We didn’t have the time to fall in love with a word, to experience the heady headlessness. The world moved too fast.

I had to recapture him, and though I didn’t doubt my imaginative abilities, I had to admit, adventure/noir had never been a strong point of mine. I decided to dream. Dreams take realness and break it down into its pieces, mix them up and make another world. Or at least mine do. Discombobulate would be there, and I would be able to do whatever I needed to do to catch him.

My eyes closed.

I slept onto my dream bike (What? You drive a Hummer to dream?), and slipped away, pedaling slowly, scanning the side streets for my chain smoking, delinquent syllables.

I pedaled down to the river, through the short squatting buildings of the Industrial District. Warehouse and Dock sat on a bench facing the Willamette, grimy and smelling of fish and duct tape, beers in hand, but when questioned, said they hadn’t seen a thing. I sped away to try and catch a bridge downtown, but stopped when Boulevard flagged me down at a stop sign, and offered his information for a croissant.

We split it. He said he’d seen a gentleman in need of a good shave materialize letter by letter, a block or two south of Division, and then asked if I wanted to dance. I had to turn him down, but the thought made me smile.

I thanked him profusely, but he just twirled his moustache and walked away. I jumped back on my bike and sped off down the street, pedaling down four blocks and hanging a hard left. I finally found him sitting on a bus stop bench on Clinton, the number 10. I parked my bike around the corner and out of sight, and walked over to sit next to him. It was past midnight, but I hadn’t noticed before.

“Hey you.” He said wearily

“Hey yourself, what’s a guy like you doing out at this time of night?” I asked sweetly.

“Upsetting, confusing, the usual.” He winked at me, and then stubbed his cigarette out on the bench by his knee.

“Sounds interesting, I guess”

“Sure, but at this time of night Honey, there ain’t anyone out to confuse.”

“Yeah, I would imagine anyone out at this hour would be moderately to severely Discombobulated already.”

He turned around to face me when I spoke his name, his arm resting on the back of the bench, putting another cigarette to his lips and fishing in his pocket for the lighter. Sadness touched the corners of his face.

I sighed “They’re not ready yet. You’re too…..distracting….”

“And to think that I was getting all excited.” He grinned. He’d known I was coming.

“You have to come back…”

“Shucks”

“Yeah”

The lighter flashed and the air in front of him glowed.

He winked again, and then leaned back into the bench.

“All right, amiga”

I leaned over and kissed him lightly on the cheek, and he was gone.

I wasn’t ready to be discombobulated either, even if he was dashing.

the end.

[[for the curious folks: i don’t inherently think of words as people in my head. it’s more that i think of words and people using the same sensory vocabulary in my head, so translating from word to person is very easy for me (the same is true for most objects, entities, ideas, etc.)]]

Copy of emmahi8[1]

This is a photo of me probably a month or two before I wrote the story in question–I’m sitting at a train station in Germany waiting for the train with my German host sister, her best friend, and her best friend’s boyfriend. Said boyfriend was something of an aspiring photographer, and carried his camera around with him, and snapped this while I wasn’t paying attention. In the picture, I am really tired and kind of homesick, because I don’t really get along with my host sister. This is generally a very teen-angsty time in my life–though it’s important to note that I had pretty good reasons for being angsty.  

autism, changelings, wild children, ogbanje and abiku

To continue my foray into the magical changeling fairy-tale world that Dani Alexis currently hangs out in, I can offer up some fun citations of my own that I culled from my giant, completely disorganized folders of sources. I found most of these back while I was researching either disability in literature/history in general, or the specific figure of the “wild child” (as in Victor of Aveyron, etc. etc.) in Romantic and Victorian philosophical works about language and species.

General bits on changeling myths, disability/abnormality in the Middle Ages, and “wild children”:

Eberly, Susan Schoon. “Fairies and the Folklore of Disability: Changelings, Hybrids and the Solitary Fairy”

Wade, James. Fairies in Medieval Romance (Chapter 1): Fairies and Humans Between Possible Worlds

Bruhm, Steven. “The Counterfeit Child”

Laes, Christian and Katariina Mustakallio. The Dark Side of Childhood in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Chapter 3): Disabled Children in Gregory of Tours

Laes, Christian and Katariina Mustakallio. The Dark Side of Childhood in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Chapter 5): Sons of Demons? Children’s Impairments and the Belief in Changelings in Medieval Europe (c. 1150–1400)

Mitchell, J. Allan. Becoming Human: The Matter of the Medieval Child (Chapter 1): Being Born

Miller, Sarah. Medieval Monstrosity and the Female Body (Chapter 2): Gynecological Secrets

Seshadri, Kalpana Rahita. HumAnimal–Race, Law, Language (Chapter 5): The Wild Child

Wiseman, Susan. Writing Metamorphosis in the English Renaissance 1550-1700 (Chapter 5): Transformation rewritten? Extreme nurture, wild children

Berger, James. “Falling Towers and Postmodern Wild Children: Oliver Sacks, Don DeLillo, and Turns against Language”

Bits discussing ‘abiku’ and/or ‘ogbanje’ children–changeling-esque figures from Western African literary/cultural traditions:

Barker, Clare. Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor and Materiality (Chapter 5): ‘Redreaming the World’: Ontological Difference and Abiku Perception in The Famished Road

Barker, Clare. Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor, and Materiality (Chapter 4): The Nation as Freak Show: Monstrosity and Biopolitics in Midnight’s Children

Ogunyemi, Chikwenye Okonjo. “An Abiku-Ogbanje Atlas: A Pre-Text for Rereading Soyinka’s Ake and Morrison’s Beloved”

Okonkwo, Christopher J. “A Critical Divination: Reading Sula as Ogbanje-Abiku”

McCabe, Douglas. ‘Histories of Errancy: Oral Yoruba Àbíkú Texts and Soyinka’s “Abiku”’

Bits about “recognition” and intersubjectivity in the context of literary theory (these all are theorists who are extremely critical of the idea that direct, intuitive knowledge of others is a “natural human ability” in any way):

Yousef, Nancy. Romantic Intimacy (Introduction): Ethics, Literature, and the Forms of Encounter

Yousef, Nancy. Romantic Intimacy (Chapter 2): Knowing Before Loving: Rousseau and the Ethics of Exposure

Izenberg, Oren. “Oppen’s Silence, Crusoe’s Silence and the Silence of Other Minds”

Yay! I like sharing sources. A lot. Can you tell? Is it noticeable? Maybe a tiny bit?

Nerd away, y’all.

autism science comedy hour (the sequel)

after battling mightily with a number of really priceless (i.e. terrible) autism science articles, i eventually gave up on critiquing them for this post. in most cases, it’s because the experimental procedures these people made up are actually so convoluted and nonsensical that i doubt my ability to accurately describe them (without actually putting everyone to sleep). so instead, i’ve decided to go for a more succinct, pithy tone in this second installment. below, i will show pictures of article titles and/or abstracts from PubMed (all from within the last year). and then i will make fun of them.

 

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 6.48.37 PMHere is where my sassy commentary would go, if I actually needed sassy commentary to make fun of this title. In this case, however, it pretty much speaks for itself.

 

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 6.48.47 PMM, I found more material for you! Whenever someone writes “[x] may involve significant risk factors requiring thorough investigation” there’s some alarm system in my brain that instantly gets set off…and sends me to sleep. Sometimes I feel like Medical Hypotheses is the National Enquirer of medical journals.

 

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 7.04.26 PM To the person who designed this experiment: You’re an asshole.

 

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 7.04.54 PMI love it when scientists/psychologists try to make some distinction between things that are “emotional” and things that aren’t. Like…have we all forgotten any and all definitions of what “emotions” are? Also, what makes an inherently emotional scene? This sounds like just another experiment trying to test and see if people who are different also have feelings that are different, so that they can tell the different people that their different feelings are wrong. Oh. Wait. That’s exactly what this is.

 

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 7.00.38 PMI just laugh at this, because the alternative is to scream like a banshee, because this was apparently published in Science, for reasons I truly fail to understand. But anyways. Seriously. The degree of obliviousness needed for someone to write this article title and submit it to a prestigious journal without realizing how inherently absurd it sounds…is astonishing. It says a lot about how ingrained the “mind reading” doctrine is for some developmental psychologists: they actually no longer understand how funny it is that they spend all their time researching “mind reading.”

 

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 6.49.01 PMOne last, lighter bit to end things with. Because this is actually funny. Like. It’s funny that someone had to first establish what the “normal, human” way to explore a dog’s face supposedly is. It’s funny that they’re like “Oh, shit. Autistic people can’t even look at dog’s faces the right way!” It’s funny that they consider dog-face-reading a part of the “cerebral specialization of social functions.” But the funniest part, to me, is that now we truly can sit around and watch to see how many different items, species, and pictures they need to observe us observing before they finally figure out that we just look at shit differently in general.

that’s all for now folks! enjoy.

fret not

i am in fact still in existence. i just moved across the country (to go back to school). and having unpacked, organized my room (which is quite lovely) and had some actual social interactions…i have been sleeping (with a few breaks for food) for like almost two days straight.

i will post soon though.

sometime.

have i mentioned that i hate transitions? because i hate transitions. like a lot. so like, right now i’m still in the process of making all the things around me concrete enough that i’ll be able to make intelligent decisions about them. like food. i need to make the existence of food in specific locations at specific times concrete enough that i’ll be able to get myself to stop doing things to go and eat. i may not succeed, but thankfully i may be able to get accommodations that will help me get food easier than that.

anyways. stay tuned. for me saying words. later.