ramming into the back of the minivan with the autism awareness sticker like are you aware of me now sandra

WITNESS ME [totals my shitty honda]


#I didn’t actually laugh aloud but it still amused me enough to reblog #((this amusement not to be taken as expressing an opinion regarding the statement itself)) #autism



also there’s an important analogy I think needs to be made about clinical diagnoses of mental illness

Does everybody remember that post that was talking about how manatees were removed from the endangered species list, and then it was added that this wasn’t actually because their populations were increasing, it was just that their protections as an endangered species were removed?

It’s like that. Mental illness labels are like endangered species labels. They are both made up, they both describe something real to an extent, but the lines defining them can be very arbitrary. And they conceivably wouldn’t be necessary in a perfect world.

But just like the answer to manatees’ decline isn’t to take them off the endangered species list, the answer to mental health problems isn’t to do away with labels. Because—just like if manatees aren’t endangered anymore, we won’t be closely tracking all their populations and setting up wildlife refuges in important habitats and spending lots of money on educating boaters on how to avoid manatees—if we don’t have some way of “labeling” conditions, people won’t be able to easily access information that might help them and ask for the accommodations they need and connect with other people on the basis of shared experiences.

This goes for neurodivergencies too. It especially goes for them.

I know “autism” is a made up label, and to an extent arbitrary. But—do y’all seriously think the only benefit it’s given me is some kind of “identity” related thing?

Before I started reading online about autism, I did not know what sensory issues were. I had them, but I could not identify them. I knew that I would often be very exhausted after social events and would often become very upset and cry. I knew that sometimes eating was very hard for me, and my nutrition was bad. I knew that I hated going to certain things, but I couldn’t articulate why.

Without the “label,” I could not have described or even found out what was happening to me. As a kid I couldn’t tell you “I don’t like events that are loud” or “I don’t like certain kinds of touch” because I didn’t know that. I just knew that the world was scary and sometimes I felt awful and overwhelmed and there were some patterns but I couldn’t interpret them.

My parents didn’t seek out a diagnosis because of anything related to sensory issues either. I thought things were like this for everyone! I just didn’t know why I had to cry so much and be so irritable.

Like, shit, I’ve had a completely debilitating fear and hatred of doctors and medical procedures my entire life and I could never identify why, and I hurt and traumatized myself further not knowing it was an Autism Thing because I couldn’t communicate my needs or concerns because I genuinely didn’t know what they were. I thought everyone felt like I did! I thought when people joked about going to the doctor being unpleasant, they were referring to things like having recurring nightmares about it and shaking uncontrollably from being in a doctor’s office and feeling panicky from having a nurse move in their peripheral vision.

I hate when people talk about how excessively labeling neurodivergency is somehow stifling or oppressive. I need more words, not fewer. I don’t even necessarily believe that characterizing something as a ‘disorder’ is always bad. “That hurts” is a label and a characterization of something as wrong, and when I’m in pain I don’t want people to create a society for me where it’s okay to be in pain, I want someone to help. Things will still hurt in a world where everyone’s needs and feelings are okay! Sometimes they will hurt in non-normative ways! It’s not possible to completely eliminate the ideas of a “normative” way to experience distress!

Like, I think people have this idea that in a Perfect World, autistic people will be able to be like “yeah, I need quiet environments because I’m very sensitive to noise” and have that accommodated without a “pathologizing” label for it.

But when I was diagnosed and began to do research about my condition, I was able to buy clothes based on my sensory issues. I was able to start wearing earplugs to noisy environments. I was able to plan my activities around what would drain my processing energy and give myself adequate time to recover. I couldn’t have done anything like this before because I didn’t know what was causing me to suffer.

I still feel obviously, painfully Other to most people in social environments. I don’t know if that will ever go away. You can theoretically create a society where accomodations are freely available to everyone without “pathologizing” them, but how do you create a society where no one is Other even if their physical perceptions and entire experience of the world is different? How do you talk about sensory differences without labeling some experiences as different? How do you create a world where it’s okay to be autistic if “autistic” can’t be meaningfully differentiated from anything else?

Defining disability and mental illness based purely on accommodating people without labeling them assumes that people can articulate how they are suffering and what they need without “labeling” vocabulary for it. And I just don’t think that would work as well as people think it would.

Sensory overload doesn’t feel like sensory overload until you know what sensory overload is and how it might apply to you. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. It feels like coming home from a party and crying and feeling angry, or snapping at people when they try to ask you things, or just feeling nauseated and like your skin wants to crawl off when you’re sitting at the dinner table. Even if you know what sensory overload is, if you’ve never been able to directly and obviously associate your reactions with stimuli, you might not feel it applies.

I’ve struggled so much with my own experience of my body and world and how it’s different from other peoples’ experience and how to explain and identify things I feel and experience. But if I wasn’t able to label myself as autistic, I would not have recognized my suffering as suffering or fully understood that it was “suffering.” I would have just been anxious and exhausted in such a vague, unclear way that it would limit my life, and I feel sick at the thought of a society that would reassure me that it was “okay” to not want to pursue anything outside of my house without giving me words to describe why that was happening.

Sometimes you can’t tell you’re suffering because you’ve never felt anything better. It’s as if people assume there’s this level of feeling okay that everyone will successfully identify as how they could be feeling, and it’s just not true. Sometimes you can’t tell you’re suffering because youre so out of tune with your senses and emotions that you can’t identify something you’re feeling as worse or better than something else, or at least not outside of the immediate moment. Sometimes when you learn about a “label,” that’s the first time you realize, “Wait. Things can be different?”

Idk. I can’t vibe with the ‘labels r bad’ side of mental illness conversation. Labels are always going to be incomplete but they are also always going to be necessary, and they facilitate the process of asking for accommodations. The idea of eliminating “normal” and “abnormal” as categories of experience is appealing until you spend most of your life not knowing “abnormal” existed and just thought “normal” felt bad and difficult.


I truly believe that a decent chunk of the movable ground in what it’s like to experience being autistic (or otherwise ND) – in what could be improved about life for us – lies in the fact that we currently lack the language and concepts to describe and understand our experiences, which is necessary for e.g. developing coping methods and acquiring accommodations. Nobody is meaningfully helping us with this – ‘treatment’ for autistic adults barely exists, and ‘treatment’ for children is often worse than the ‘disease’. We need our language, however imperfect, to be unrestrained so we can begin to build ourselves functional enough to maybe one day come up with better language. In the meantime, whether or not they meaningfully and precisely carve up reality, our diagnoses are important for beginning to seek our own understanding, and necessary for getting the help we need.


#autism #the wondrous variety of sapient life #yes this #there have been so many things where having the language to describe my experience #and the awareness that *some* but not *all* people feel this way #has been incredibly important #long post


is there like. Theory. about the definition of the self through the objects we surround ourselves with? i feel so much more like Myself ever since i got my shirt again and i am curious what the philosophy side of tumblr has to say about it

Off the top of my head there’s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_mind_thesis, but that’s more specifically about using external computation/storage to augment your brain.

While I do get the part-of-me feeling most strongly with computers, I occasionally get it with other stuff too. I’m not sure how much of it is just an autism not-liking-change thing, but there definitely does seem to also be an aspect of “affirming my identity as the sort of person who would have X”.

(I’m sure that’s the holy grail of marketing, but I think it very much *can* be both natural and healthy. I absolutely endorse my desire to be the sort of person who would have a utility belt.)

Clothing can have additional aspects: I think the feeling I get from wearing my Girl Guide jacket primarily operates through some of the same mechanisms as weighted blankets, feeling more comfortable and confident when well-covered.


#philosophy #reply via reblog #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #clothing #transhumanism #autism

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A new Star Trek series but 90% of the dramatic tension comes from each of the characters believing themselves to be the Outsider archetype.

If YOU’RE the new Spock, and I’M the new Data, and HE’s the new Seven of Nine, and SHE’S the new Odo, and THEY’RE also the new Spock…. then who’s piloting the ship?!



Sometimes a family can be five autistic-coded characters flying a starship through space. 



Kermit Nod



A Vulcan, an android, an ex-Borg, a Founder, and an autistic human? I’m on board for that.

Seriously, I’m on board. I’ll make a self insert just for this show. :-)



And then when the bog standard Relatable Everyman character joins the cast he realizes that HE is now the awkward Outside archetype who makes humorous social miscalculations.



I can’t stress enough that the narrative must not present the Relatable Everyman as a relatable everyman. He is not the audience proxy, the de facto protagonist, OR the token normie. He is the Outsider and he is presented as such, and he gets special bittersweet episodes dedicated to exploring his attempts to figure out his place in his community.



‘Relatable Everyman’ doesn’t come on until S4, and all their attempts at humor and flirting and friendship making are jarring and confusing and uncomfortable. Their jokes don’t seem to land. All their social norms get chucked out the window. They spend a lot of time confused and alone until the benevolent crew deigns to try and teach the Everyman how to fit in.




I also want to emphasize that Mr. Everyman isn’t treated as a joke. He isn’t just some pathetic doofus among impressive titans who ends up the butt of every joke. The narrative must have genuine compassion for him and present his struggles with sympathy and optimism. His social accomplishments are celebrated but assimilation should not be the ultimate goal of his character arc; for as much as his differences cause pain and humor and complications, the crew comes to accept and appreciate that his uniqueness is valuable in its own way. Every now and then he has a particular quality that helps to save the day, but ultimately Mr. Everyman is part of the family and forcing him to change would be unthinkable.



1. Everyone on the ship engages in perfectly normal levels of social activity, which is to say, they work together and then they retreat to their quarters after work for solitary pursuits, or get together for one-on-one interaction, like playing a board game, because in the future everyone loves board games. The Neurotypical Outsider (NTO), an extrovert, tries desperately to get everyone together to play a game and is always trying to spend time with everyone off duty. Everyone politely blows them off because that level of social neediness is kind of embarrassing. The NTO shows signs of being deeply unhappy, maybe even depressed. The ship’s doctor discovers that extroverts literally require the presence of social interaction with others almost constantly to support their mental health. No one wants their friend to suffer, so they apologize for how they’ve been blowing off the NTO and agree that they will get together for a weekly board game as a group, and that everyone will try to spend at least half an hour socially interacting with the NTO after work every day. Also, the mysterious comet turns out to be a generation ship from an ancient race of aliens.

2. On a diplomatic mission, the aliens serve the crew a food containing a substance that is bitter to humans. The autistic human refuses to eat it on the grounds that it tastes awful, but the NTO bravely chokes it down and pretends to like it. The autistic human does not understand how this is possible and questions it, leading to the NTO admitting that they lied. Danger! It turns out that on this world, lying is a crime punishable by death! The NTO pleads that they were just trying to be polite, that where they come from refusing someone’s hospitality or admitting that their food is awful is incredibly rude. The crew present character witnesses of what a great person the NTO is and how they’ve been such a good friend and helpful crewmate. The aliens admit that they have never encountered the concept before of someone lying for the benefit of others; on their world lying is always assumed to be malicious and intended for selfish gain at others’ expense. The captain gives a beautiful speech about how every culture in this universe is different and we must make allowances for the differences of others in order to find wonderful friendships. The NTO is released. Everyone has learned an important lesson today. Also, the problem with the warp core is discovered to be caused by space squirrels that phase in and out of reality.

3. The NTO’s parents are diplomats and the ship is tasked with taking them to a conference. It turns out that they are even more extroverted than the NTO, loud-mouthed to the point where they freak out the autistic human who has perfectly normal sound sensitivities, who shouts at them in response and then they yell at the autistic human for shouting at them and cause a meltdown. They are vaguely racist to the Vulcan, condescendingly tolerant to the android, and outright blatantly racist to the ex-Borg. The NTO tries desperately to play all this off as if it’s harmless jokes or ignorance because the NTO loves their parents and does not want to suffer their disapproval, but is in truth utterly sickened by it. Finally the NTO musters up the courage to challenge their parents and tell them how obnoxious they are being and how they do not approve of this treatment of their crewmates and friends. This is as they reach the conference planet, so the parents flounce off in a flurry of “well I nevers” and entitled anger. This makes the NTO miserable, even though they know they did the right thing by standing up to their parents. Then the parents call from the planet to apologize for their behavior, but it turns out, they still have no concept of what they did wrong– they assume the problem is that the NTO has to work with “these people” so of course has to stand up for them because it’s not like Starfleet lets its officers pick their own ships, and they totally don’t get that the NTO was genuinely offended on their friends’ behalf. However, the NTO accepts this apology and doesn’t challenge it because they want their parents’ approval. Then they feel guilty, but the other members of the crew reassure them that they understand, because they are Starfleet officers and thus contractually obligated to have terrible relationships with their own parents. The episode ends with the crew telling the NTO amusing anecdotes about their own conflicts with their parents. Also, the aliens who have been trying to shoot the ship down as it goes to the conference location turn out to be highly advanced energy beings who were just testing the Federation’s commitment to peace.


#autism #story ideas I will never write #Star Trek #embarrassment squick #fanfic #oh look an update


A new Star Trek series but 90% of the dramatic tension comes from each of the characters believing themselves to be the Outsider archetype.

If YOU’RE the new Spock, and I’M the new Data, and HE’s the new Seven of Nine, and SHE’S the new Odo, and THEY’RE also the new Spock…. then who’s piloting the ship?!



Sometimes a family can be five autistic-coded characters flying a starship through space. 



Kermit Nod



A Vulcan, an android, an ex-Borg, a Founder, and an autistic human? I’m on board for that.

Seriously, I’m on board. I’ll make a self insert just for this show. :-)



And then when the bog standard Relatable Everyman character joins the cast he realizes that HE is now the awkward Outside archetype who makes humorous social miscalculations.



I think I’ve actually seen fanfics about the lone Human aboard a Vulcan science vessel and the humorous social miscalculations that resulted, but it’d be kind of awesome to see multiple autistic-coded species interacting with each other and then the token Normal Human. (And I think it’s very important that one of the autistic-coded people actually be an autistic human; let’s not accidentally suggest that only non-humans could possibly act autistic.)


#autism #Star Trek #story ideas I will never write #this isn’t the same thing but: #I read a story once about a universe where Bashir’s parents were caught before they could augment him #that universe isn’t *as* different as his parents would have expected #Jules grows and develops and in the end *is* capable of becoming (and does become) DS9’s chief medical officer #but he is still very much autistic and very much aware of what his parents tried to take from him #fanfic #(this is my fourth attempt to post this: it keeps freezing up when I hit ”reblog”)

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Amelia E Voicy Baggs 🌲💧❤️🏳️‍🌈 on Twitter

{{Title link: https://twitter.com/myceliorum/status/1249144979227901952 }}


Mel Baggs, a visionary autistic writer and advocate, has died. Mel was a pillar of the autistic community; ASAN, and neurodiversity as we know it today, would not exist without hir. We are heartbroken. Our thoughts are with Mel’s loved ones.

Over the last few years, Mel documented hir struggles with a service system that would not meet hir independent living needs. ASAN was working with Mel on this issue. It is a massive systems failure that Mel’s needs went unmet in hir last years. Sie deserved so much better.

We don’t know yet what caused Mel’s death. We do know that hir legacy will live on. Mel shaped the way our movement advocates for the rights of autistic and developmentally disabled people, and hir work will continue to do good in the world for decades to come. You can read Mel’s groundbreaking writing here and here.

Thank you, Mel. You will be so, so missed. Rest In Power.


#death tw #autism #the wondrous variety of sapient life #our roads may be golden or broken or lost #I hadn’t kept up with their work lately but I read a lot of their stuff in my early teens

here’s a story about changelings


reposted from my old blog, which got deleted:  

Mary was a beautiful baby, sweet and affectionate, but by the time she’s three she’s turned difficult and strange, with fey moods and a stubborn mouth that screams and bites but never says mama. But her mother’s well-used to hard work with little thanks, and when the village gossips wag their tongues she just shrugs, and pulls her difficult child away from their precious, perfect blossoms, before the bites draw blood. Mary’s mother doesn’t drown her in a bucket of saltwater, and she doesn’t take up the silver knife the wife of the village priest leaves out for her one Sunday brunch.

She gives her daughter yarn, instead, and instead of a rowan stake through her inhuman heart she gives her a child’s first loom, oak and ash. She lets her vicious, uncooperative fairy daughter entertain herself with games of her own devising, in as much peace and comfort as either of them can manage.

Mary grows up strangely, as a strange child would, learning everything in all the wrong order, and biting a great deal more than she should. But she also learns to weave, and takes to it with a grand passion. Soon enough she knows more than her mother–which isn’t all that much–and is striking out into unknown territory, turning out odd new knots and weaves, patterns as complex as spiderwebs and spellrings.

“Aren’t you clever,” her mother says, of her work, and leaves her to her wool and flax and whatnot. Mary’s not biting anymore, and she smiles more than she frowns, and that’s about as much, her mother figures, as anyone should hope for from their child.

Mary still cries sometimes, when the other girls reject her for her strange graces, her odd slow way of talking, her restless reaching fluttering hands that have learned to spin but never to settle. The other girls call her freak, witchblood, hobgoblin.

“I don’t remember girls being quite so stupid when I was that age,” her mother says, brushing Mary’s hair smooth and steady like they’ve both learned to enjoy, smooth as a skein of silk. “Time was, you knew not to insult anyone you might need to flatter later. ‘Specially when you don’t know if they’re going to grow wings or horns or whatnot. Serve ‘em all right if you ever figure out curses.”

“I want to go back,” Mary says. “I want to go home, to where I came from, where there’s people like me. If I’m a fairy’s child I should be in fairyland, and no one would call me a freak.”

“Aye, well, I’d miss you though,” her mother says. “And I expect there’s stupid folk everywhere, even in fairyland. Cruel folk, too. You just have to make the best of things where you are, being my child instead.”

Mary learns to read well enough, in between the weaving, especially when her mother tracks down the traveling booktraders and comes home with slim, precious manuals on dyes and stains and mordants, on pigments and patterns, diagrams too arcane for her own eyes but which make her daughter’s eyes shine.

“We need an herb garden,” her daughter says, hands busy, flipping from page to page, pulling on her hair, twisting in her skirt, itching for a project. “Yarrow, and madder, and woad and weld…”

“Well, start digging,” her mother says. “Won’t do you a harm to get out of the house now’n then.”

Mary doesn’t like dirt but she’s learned determination well enough from her mother. She digs and digs, and plants what she’s given, and the first year doesn’t turn out so well but the second’s better, and by the third a cauldron’s always simmering something over the fire, and Mary’s taking in orders from girls five years older or more, turning out vivid bolts and spools and skeins of red and gold and blue, restless fingers dancing like they’ve summoned down the rainbow. Her mother figures she probably has.

“Just as well you never got the hang of curses,” she says, admiring her bright new skirts. “I like this sort of trick a lot better.”

Mary smiles, rocking back and forth on her heels, fingers already fluttering to find the next project.

She finally grows up tall and fair, if a bit stooped and squinty, and time and age seem to calm her unhappy mouth about as well as it does for human children. Word gets around she never lies or breaks a bargain, and if the first seems odd for a fairy’s child then the second one seems fit enough. The undyed stacks of taken orders grow taller, the dyed lots of filled orders grow brighter, the loom in the corner for Mary’s own creations grows stranger and more complex. Mary’s hands callus just like her mother’s, become as strong and tough and smooth as the oak and ash of her needles and frames, though they never fall still.

“Do you ever wonder what your real daughter would be like?” the priest’s wife asks, once.

Mary’s mother snorts. “She wouldn’t be worth a damn at weaving,” she says. “Lord knows I never was. No, I’ll keep what I’ve been given and thank the givers kindly. It was a fair enough trade for me. Good day, ma’am.”

Mary brings her mother sweet chamomile tea, that night, and a warm shawl in all the colors of a garden, and a hairbrush. In the morning, the priest’s son comes round, with payment for his mother’s pretty new dress and a shy smile just for Mary. He thinks her hair is nice, and her hands are even nicer, vibrant in their strength and skill and endless motion.  

They all live happily ever after.


Here’s another story:

Gregor grew fast, even for a boy, grew tall and big and healthy and began shoving his older siblings around early. He was blunt and strange and flew into rages over odd things, over the taste of his porridge or the scratch of his shirt, over the sound of rain hammering on the roof, over being touched when he didn’t expect it and sometimes even when he did. He never wore shoes if he could help it and he could tell you the number of nails in the floorboards without looking, and his favorite thing was to sit in the pantry and run his hands through the bags of dry barley and corn and oat. Considering as how he had fists like a young ox by the time he was five, his family left him to it.

“He’s a changeling,” his father said to his wife, expecting an argument, but men are often the last to know anything about their children, and his wife only shrugged and nodded, like the matter was already settled, and that was that.

They didn’t bind Gregor in iron and leave him in the woods for his own kind to take back. They didn’t dig him a grave and load him into it early. They worked out what made Gregor angry, in much the same way they figured out the personal constellations of emotion for each of their other sons, and when spring came, Gregor’s father taught him about sprouts, and when autumn came, Gregor’s father taught him about sheaves. Meanwhile his mother didn’t mind his quiet company around the house, the way he always knew where she’d left the kettle, or the mending, because she was forgetful and he never missed a detail.

“Pity you’re not a girl, you’d never drop a stitch of knitting,” she tells Gregor, in the winter, watching him shell peas. His brothers wrestle and yell before the hearth fire, but her fairy child just works quietly, turning peas by their threes and fours into the bowl.

“You know exactly how many you’ve got there, don’t you?” she says.

“Six hundred and thirteen,” he says, in his quiet, precise way.

His mother says “Very good,” and never says Pity you’re not human. He smiles just like one, if not for quite the same reasons.

The next autumn he’s seven, a lucky number that pleases him immensely, and his father takes him along to the mill with the grain.

“What you got there?” The miller asks them.

“Sixty measures of Prince barley, thirty two measures of Hare’s Ear corn, and eighteen of Abernathy Blue Slate oats,” Gregor says. “Total weight is three hundred fifty pounds, or near enough. Our horse is named Madam. The wagon doesn’t have a name. I’m Gregor.”

“My son,” his father says. “The changeling one.”

“Bit sharper’n your others, ain’t he?” the miller says, and his father laughs.

Gregor feels proud and excited and shy, and it dries up all his words, sticks them in his throat. The mill is overwhelming, but the miller is kind, and tells him the name of each and every part when he points at it, and the names of all the grain in all the bags waiting for him to get to them.

“Didn’t know the fair folk were much for machinery,” the miller says.

Gregor shrugs. “I like seeds,” he says, each word shelled out with careful concentration. “And names. And numbers.”

“Aye, well. Suppose that’d do it. Want t’help me load up the grist?”

They leave the grain with the miller, who tells Gregor’s father to bring him back ‘round when he comes to pick up the cornflour and cracked barley and rolled oats. Gregor falls asleep in the nameless wagon on the way back, and when he wakes up he goes right back to the pantry, where the rest of the seeds are left, and he runs his hands through the shifting, soothing textures and thinks about turning wheels, about windspeed and counterweights.

When he’s twelve–another lucky number–he goes to live in the mill with the miller, and he never leaves, and he lives happily ever after.


Here’s another:

James is a small boy who likes animals much more than people, which doesn’t bother his parents overmuch, as someone needs to watch the sheep and make the sheepdogs mind. James learns the whistles and calls along with the lambs and puppies, and by the time he’s six he’s out all day, tending to the flock. His dad gives him a knife and his mom gives him a knapsack, and the sheepdogs give him doggy kisses and the sheep don’t give him too much trouble, considering.

“It’s not right for a boy to have so few complaints,” his mother says, once, when he’s about eight.

“Probably ain’t right for his parents to have so few complaints about their boy, neither,” his dad says.

That’s about the end of it. James’ parents aren’t very talkative, either. They live the routines of a farm, up at dawn and down by dusk, clucking softly to the chickens and calling harshly to the goats, and James grows up slow but happy.

When James is eleven, he’s sent to school, because he’s going to be a man and a man should know his numbers. He gets in fights for the first time in his life, unused to peers with two legs and loud mouths and quick fists. He doesn’t like the feel of slate and chalk against his fingers, or the harsh bite of a wooden bench against his legs. He doesn’t like the rules: rules for math, rules for meals, rules for sitting down and speaking when you’re spoken to and wearing shoes all day and sitting under a low ceiling in a crowded room with no sheep or sheepdogs. Not even a puppy.

But his teacher is a good woman, patient and experienced, and James isn’t the first miserable, rocking, kicking, crying lost lamb ever handed into her care. She herds the other boys away from him, when she can, and lets him sit in the corner by the door, and have a soft rag to hold his slate and chalk with, so they don’t gnaw so dryly at his fingers. James learns his numbers well enough, eventually, but he also learns with the abruptness of any lamb taking their first few steps–tottering straight into a gallop–to read.

Familiar with the sort of things a strange boy needs to know, his teacher gives him myths and legends and fairytales, and steps back. James reads about Arthur and Morgana, about Hercules and Odysseus, about djinni and banshee and brownies and bargains and quests and how sometimes, something that looks human is left to try and stumble along in the humans’ world, step by uncertain step, as best they can.

James never comes to enjoy writing. He learns to talk, instead, full tilt, a leaping joyous gambol, and after a time no one wants to hit him anymore. The other boys sit next to him, instead, with their mouths closed, and their hands quiet on their knees.  

“Let’s hear from James,” the men at the alehouse say, years later, when he’s become a man who still spends more time with sheep than anyone else, but who always comes back into town with something grand waiting for his friends on his tongue. “What’ve you got for us tonight, eh?”

James finishes his pint, and stands up, and says, “Here’s a story about changelings.”


#storytime #autism #my past self has good taste #fae #violence cw

data point




As a reader, I like worldbuilding, even (and sometimes especially) the expository parts. I read SFF because it’s the genre that most delivers that. It feels actively annoying when I have to sit through Plot that I’ve seen a million times before to get to soak in a world that I haven’t, or even to look at (say) extruded D&D fantasy in fine everyday detail with new eyes.

I feel like this should be obvious, but I still see, pretty regularly, appeals to authors to stop so much worldbuilding and focus on what obviously really matters to presumed readers, the story. I’m sure there are plenty of readers for whom that’s true! Good for them! But it’s not universal and we’re living in a long-tail world. Unless you’re right on the edge of being able to write full-time and writing to market means the difference between having a day job or not, don’t let The Average Reader become a sort of imperative-issuing Big Other. I would guess there are many more readers who love baroque expository worldbuilding than there are people who are really into, I don’t know, mpreg werewolf fanfiction, but there’s a thriving audience for that and more power to them, so don’t let them hog all the fun!


This can be applied more generally to showing-versus-telling, I think.  If you’ve got something that’s more interesting than the beat-by-beat progression of your yarn, you should tell us about it, rather than slicing it up into little pieces and embedding those pieces in the unfolding plot.

…but then again, I read splatbooks for fun, so maybe I’m not the best person to ask.

…but I’m probably not the only one who does that kind of thing.

Regarding “show don’t tell” – I went through books at an immense speed as a child. Real-life social interactions were mystifying, but books offered me all they lacked: they explained what was happening, why it was happening, what people felt when it happened, and how their reactions related to their feelings. It was a cheat sheet for human behavior, and it made little me more empathetic and interested in people even when my experiences with them were unpleasant.
When I encounter books that took “show don’t tell” to heart, they confuse and sometimes anger me. What do the characters mean by raising an eyebrow, or blinking slowly? Why are they reacting with anger here, and nonchalance there, and why do your other characters treat that as meaningful and informative?
It’s like dramatic face shots in movies, where the actors stare blandly at something and there’s emotional music and it’s obvious it’s supposed to convey something, but I never know what that is.
There’s a weird opposite phenomenon of characters reading facial expressions and narrating their readings “the look in his eyes told me he was deeply troubled by what he just saw” – they’re eyes! They’re orbs with lenses and people use them to see. How can you tell?
Obviously reading facial expressions is not magic for everyone. Still, I miss being catered to by writers allowing me to get a good view of the inside of character’s heads without having to throw up my hands and say “well I guess these people have reasons and emotions but I’ll never know which, thanks a lot”.


#re: OP: #yes this #I looked in the notes and found this branch #which is not *as* pure in its Yes-This-ness as the OP #but is interesting and definitely has its moments of relatability #(I distinctly recall going on a similar rant about ”the look in their eyes” in my early teens) #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #autism