The vet called yesterday with the blood panel results, and Hobkin officially has a clean bill of health. The vet used such words as "great" to describe how the fuzzwit's numbers look and said we were doing a really good job with him. Yay!
This is a healthy skunk, so sayeth the vet:
Did research this weekend, lots for the novel and a little for my May Writing for Young Readers column (ack, I really need to crank that out and send it off already). Got on a roll on Saturday re: novel. My main concern is that I haven't got a solid feel for my main character yet. I've been loading up on clinical descriptions and case studies of autism and Asperger's, but I was still experiencing a sort of distance from her, when I really want to get into her head so I can understand who she is and what she's like, not just what she'll do.
Plus, I really want to like her too. I mean, I've written stories about characters who I didn't have that rapport with, but for a longer work like this, I think I need to have it. And really, the best stories I've written have been ones where I completely empathize with and know my protagonist. But in order to reach that level of awareness requires a certain intimacy and a thorough understanding of what makes her tick; I gotta be able to step into her head completely and seamlessly in order to be able to show who she is to readers.
And hurray, finally, finally, I came across what I've been lacking, an excellent first-person account of someone who has Asperger's--an inside look at an Aspie's feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and insights. And y'know, it made me wonder even more whether I might fall into the autistic spectrum myself. There was so much there where I found myself nodding along going, "yep, I grok it." It's by no means a new speculation for me, but it made me go "hmmm" even more.
And following that bit of reading and rumination, there was cat waxing.
Sigh. Well, at least it was productive cat waxing. Since the beginning of the year, with session and all, I've let my files get totally out of order. Normally my organization system is meticulous, but I had four months worth of contracts, correspondences, and rejections strewn around the house, scattered in haphazard piles in my office, lying where I'd opened them in the living room, and dumped in amongst the bills and receipts by an exasperated fosteronfilm (who doesn't know what to do with my sundry writing paperwork and is generally leery of moving it). Spent several hours sorting everything and filing documents in their proper places. Cheers for getting that taken care of. And now I have no excuse not to crank out wordage.
This story was inspired by the Suzanne Vega song, "The Queen and the Soldier," which, in turn, was introduced to me by britzkrieg. So bows to both Suzanne Vega and britzkrieg for their key roles in summoning my muse.
My son, Taz, is a high functioning autistic. You can read a little on him here:
(Man, do I need to update!)
His story (the about button) might be of interest. He doesn't have Asperger's but he is also ADHD. I couldn't imagine trying to get inside his head, though I do understand a lot of his limits now (crowds, lack of routine, a few other things).
Anyway, feel free to ask if you think it might be helpful. :)
This story was inspired by the Suzanne Vega song, "The Queen and the Soldier,"...
Oh my goodness. Parts of my first novel was inspired by that song. Great minds think alike!
Congratulations! And I am glad to hear Hobkin is doing well. I've been thinking about that little furr-ball.
Aww, I love me some Hobkin pictures.
Eugie, are you doing something with Asperger's for a story, or just doing a bit of light reading? Have you read Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime? It's fiction, but very insightful I think. We have several Aspie kids at my school, and I have a friend whose son is Aspie. I think I'm teaching an undiagnosed Aspie kid now.
See you soon.
"are you doing something with Asperger's for a story, or just doing a bit of light reading?"
The main character (teenage girl) of the YA fantasy novel I've just started writing has Asperger's. But also, autism and Asperger's has been an interest of mine for a while--that whole Developmental Psychology degree.
"Have you read Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime?"
No, I haven't! I'll have to hunt that down. Thanks!
"We have several Aspie kids at my school"
Approximately how old are they? And are they all boys? As I'm sure you know, boys significantly outnumber girls in the incidence of autistic spectrum disorders. But it means I've found a lot of data and information on boys with autism or Asperger's, but much less on girls. Likewise, I'm finding a lot of case studies of autistic/Aspie young children, but having a hard time finding ones of adolescents and adults.
We have an Asperberger's specialist at my school. I can ask her if I can give out her email addy if you'd like another source. I think all of the Aspie kids at my school are male, ages 10 to 14 or so. The one I have in my class right now is female, but totally undiagnosed. I broached the subject with her mom yesterday, so maybe she'll look into it over the summer.
As far as fiction goes... Oooh, I thought of another book for you (like you have time for that). You need to read Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark. The protag. is autistic if I recall correctly. Her son is autistic, so I think she tried to make it as true as she could make it. And of course, there's Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon, which is an oldie but a goodie.
It's not a dumb question at all. Asperger's disorder (aka Asperger syndrome) is a neurobiological disorder that's classified as falling within the autistic spectrum on the "high functioning" side. It's marked primarily by deficiencies in social skills, difficulties in comprehending nonverbal cues, and social isolation. Aspies also tend to evidence resistance to or difficulty with change and sensory integration dysfunction, either hyper- or hypo-, and some evidence savant-like abilities. More information, if you're interested, can be found at www.asperger.org.