I took a writing course last fall. I was hoping to gain insights into how to put all that I had blogged about in previous years, plus other Life on the Fringe experiences and lessons learned, into an entertaining and useful memoir. If you are looking for a funny and insightful memoir on autism NOW, I highly recommend the Journal of Best Practices by David Finch, which I just finished. Anyway, I was fully prepared and actually expected to be disappointed and to give up on this book idea after taking this course. But there I stood in front of my class at the end of November reading a draft chapter for a second time in a shaky voice, stifling tears, choked up by the emotion of baring my soul to potentially critical strangers, a few of whom are published and professional authors. Reading aloud into a microphone on a pulpit (yeah, only slightly nerve-racking was that) I became very aware of the heaviness of emotion that filled the room. As audience members dried their eyes, a classmate raised their hand to suggest that my story was one of “acceptance” and that he liked the concept that my husband and I were “lucky in our unluck”. A gem of feedback it was. Yes, acceptance is, was and always will be - yes! I turned to my writing prof, a veteran senior editor and well-published author with the brown corduroy jacket with elbow patches and exaggerated facial features of an 80 year old man to show it. I thought of this blog and told him, “but my blog was different. And it is the reason I considered putting this material into a book. My blog wasn’t as heavy as the material I have been reading in class that is making people cry”. I added, “it was more lighthearted and that’s the spirit that I want this book to have”. As he raised his hands behind his head, stretching back in his swivel chair, he plainly stated “Then you need to keep blogging. That is your community. That is your inspiration, so you must continue to blog. To keep that spirit alive”. Hmph. Not sure I wanted to hear that, for I have long ago abandoned my blog audience. (apologies to those reading and thank you for returning). But I knew he was right. The blog is my diary and my audience. And from my diary will come the memoir of acceptance (will I ever get there?). To add to this, a highly successful memoir author recently stated that we live in a real time world now. We can record memories and experiences in an instant online via a blog. There is no reason not to take advantage of this when writing a memoir. You don’t have to go back and try to remember the past, you can record it real time. OK, then. Here it is. The first entry of 2013 and not to be the last!
So in this entry should I sum up the last two years (do you have a few hours?)? Shall I set forth my new year’s resolutions with respect to my ASD son (that’s easy, be a better mom)? Shall I write about the here and now (let’s see, I struggle to decide whether to put my energy and time into a folly of a book or starting a consulting practice (probably even more folly)? I have put on a few pounds in 2012, oh yes, and it’s been a very rough 3 months with Finbar so we are seeking new behavioral therapies after 3 years off, sigh. I guess I can just sum it all up by saying that last night I sat in a new local bar in the company of two mom friends, both of which have high functioning kids in my school district close in age to Finbar. As we sat around, sipping cocktails talking about our kids and families and jobs (or my lack thereof), I realized that my life is not the only one on the fringe and that all three of us were in different phases of life on the fringe. We had all had ups and downs and knew that we would continue to do so, but were hoping that perhaps we would not. So halfway into my second vodka ‘n tonic with a twist of lime, laughing and commiserating with wonderful lady friends, I realized that yes, I am still living life on the fringe and in doing so would always be in good company and have an audience to share my experiences with J