Showing posts from December, 2021

What a Performance

Here's the thing. If they ever thought about it, most people who know me might say that because I'm quiet or reserved, shy, don't make a lot of noise in groups or anything  — aloof or secretive as the people who don't like me might put it – that I would also not want to stand up in front of a load of people and talk or perform. Oddly (they might think) the reverse is actually true. For example when I was working as part of the user facing section of a department at a university every autumn the Welcome Talks would come round where we'd have to take turns to deliver a "welcome to our services" talk to a large lecture hall full of freshers. My colleagues — who were as a rule all more social and gregarious than me (I still remember that brief moment when I ended up standing there with no-one talking to me while all around people were chatting in groups at my own leaving do ) — all dreaded it. I was absolutely fine. No, more than that, I actively looked forwar

A Year In Novels

“This will be my year!” That’s a mantra I often used to hear people repeat on New Year’s Day. Probably trying to exercise the power of positive thinking. Fair enough, I say. In the end sometimes it was their year and sometimes it wasn’t. Personally I don’t remember having “a year” or even thinking that in particular – I was cautious about tempting fate. But this year – finally – I was ready to hope for “my year” as my debut novel was due to be published. The release date had already been put back twice due to the pandemic but I was sure that 21 January 21 was an auspicious date for it to finally be released upon the world. I hadn’t counted on the pandemic coming roaring back stronger than ever and us all being in lockdown again. Of course being confined to our homes isn’t nearly the drawback it would have been in the past. People could buy the book online  from all the places people normally buy books. However, I suspect having to rely on online only promotion and sales meant slightly

The Selfishness Paradox

It turns out that there are a number of very real autistic traits which are not "textbook" at all – in other words recognised by mental health professionals in the official literature – but nevertheless are very familiar to anyone who has experienced them. None of these are official diagnostic criteria, but they are nonetheless real. When I was part of a group of autistic people who met regularly to share our experiences we discovered several of these that we all had in common but which hadn't even occurred to the group's NT facilitator. One was an aversion to the overuse of names in conversation. It's fine when there's a group of people as of course you need to be able to know who is being addressed but when it's one to one it just feels... unpleasant and sinister. No matter how illogical that may actually be. Another of these non-textbook traits is what I think of as the Selfishness Paradox. During our group discussions we all discovered that we had a te