Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Encouragement to Write


I wrote a fan E-mail the other day.

I told you how much I enjoyed reading Nora Raleigh Baskin's book Anything But Typical. Since writers are now listing websites and other means of contact on their book jackets, it made it fairly easy to find her.
Just had to say how amazed I was with her ability to get inside the brain of an autistic teenager and to have him speak to us in "our language." Absolutely captivated me.

Well, she wrote me back, which was awfully kind. I wasn't really expecting anything, and the part of me that might have expected something was expecting one of those pre-packaged thank-you's. (Who has time to write thank-you's to readers?)

No, she was sincere, and she was grateful to have someone take the time to find her and to acknowledge her work. Her thank-you was a warm, fuzzy start to the day, as if her book hadn't touched me enough.

* * *

Speaking of the book, I have to share this wonderful story from the book. The lead character, Jason, is attending a special writer's workshop. He is nervous about being in the class with "neurotypicals." But, as the instructor begins his talk, Jason finds that the instructor is speaking his language. [Quotes are directly from Nora Raleigh Baskin's book, Anything But Typical]


The course instructor asks a question.

"What is the most important part of a writer's body?"


A woman answers, "Their heart."

"Good answer...but not the one I am looking for. Not the most essential. There are lots of writers with no heart at all."

Other answers come in: hands, brain, fingers, eyes, ears.

Then Jason prepares to speak.

"So I jump out of my seat. I stand up. And all those things are loose inside me, like letters of the alphabet that have no meaning until they are all put together. In one particular way that no one else can do. In one moment. In one voice. That is mine."

"'My bottom!' I say out loud."


"And it gets very quiet in the room. Everyone stops calling out answers, and they are all looking at me the way they do in school sometimes, just before everyone starts to laugh. Like in art class, and in gym class. Not the nice kind of laugh...."

"But Hamilton, the dwarf teacher, says, 'Exactly!'"

"He points right at me. 'You've got to sit down on your bottom and
write. Writing is all we have,'" he says...." "'All we are, all we can be, are the stories we tell....Long after we are gone, our words will be all that is left, and who is to say what really happened or even what reality is? Our stories, our fiction, our words will be as close to truth as can be. And no one can take that away from you.'"

* * *

How's that for encouragement to write?

6 comments:

KelliGirl said...

Sue,
This sounds like a great book. It reminds me a little of The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night (I think I got the title right.) Did you read that? I find it fascinating that someone who isn't autistic can capture the goings on in the mind of someone who isn't wired like they are.

Yes, BOC time is the only way to get the words out. Right now my butt says "Enough. It's time to go to bed."

Goodnight. :-)

Kelly Combs said...

That is so lovely that she took the time to respond. Validation! So awesome.

Have a great day. Keep writing. (You know where to put your butt).

CJ said...

I LOVED that part!

On Purpose said...

It's funny when I 'sit' down to work at the computer I can find other things to distract me from working on my sessions...so maybe I should stand?!?! hehe!

How are you Sue?

Leslie said...

I'll have to look for this book. Autistic children fascinate me. I would just like to crawl into their mind for a day to see the world as they do.

I seem to be doing a lot of sitting on my "bottom" lately out of exhaustion. I need to sit and write!

Love and Blessings, Leslie

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