On March 1, a worldwide day of mourning will be held for people with disabilities murdered by caregivers. There will be both public vigils (in various cities) and an online vigil beginning at 3:00 PM EST.
Please consider attending tomorrow’s vigils, online or in person. Let’s not forget Alex Spourdalakis, Vincent Phan, Tamiyah Audain, Matthew Hafer…and that is a short list of this year’s causalities alone.
Life is sacred, and the loss of these people’s lives needs to be remembered. Let them not go, unforgotten, into that good night.
For the online vigil: https://sites.google.com/site/pwddayofmourning2014/
For a list of public vigils: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2014/02/day-of-mourning-2014-2/
Barking Sycamores is a new literary journal that just went live yesterday and will begin publishing on April 1, 2014. We’re accepting submissions now and will be publishing on a continual basis.
What we are: Barking Sycamores is a poetry journal whose primary mission is to publish poems by emerging and established writers on the autism spectrum or with related conditions. We also seek to add positively to the public discussion about autism in the form of essays on autism and poetics, with special emphasis on autism’s interplay with the creative process.
For poetry: We seek poems that are breathtakingly beautiful, startling, sparkling, or imbued with color. We like poems that surprise us in some way; poems that perform an act of alchemy — i.e. transforming the ordinary into gold; poems that convey a vision of reality which is different than the expected or commonplace; poems that might cleanse the “doors of perception”, as William Blake put it. We particularly adore poems with a strong voice, a strong narrative, or bold, concrete imagery. We do have a preference for free verse poetry; however, we will accept poetry written in traditional forms.
For autism and poetics essays: We seek work that uses strong facts and/or well-documented observations to support a solid thesis statement. We are particularly interested in essays about:
- how autistic or other neurolgically divergent traits aid in the creation of poetry;
- autistic or neurological divergent traits that might cause a poet to break common rules and conventions in poetry (and do this well);
- how an autistic or neurological divergent individual might use the creative arts (especially poetry) to express him/her/zirself when ordinary communication means do not suffice;
- how an author’s work might reveal his/her/zir neurological divergence.
Main site: http://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/
Submission Guidelines: http://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/
Two of my poems, “You Don’t See It” and “Tribe”, were published in We’ve Been Here All Along: Autistics Over 35 Speak Out in Poetry and Prose. The anthology, edited and published earlier this fall by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg (also the creator and webmaster of Autism and Empathy), features writings by twenty-two autistics speaking about, as Rachel put it in the description on her website, “issues as growing up without a diagnosis and coming to understand themselves in adulthood through the lens of autism”.
“You Don’t See It” is probably my best statement about what having Asperger Syndrome is like. “Tribe” (unpublished until this anthology) is a statement of pride, a recognition of how autistics throughout history have shaped and colored our world. And I am the frizzy-haired little girl on the upper right corner of the cover.
I am 36 years old and on the younger end of the age group in which the contributors are, but I share some things in common with some of the other contributors: late in life diagnosis. When I was growing up, the conventional wisdom was mostly that girls weren’t autistic and autism wasn’t that well-known…so the “gifted and weird” or “difficult” labels were slapped on me. Couple that with Asperger Syndrome not being an official diagnosis until 1994, the year I graduated high school. I went undiagnosed until age 34.
I have not had a chance to read except a small portion of the book, but from what I have read you will find intelligent, beautiful, eloquent, glaringly truthful, and sometimes painful writing, all from autistic writers. I strongly recommend reading the anthology and what we have to say about autism…from the perspective of the autistics themselves.
On Monday November 29, my fiancé and I attended Ari Ne’eman’s talk at Ohio State University. The talk was entitled “Neurodiversity and the College Campus”. However, the talk seemed to introduce the topic of neurodiversity by first presenting what he called the “medical” model of disability (which looks at fixing or removing the disability) and then addressing the problem with Autism Speaks and similar organizations, which have been observed to be pro-cure and thus part of the causation-and-cure aspect of the public conversation about autism. Against the medical model, non-profit organizations addressing autism from a cause-and-cure standpoint, and some of the parents and professionals involved with autism he contrasted the idea of neurodiversity, the self-advocacy movement, and the “social” model of disability (which focuses on what it deems to be equal access for disabled people).
This was the first time I have attended a public talk about autism, neurodiversity, or any related issues and as my fiancé and I listened, some thoughts and questions came into my mind. One of these was the question of economic self-sufficiency for the autistic community.