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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

Month

November 2018

So, I’m working aspects of my Asperger’s into my novel……

…….because it is a huge part of who I am and how I perceive the world.  And since Novel Now Finished is about a woman who ‘sees’ the world differently and is told from her Point of View, it seemed like the ideal place to incorporate this part of my personality.

Some see a graveyard, where the dead sleep.
I see the past, waiting to be heard.

Is the Narrator herself on the spectrum?  No, I didn’t write her to be Asperger’s, or even autistic, both of which were the furthest thing from my mind when I originally conceived the character and her story.  However, like me, she sees things that others don’t – I can see patterns and energy within events and people and make connections.  The Narrator works in a cemetery and sees and interacts with ghosts (which I think is far more fascinating than patterns and energy, but that’s just me).

It was only lately, in the last year or so, that I decided to make Asperger’s an unofficial part of the Narrator’s personality.  To do this, I try to find similarities between my abilities and the Narrator’s and what aspect of my Asperger’s might fit within that scope.  So far it’s been an interesting experiment and one that I hope to utilize more effectively in revision.

Which brings us to the question – how do I see the world?

Differently than the norm, would be one way to put it.

As described in other blog posts, I have had difficulty in reading body language and social cues or I have a tendency to be a little too open.  The best analogy I’ve been able to come up with that others can understand is that it’s like having a paint pallet, but only half or even a quarter of the colors available.  Sometimes it’s like walking around in an unfamiliar room in the pitch dark, with no idea of how to navigate around items that may or may not be there.

Like the Narrator, I’m also empathic – I’ll know by people’s energy if I want to be around them (if it’s a bad vibe, it’s like getting a stomach ache).  I can ‘feel’ if someone’s lying to me, which is like getting sucker-punched; I can ‘feel’ other emotions that people try to mask with behaviors that contradict what I’m sensing, which is extremely confusing.  When that happens, I have to sit back and observe for context.  Often, however, I get overwhelmed by other people’s energy and I’ll end up spending days at home, just to recuperate and recharge.

Because of this, I tend to sit back and observe people and my surroundings.  The details I pick up without even trying would astound you.  I don’t think twice about it.

The most interesting challenge about incorporating my Asperger’s into the Narrator isn’t so much giving her those traits.  The challenge is being able to observe my Asperger’s in such a way that I can identify what will work and what won’t.  In other words, I have to be far more analytical than I already am.

On myself.

As the Great Dane Scooby Doo would say, “Ruh, roh!”

Recommended Reading:
The Autistic Brain – Temple Grandin
Thinking In Pictures – Temple Grandin

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So, it should come as no surprise that I dream about books…..

……because I love reading and have more books on my To Be Read shelf than I’ll ever be able to finish.  I dream mostly about books I’ve already read, but on some occasions, I’ll dream of titles I’d seen, but never really intrigued me enough to actually pick up.  When those books show up in my dream, I go out and get them – either from the library or the bookstore.

There is no such thing as too many books.

Case in point – years ago, I dreamt that I was driving along a highway that merged into another highway.  Underneath the overpass was a dry-docked tall ship – it was in perfect condition, but abandoned.  Somehow, I was able to park my car and climb inside the ship, which I took my own sweet time exploring (because, really, who wouldn’t?).  In the captain’s cabin, I found two books – Outlander and Voyager.  I recognized them immediately, since a friend worked in a bookstore and I’d seen them on the shelves.

I immediately picked up those two titles (first and third, respectively), as well as the other two titles that were available at the time.  I read them in about a month (yes, I know they’re bricks, but I read IT by Stephen King in three days, so…….) and was wiped out with the breadth and depth of the characters.  Although there have since been several more titles (and a TV series) released, I stopped at book four.

I guess I got what I needed out of them, although to this day, I’m still not sure what it was I’d been looking for in those books.

Most recently, I’d dreamt about Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz.  I’d read a number of Koontz’s books over the years, but I’ve always preferred Stephen King.  No disrespect intended – I just don’t mesh with Koontz’s style in the way I do with King’s.  That said, my subconscious chose that title to communicate with me about something in my waking life.

How I came upon the book in my dream was interesting – I was as I am in the Here and Now, in an antique store.  A friend whom I grew up with was also in the dream, only he resembled his high school age self, with some of his intellectual and emotional growth as an adult.  The shop did not carry books, not even used ones, but on one shelf was a row of books, all brand new and I pulled out Odd Thomas.  I remember thinking I could get it used at my local used book store, but it seemed imperative that I get the book immediately.

So I did.

And, in case you were wondering, I did indeed pick up the book a few days later.

Used.  From my local used book store.

And I’m pretty sure I know what my subconscious mind was telling me.

Dreams and books are like that.

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