This excerpt is from a collaborative article that appeared on June 12, 2017 on Spectrum Women Magazine
I have always loved writing. In school, the other kids groaned when we were set an essay but I beamed. It let my fertile imagination run free. It made me feel capable. It soothed me. Writing was so much easier than speaking, especially in the presence of adult figures of authority when selective mutism often reduced my speech to an inaudible whisper.
A love of writing grew from a love of reading: the sensory delight when I held a book, smelling its pages, as I was taken off on a safe adventure! I didn’t have to guess at the emotions or intentions of the characters – the author explained all that to me. I could control the pace of the story and re-read the sections I liked best, savouring new words and expressions. I used to read the dictionary for fun, encyclopedias and atlases too. Even the Automobile Association Handbook. The printed word drew me, in all its forms.
In recent years, I’ve started writing again for enjoyment and I’ve been encouraged and inspired to pursue my writing by some amazing women, including those who write for Spectrum Women. Having an autistic brain means that thoughts are constantly bombarding your mind, often unbidden. Writing helps me bring order to unstructured thoughts, their sense emerging like a magic eye picture when I focus on them in the right way. It also acts as a welcome distraction from the intrusive thoughts that lurk in dark corners, awaiting their chance to rouse the anxiety monster.
Whenever I started to write about autism, I did so in the hope that it might help at least one person. I’ve come to realise that the person I’m helping most is probably me.