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It's been a weird-ass year.
The pandemic and other world events have changed the ways we live our lives. That includes autistic people, maybe not more than most, but maybe a little differently. If we live alone, then the peace and quiet we crave is not just available but mandatory - maybe even more than we want. If we live with people, there's even less getting away from them than before. If we are looking for social connections that work for us, they're harder and harder to find.
I've been getting creative.
Because for me, 2020-2021 hasn't been a time of stasis. Quite the opposite - I've been busy at work and going through personal changes and these, in turn, have made me ask myself some of the biggest questions.
What do I want? If I had full control over the way I live, what would that look like? What's important to me about the work I'm putting into the world, and what only feels important because it's what someone else expects? What does writing look like when it's honest-to-goodness mine, wild and true and joyful even when it hurts, when it honors the natural ways I think and dream and exist in space? What does living look when it's like that?
I want to write about questions like these, and I want to take you along.
I'm naming this newsletter "Everything Is True," after my essay from Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction. Because even the wildest fantasy contains a core of something real. Because fiction isn't reality, but we build our realities out of it. Because when the real world is uninhabitable or excludes us on purpose, so many of us survive by creating our own. Because the parts of us that the neurotypical world can't fathom are often our realest parts. Because maybe I've always lived with only one of my feet in consensus reality, and maybe you have too, and maybe that's fine.
Here are just some of the topics I'm planning to cover here over the next year:
Monster culture, survival, and deep time (as a lead-up to MILLION-YEAR ELEGIES). What's so compelling about ancient creatures, the more fearsome and strange the better? What can ancient death, resurrection, and change teach us about our precarious lives in the present day?
Autism, animism, and physical space: for a group so widely said to have low empathy, why is it so darned easy for us to personify things?
Autistic narrative voice(s): How do (or don't) we talk? How does that influence the stories we tell, the way they're told, and what a neurotypical reader will or won't pick up from them?
Behind-the-scenes peeks at THE FALLEN and beyond!
And some special features and interviews with other autistic and non-neurotypical authors who are also doing this good work.
Subscribing for free gets you two posts a month, plus book launches and other big announcements. Subscribing for $5/month gets you two or three more posts per month (I'm planning on posting every Tuesday), plus a weekly Friday discussion thread where we can dig deeper together.
Our world isn't getting any less weird, and neither are we. And, like Dr. Evianna Talirr, I've found that the weirdest parts are where the truth lies.
Come with me.
MILLION-YEAR ELEGIES, my book of dinosaur poetry, is now available in paperback! Get it here.
I’ve got a new poem out, “Dream Logic,” in the anthology Climbing Lightly Through Forests: A Poetry Anthology Honoring Ursula K. LeGuin.
My short story “Across the Ice” is on the 2020 Locus Recommended Reading List.
Another poem of mine, “I grew out of it,” is forthcoming in a future issue of Not One Of Us.
Over on Autistic Book Party, I’ve reviewed Bogi Takács’s novella, “Power to Yield.”
By popular demand, I’ve written a list of content warnings for my novel THE OUTSIDE. Content warnings for some of my other books are coming soon!
Meanwhile, THE FALLEN is on Fantasy Hive’s list of most anticipated SFF books for 2021.
And you should check out this extremely cool animated version of THE FALLEN’s cover art…