14 May, 2011

So Let It Be Written

Months later than planned, the 312-page manuscript for my memoir is finally complete. Followers of The Pariah's Syntax will be glad to know my recent stretches of inactivity, blog-wise, should be a thing of the past. The book really did take all of my time, save for the month-and-a-half stretch when my typewriter was in the shop. Friends who've barely heard a peep out of me these past nine months can attest to this. I hope, when they read what I've written, they'll understand and forgive.

In some ways, I needed to write an account of my life. There was a profound yearning in me to reconcile the different epochs (which I guess I'll have to start calling chapters) that predated the now. I suspect that most people are like me in this way, breaking their personal histories down into manageable segments, each with its own self-contained narrative. Interconnecting these as one cohesive arc takes a good memory and no small amount of commitment. Making that account interesting takes storytelling ability. I hope I've succeeded on both counts.

Introspection was another factor driving me to write this book. Know yourself — it's harder than it sounds. I thought I knew myself well enough, but it's one thing to understand underlying motivations and driving needs, quite another to be shown another layer below even those. The rabbit hole goes deep. When I learned, three and a half years ago, that I have an autistic spectrum disorder (the neurological condition Asperger's syndrome) it was a revelation. Before that, I'd been aware and accepting of who I was; now I keenly understand why I am that way. This awareness cast everything in a new light — from my beginnings as a "gifted" child prodigy who ate paper, through a troubled adolescence of cocaine addiction and confinement in a mental facility, to an awkward adulthood on the fringe. It's the exploration of this newly illuminated history, and present day, that my book follows.

Who knows, maybe someone else with the condition will read it someday and benefit from my mistakes. Or the parent of an Aspergian teen. Or a clinician who studies Asperger's syndrome. Or a person who's married to someone on the spectrum. There's a whole world out there. If this memoir makes a difference in the lives of just two people, I will feel rewarded. I'll count myself as the first.

As my journey down the road to publication progresses, I'll share the news here. For now, though, I'm taking a breather, gathering my thoughts, and catching up on some reading. That stack of magazines and books isn't getting any smaller.

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