Guest Blog by Annette

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

The things I see.

untitled

I often say that I live in a way cooler world than other, “normal” people. I know that is poor grammar, but the sentiment holds. For me the world is a place of constant wonder and amazement. I am often stunned by how much of what goes on around them other people simply don’t see happening.

Just a few days ago, the construction crew working on the barn I work in was cutting metal piping and welding it at the same time. The play of the intense white welding light and the sparks from the grinder made a disco-ball-like display swirl and glow on the ceiling. I looked, enjoyed, and laughed aloud. They were puzzled at what I was watching until they looked up as well, and I was pleased to receive answering grins from two of them. But my thought was, “how did you miss this? Light, colour, motion, contrast, all at once!” I literally can’t NOT see.

Honestly, it gets a bit embarrassing sometimes. There have been too many occasions to list when I have drawn the attention of people around me to some detail that they have apparently overlooked. Even when I am supposed to be concentrating on something else. Then they think you aren’t paying attention. Well, I was, but that doesn’t mean that I turn off!

When I had a visit with the mental health lady from the clinic we sat and talked for a while, like you are supposed to with a mental health person. (I am on anti-depressants, boring story.) While I was paying close attention to the conversation I also observed everything around me in the office. The clock ticked unevenly, with an occasional double tick, ti-chick, when the minute hand moved. Someone with perfume had been in there before me, a fairly light scent of lilac. The posters on the wall were a triage of possible cardiac patients and chest pain complaints. And so on.

I also paid close attention to the conversation. She called this ‘mindfulness’, and ‘improved situational awareness.’ She said it was really a good thing, and something everyone should try. My friends say “Squirrel!” from the movie UP by Disney.

Mostly it’s pretty cool. Like the light show from the welder, and the tiny tracks I see on the sidewalk in the snow before my clumsy feet shuffle through them. They tell me that a squirrel, a mouse and some sparrows and juncos have visited the bird feeder. Or the hint of wrong line that shows me where a deer is standing oh-so-quiet to not be noticed when I walk along the trail. Or the laugh I get from seeing some cows at my job lying down in order of colour gradient in their stalls.

Other times though, it kind of sucks, not having filters. In a group, when several people are talking I can’t follow any conversations because I hear both at once and can’t separate them. It makes driving in the city both terrifying and exhausting. There are so many things moving, brightly coloured signs, smells from things I drive past, the overload is incredible, and has at least on one occasion gotten me into an accident. And I get lost ridiculously often since I can’t really drive and navigate at the same time.

On that note, Google Earth and Street View are your friends. Pick a landmark close to your turn off and don’t worry about finding stuff till you see it. It makes not having to read every street sign and building number you pass a possibility, and reduces the catastrophic effect of a semi or bus blocking your clear view.

Concerts, fairs, busy malls, a midway or amusement park, a full restaurant…                               Any of those are enough to send me into either a panting bug-eyed panic or a hyperactive mind-blown spin, just from sheer sensory overstimulation. It is both a joke and a painful truth when I quip that I don’t need alcohol or drugs to get high. A bag of cotton candy, a bottle of coke, and some loud music is plenty enough. A person gets too familiar with that sort of vague “I was being an idiot in public again, wasn’t I?” feeling when the excitement wears off, and total, very grumpy, exhaustion kicks in.

On the other hand, it is possible to make sensitivity work for you. I work on a dairy, milking and tending the cows. Often I notice subtle differences in individual animals that tell of possible disease or sore feet long before obvious clinical signs make the problem critical and a lot harder to treat. I can remember and notice changes in condition, milk weights and attitudes, all without even thinking much about it. I see all these things every day. And by ‘see’ I mean consciously observe. A change in the smell of an animal’s breath or (nastily) wastes, tells me a lot about their inner health, which I can then pass on to my boss and later discuss treatment and recovery. And that is good for the farm, and helps ensure my continued employment.

And I notice everything.

Long and short of it… What do you see? Do your “super senses” make your world awesome? Or sometimes really scary? Or even, hopefully, give you just that little better edge?

I hope so. Even if your friends think you have the attention span of a “Squirrel!”

Dude

But Seriously.. Dude

We have had are ups and downs. Like the way how you took away my life ambition’s of becoming an elementary school teacher. Granted, who really wants to work with those little brats. I mean seriously, parents these days suck. Also I wanted to be a teacher so I could make a difference and you probably have given me that opportunity. I mean I do the same thing as everyone else and I get way more credit for it. I mean you are essentially the only reason why I won that future 40 award. You also provide me most of my comedy material, and I gotta say I am a pretty kickass stand-up comedian. If I ever get enough paying gigs I will thank you in my Oscars speech. So what if I don’t get an Oscar speech just for being a stand-up comedian. I could always pull a Kanye West.

You also have done a good job making it so I am not overly concerned about material posessions like some kind of douchebag, or have the same hangups as Neurotypical people on unimportant things like tidiness.

You also made backpacking through Europe or Australia on my own impossible. Not cool dude, not cool at all. So what if a lot of people don’t backpack through Europe, you took away that possibility.

It’s also not cool how you made it so I’ve never even touched a naked boobie. I mean seriously, all of the other guys are getting married and I still haven’t touched a naked boobie. TOTALLY UNFAIR. Offside, not cool. I seriously should be a lot more pissed with you for that, than I am. Haha boobie. KNOCKERs. There are so many funny words for them. I mean are they really as soft and as cushy as they look. I mean I would love to use one of those as a pillow. Mmm sleep. Stop distracting me DUDE. What I am trying to say is TOTALLY OFFSIDE.

We have definitely had some kick ass times. Your like that guy who crashes on someone’s couch because you can’t be bothered to get a job and move out on your own. Yes you make me laugh. I should really be more mad at you than I am. But in the end what I can I say, you’re not going to get your own place anytime soon so I may as well make the best of the situation. Errrg. But seriously dude you can be so bloody annoying. Tisk tisk.

Also the thing with the poor hand-eye-coordination. Okay, so high school sports don’t really matter in the end. Yes it defines the pecking order and I would have been so much cooler and more respected but whateves. This thing about not even letting me cut out a straight line. Wow that’s going a little too far.

I would totally give you the boot, but since I can’t. It is what it is.

PS. Please do not write back. In fact if you could try to make your presence as scarce as possible for the next while that would be great.

Sincerely

Adam

A man of ritual

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

People with Asperger are known for being very ritualistic or obsessed with our routines to a point some people could say is almost OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). As an educated male, who is well aware of my patterns and how they could be considered a waste of time, I nevertheless am not immune  horrible at fighting my natural instincts. People with Asperger, however are not alone in our strict adherence to our routines, I am looking at you black hat religious community and how you pray three times a day always at the exact same times. In addition, you could also say that most successful people keep to a pretty strict routine that doesn’t vary very much. They call making sure that your pee breaks don’t last any longer than three minutes or your breakfast doesn’t take longer than ten minutes good time management skills. Therefore, you could even say some of the skills to be successful in any and all endeavours come naturally to us.

My particular routine is that whenever I sit down to a computer the first thing I have to do is check my Facebook and Gmail accounts to see if I have any messages. Not that I am ever expecting important messages I mean, who sends important messages on Facebook. If the only way that you have to get hold of the other person is to send them a Facebook message, no matter how important the message is to you, it really isn’t that important to the other person after all you’re just a Facebook friend. All of my closest kith and kin have my phone number and can reach me on it whenever they want. I will never get a message that one of my friends locked themselves out of their car and they need me to go and pick them up on Facebook. My workplace is never going to try and reach me to over me extra hours on my Facebook account. Yet every single time I sit down to a computer the first thing I do is check my Facebook and then my gmail account for messages.

I can hardly be faulted for wasting my time in this way, however, I mean who doesn’t check their Facebook messages at least thirty times a day, just religious, old people and those who are successful and effective, but that really makes up a small percentage of all the people I know. Heck, being a comedian is all about seeing how people are wasting their time in order to make topical jokes. That and letting our brains wander because the subconscious bored mind is much better at noticing funny idiosyncratic behaviour than someone consciously looking for it. I mean good luck at coming up with a good joke when your mind is occupied with trying to write an essay about the history of the American constitutional system for a paper or when you have other deadlines looming over your head and occupying your thoughts. Therefore, good comedians or artists or philosophers in general are likely to take routine jobs which allow them the time and freedom to let their mind wander wherever it wants to go. Yet somehow I still need get the nagging feeling that I am not making the best use of my time.

Following patterns in our routines makes people feel comfortable because it allows us to know what will happen next. We hate having our routine messed with, but, so do lots of people. I doubt if you drove a business executive into the middle of the woods and took away all of his communicating devices he would be very happy either. He would especially be unhappy when you hit him over the head multiple times so you could put a black mask over his face and not let him see where he was going. It would take him a long time to get his life back in order, emotionally and physically as he tried to figure out a way of getting out of there and making his way back home or his routine activities. In addition, his brain would take some time to adjust back to his old routine. Therefore, routine things like driving that used to be relaxing and allow your mind to drift while you problem solved obstacles that occurred in your week or day take longer to return to old habits.

That is sort of how we feel when we miss our favourite television shows or someone sits in our seat in front of the television while watching a sporting event. It leaves us wondering what would have happened if we were sitting in our seat. Would the result be any different? Would our team be winning instead of losing the game? Would our favourite player made a good play instead of turning the ball/puck over? This can keep us awake at night thinking about how different things would have gone if our routine hadn’t been changed. Then we started thinking that we were overdramatic and question if we made too big of a deal over nothing. Maybe the results would have been the exact same and therefore we owe everyone an apology for throwing a tantrum and a plate against the wall. Maybe we should have cleaned up the mess we made. Then we convince ourselves that we were in the right and were justified in our actions. After all fate is not something that should be trifled with lightly. All the meanwhile, you are distracted from what you should have been thinking about which was what to do about the school bully, or the girl who you have a crush on and totally froze and became tongue-tied when trying to ask her out.

It is also hard to establish, change or break routines. I mean if I could create a better routine every time I sat down at a computer than checking Facebook, like writing a few new jokes or an article I would. I just am obsessed that someone is going to write me a message telling me something I need to know or invite me to something and that it will be time sensitive so they’ll need me to get back to them right away. That or check how many people liked my last Facebook status because I am egotistical like that. Generally there has been no change and that nothing in my world has really changed. You just never know. However, after you have started doing something routinely it is pretty hard to break and then start a new routine. Just ask all the people with weight problems about that. Smoking is the same principal once you become addicted to a way of doing something or doing it at all it is pretty hard to break. I mean I tried to quit using Facebook a million times, but, have simply been unable to cut down or break the filthy habit. It just makes me feel so dirty about myself afterwards. Knowing that everyone else is having a better time than me or seeing the stupid motivational quotes that mean nothing like. Like believe in yourself, or you will never know how great you really are. Boring. I mean there are a million diets out there to help you break your food habits but very little out there about how to break your technological habits. The only options that seem to be offered are to cut down gradually or to quit visiting social media sites cold turkey. Two options compared to the millions for changing your eating habits.

Another one of my routines is eating a banana every morning before I do anything else. Turns out bananas are very good for your mood and help explain why I am less grouchy afterwards. This is no different than anyone else who needs to start their morning off with pop tarts coffee or meth. Okay, well, it’s very different than the last one. I mean people who start their morning off with meth generally have a hard time getting to their jobs on time or paying any of their bills. Other than that the three are all the exact same, while, except for the fact that bananas are the only one that is actually good for you.

My point in all this is that I really don’t understand when people complain that people on the Autism spectrum are obsessed with routines as if it’s a bad thing.

I would like to say a few words in acknowledgement of a noble profession, one that does not get nearly as much respect as it deserves.

There have been people involved in this profession as long as films began to talk, which was exactly when their services began to be needed. And they haven’t stop talking since.

I am talking specifically about animation voice actors.

What, you say? What is that? Allow me to explain….

Voice actors are responsible for giving animated cartoon characters their voices. But their role does not simply end there. Writers may create their dialogue, and artists their physical appearance, but voice actors are responsible for filling in all of the blank spots within. They give the characters their hearts, their souls, their personalities and everything else which makes them appealing and sympathetic to an audience. In few other forms of acting is the actor so responsible for so totally immersing themselves into creating a personality for a personage that would not be functional or likeable without their input. Animation may have existed before sound, but its appeal was substantially enhanced by a number of amazing talented performers who did- and still- invest these mere drawings and sketches with the ability- for a while, anyway, to be true and understandable people in the eyes of the audience.

Okay, David, you say, if they are so important, why don’t I know who they are?

Well, that has a lot to do with the fact that animation itself has been considered a marginal art form until fairly recently. Consequently, the idea of actual “acting” existing in it beyond the odd shout, war whoop or cowbell on the soundtrack has been something that has taken even longer to be accepted. Because these people only used their voices, and not their bodies, to act, somehow they are not considered “real” actors and their work has been neglected.

I know better, though.

I have been an animation junkie from my earliest days, and, early on, I learned first hand about the importance of quality acting to the complete effect of the total animation immersion experience. It was the characters’ voices that gave me the essentials of their personality, in ways their outward appearance alone could only suggest. It was the characters’ voices that allowed me to distinguish heroes from villains, and cheer and hiss them respectively. It was also the characters’ voices that made me aware of the way their worlds worked- matters of gender, politics etc. as they existed in the narratives- and by extension, how they worked in the wider world as well. The voice of the cartoon character is equal to the eyes of the human being- the metaphorical window of the soul. And many of those souls are well worth knowing.

When I learned about acting and the theater in high school and college, I began holding the animation voice actor in higher regard. Totally immersing yourself into a role on stage and screen is one thing. But simultaneously playing as many as five or more roles at once in one series, as so many of the greats can handle, is something else entirely. Especially when this role-crossing behavior obliterates seemingly firm categorical differences like gender, race and ethnicity in the process!

I admired the voice actors of the world when I was younger, and I admire them still. They have the advantage of being involved in Hollywood while still having normal lives. We hear nothing about them signing multi-million dollar deals (though I’m sure they’d like them), nor anything about them being pursued relentlessly by the paparazzi. They are private people who happen to be involved in a very public profession, that’s all. But they perform that profession brilliantly and fans like me take their work directly to their hearts. And I’m sure that’s what they want, too.

The greatest tribute I can provide them, though, is the fact that, as a writer, I use their voices regularly as a recognition thumbprint to help me create my characters on a regular basis. A lot of my characters were inspired directly by listening to their performances, and the voices continue following me as I write my little attempts to equal their great achievements in sound. No matter how much I try to make them sound differently, when I write dialogue for my characters, they always end up sounding like my particular favorite voice actors in the end. If that’s not some kind recognition of how indelible animation voice acting can be on one person’s psyche, I don’t know what is.

It’s with these sentiments that I metaphorically raise my glass to my real life heroes, the animation voice actors, the once and future unknown stars of Hollywood.

David Perlmutter is a freelance writer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where he has lived his whole life. His passions are American television animation (the subject of his MA thesis and a projected historical monograph), literature (especially science fiction and fantasy) and music (rhythm& blues, soul, funk and jazz.) This explains why much of his writing is as nonconventional and defiant as it is. He is challenged with Asperger’s Syndrome, but considers it an asset more than a disability.

Annette is one of the runner up for the writing contest the Manitoba Writer’s Guild and Free Press had. I met her at the award ceremony.

Having Friends                                                                                                        Annette DeWit

It is normal and healthy for people to want to have friends. Sadly, for some of us, making friends seems to be an almost insurmountable obstacle. After all, if you aren’t even sure if you like people, why would anyone else want to like you? Besides, other people aren’t always all that interesting. They make jokes you don’t understand, talk about boring things that don’t matter, say one thing and mean something else entirely different… People are hard. Being alone is safe, and much, much easier. And less tiring.

And in this way we convince ourselves, and so pursue our interests and hobbies; sharing them on the internet in fine anonymity, or with our families, who are used to us and only half listen.

Nobody wants to be alone. Even if a person wants to be left alone, most of the time, no one really wants to be all alone all the time.

I am a thirty year old woman with Aspergers Syndrome. Now, as an adult, I have the privilege of sharing my life with a handful of very good, even a few very close, friends. I would say they didn’t come easily, but mostly, they came purely by accident, on my part at least. I have never set out to deliberately make friends. I don’t know how; I don’t even really understand what constitutes a friend. But I do know what friends are.

I know the friends I have are valuable and indispensible to my life.

As a child, I had a few friends in school, a neighbor/cousin whom I grew up with, and a couple of classmates who shared one interest with me, and tolerated my oddities for the sake of that commonality. Since then, most of those relationships have faded to a sort of distant, “hey, glad we are both still alive,” sort of benign interest, and not much more. That’s okay.

My friends now are those, mostly older than me, who knew and liked my siblings, and knew and tolerated me in the sort of distant way older sibling’s friends view little sisters, amicably, but not with any particularly strong affection most of the time. However they tolerated my oddly adult way of speaking, and endless fountaining of bits of information, and even showed a considerate interest from time to time.

Now, those shared interests and past gentle tolerance have grown into a genuine respect and affection for each other, growing from common interests, rooted in really caring, and embracing the differences previously mildly accepted.

From each of my friends I receive open-handed acceptance and even welcoming of my assorted eccentricities. My friends like me, not in-spite of, or because I am Aspergers, but simply for all of me. The way my mind works is just a character trait, occasionally to be laughed with, sometimes requiring gentle guidance. I love it when they ask me “What do you know about?… Have you seen?… What is there? What have we missed?” or especially, What do you see?” in the sure knowledge that there will be an answer.

I love it that I can bring a unique and colorful new view to their world as well.

My friends know and understand my limits, and challenge me to grow beyond them without scaring me or making me feel pressured. I don’t feel I will lose their respect or love if I fail, or if I can’t try something.

We talk. Not about random gossipy things that mean little and matter less, but about real things, about anything under the sun, and when the conversation gets de-railed, they go with it, and laugh. Wonderfully, we can start back from where we got off track and carry on the original point without any of us losing a beat. It’s like “red1, red2, red3, (-purple/green/orangish,-) red4, … and no-one minds.

I was discussing school and a struggling daughter of my friend with her one day, when a butterfly flew between us.

Me, “Look! Butterfly!”

My friend, laughing so hard she staggered, “Really?!”

Me, “What?” a pause, “For real! It’s right there,” pointing.

She, “Pretty. I honestly didn’t see it at first, sorry”

And we carried on. Later, we laughed a lot. I know I am a bit (read extremely) distractible. Hey, easily amused, never bored. I often joke that I live in a way cooler world than ordinary people. My friends count on me to point out the fascinating bits that they miss. In return, they explain bits that I miss. Especially answering things like “What does that mean? Why did they do that? Is he mad or scared?”

Have you ever watched ‘How to Train Your Dragon’? In the movie, Gobber, the blacksmith guy is explaining to Hiccup, our hero, how to be better accepted by the Viking tribe. He gestures to Hiccup and says something like “You just have to be less, this,” to which Hiccup replies, “You just gestured to all of me!” Gobber answers, “Exactly.”

Much later, and after many trials and adventures, Gobber says to Hiccup, “It turns out we just needed more,” a sweeping gesture, “this.”

Hiccup, “You just gestured to all of me!”

To me, a big part of the movie is Gobber learning to be a good friend. Friends don’t say to each other, you need to be someone else. They say, “YOU are my friend.”

Gobsmacking the Queen

Posted: February 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

The article below reflects the thoughts of the author and opinions and are not necessarily endorsed or shared by Autistic Productions.

   Gobsmacking the queen

            All is not right in the kingdom and no matter how well she has done representing all of us the problem starts with the royalty the queen herself. When I say kingdom I really mean the Autism-Asperger community and when I say the Queen I am obviously referring to Temple Grandin herself. While the title of Queen has been bestowed by myself there is really no denying it. Yes, the woman has very little Royal aspirations and certainly dresses more like a pauper in her cowboy boots and shirt and pants, which definitely needs updating, yet, there is no denying her power. While Hans Asperger may be the person who discovered the Autism spectrum and is the one Aspergers is named after, there is no one who is seen as more of an expert or is more closely associated with the spectrum than Temple Grandin. Whenever there is any question or need of statement or royal proclamation about the Autism spectrum everyone knows to turn towards, heck the power and fame she wields In fact, practically make her a D-list celebrity in the mainstream culture, all of her books have been best sellers she has even had a movie made her life. I also couldn’t think of anyone who could represent the community better than her.

There is no easy or pleasant way of finding fault with her. Unfortunately, what I have to do now to take her down a peg. Nevertheless, I do it with the most reverence and respect, I mean who am I to challenge or find fault in her, I am not even a charming dashing good looking rascal like Robin Hood, therefore no one will want to listen to what I have to say, but the truth is, some of her lifestyle choices have hurt the community.  The lifestyle choice that I refer to is one she made very early on in her life at age 11 while she was at boarding school she took a vow of celibacy so the nuns would give her more independence. Children make stupid decisions, I would not want anyone to scrutinize every decision I made as an eleven year old, therefore; it makes me squirm to question her decision. I mean after all as an eleven year who is actually interested in sex and furthermore if you are going to be the Judas more freedom is a better sweet deal. The problem is that the vow wasn’t like every New Year’s resolution out there, where you vow to the gym more and within two weeks have already broken it and don’t really care about it. No she has never broken this vow and there has never been any interview where it sounds like she ever struggled with it. Therefore, people not understanding the Neurotypical condition and seeing her think that all people with Aspergers are asexual. The one television character most often assumed to be on the spectrum, Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory, even calls sex coitus for crying out loud. Do you know who calls it that? People who are not having any and don’t have much interest in it and how inhumane is that?

Everyone thinks about sex. Scientists figured out that the average male thinks about sex every ten seconds, waste of a science grant, but there you have it. Granted some people think about i more than others, also some people have it more than others. The only real difference between people on the Autism Spectrum and Neurotypical is the amount that we get to have it.  Most males on the spectrum tend to lose their virginity later than Neurotypicals, go longer periods between having it, and tend to have less sex partners. We tend not to pick up on the signals that make one-stands picked up at the bar possible and tend not to gel with Neurotypical females as easily. Furthermore, females with Aspergers tend not to associate with others on the spectrum as much at least not in this town, because females have advanced social skills and therefore fit in better as Neurotypicals than their male counterparts.

The advantages other disabled groups have earned such as the right to receive assistance to be able to have the same experiences as everyone else, and subsidies that go along with it, nevertheless have not carried over to the Autism community and sex.

I think that there needs to be government assistance in this regard such as creating a fund or a tax write-off for people on the spectrum hiring prostitutes. I also don’t mean street walking prostitutes as this would ruin the experience. I think sex should be enjoyable and therefore, the fund or tax-write off should be large enough that people can afford higher end call-girls. I am not saying that it is necessary to hire the companions that millionaires have, we don’t need to go overboard here, but they also shouldn’t have to hire an underage girl or someone’s toothless grandmother that work off of the street. Many of these girls are not in their position, out of choice, but rather necessity which would ruin someone’s first time. The thought running through your head during the act should not be, God I wonder what awful choices they made leading them up to this point. I wonder what their home life was like and whether they ran away or whether someone is taking advantage of them. At that point there are many things that are more pleasant than this experience such as clipping your toenails or doing your taxes.  While there are many nymphomaniacs who are educated and are simply making money off of their passion who are working in a slightly higher bracket. Some of these girls are even university-educated, but, simply have no interest in doing porn. There is no reason why the government couldn’t even pay for the whole girlfriend experience where the two people get to know each other better before the sex, even if it is even just going to AppleBees or Dennys.  Is that too much to ask for? I think not.

I met Zach at the King’s head when we were both doing an open mic run by Dan Verville. A bunch of creative Communications students from Red River was there and Zach went on stage and made a few funny jokes about how Aspergers is Autism light. Therefore, with no further ado, here’s this week’s guest writers blog.

As a journalist working at The Selkirk Journal (and sometimes the Interlake Spectator and Stonewall Argus/Teulon Times), I view writing as a way of adapting. Writing is an extension of my mind lying on the autism spectrum; it is a task I use to both define myself and navigate my way through the world.

But I never consign myself to a niche. There’s many things I want to be better at, and I’m constantly honing my craft for design and illustration. In the process, you run the risk of embarrassment (what if what I’m working on is bunk?), but the risk is a necessary one, and you should never retreat in the wake of it.

This is not to say you can be good at everything. But most talents are crafted and learned. It’s only the speed of accomplishing a task that makes you the ‘natural’, as myth would label you. But the best always learn and continue to learn.

Writing is something I’ll always enjoy. But I never want to resort to writing as escapism. Escapism is for what I’d call an ordinary life. Don Draper said “change is neither good nor bad, it simply is.” But I think change is more of how you make it, and for myself, change is something good. It’s good to put down the pen or laptop and take everything in and forget your inner monologue screaming at you to worry. That’s what I’ve learned about the autism spectrum: stop thinking of scenarios and go with the flow – adapt, learn, never settle for one role or one definition.

I’m many things besides a writer and someone lying on the autism spectrum. That fact becomes more apparent as I get older and take on different roles… grow, adapt… never settle.

Autistic productions

Posted: December 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

After the success of my Fringe show I saw that there was an interest in Aspergers. I also think that art is a way of changing people’s perspectives in a non-confrontational way. Also that Aspergers was being seen in a negative light via Jenny McCarthy and other celebrities. Therefore I thought we should recognize the artists on qthe spectrum or artists I like to call them. Therefore we recognize a different autist each month. In the future I am hoping to be able to give out grants to support these individuals. Also to help them get more exposure. When I was looking at paying for a professional website, Marjie Mcmullin a mother of an autistic son I had previously met offered to design it and manage it for me. Since then she has become my partner taking responsibility for the social media among other responsibilities so I could focus on my stand up comedy and writing. I am doing the Toronto and hopefully Victoria fringe and hopefully releasing my first book this summer Musings of an Aspie. So spread the word if you know anyone living in either of these cities also checkout the website at autisticproductions.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find out more about our artists and events.

Aspergers dating later in life

Posted: October 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Another thing people tend to do when you tell them that you are single is that they suddenly feel the need to reassure you that there is nothing wrong with you and that you will one day find someone right for you. Well this is a nice sentiment and I really appreciate their effort at trying to help me feel better about my situation, the big problem with this sentiment is that they are talking about something they know nothing about. For example, in high school when I was lonely and single people told me that when I got into University I would meet a wide range of people and finally find a girl who was interested in me. The problem was that in University and afterwards I meet a number of great people, but, none of them were interested in me romantically and I got my hopes up for nothing. I would have been better served if they had pointed out that romantic love is just one element in life and yes I might be jealous of other people’s experiences and displays of physical intimacy. Experiences that I may or may not ever get to experience myself, at the same time I have been lucky to experience many other things other people do not. For example, I have been to Africa three times, Europe half a dozen times, while many other people have never left North America. I have also had a hit fringe festival play that I have been lucky enough to take to several other cities and achieve success with, and have had a pretty decent amateur stand-up career up till now. Therefore, instead of focusing on what I don’t have I should focus on what I do have. An incredible relationship with my family who all love me to bits, I am a great role model for my nephew about overcoming adversity, I have a good group of friends and a very warm supportive comedy community behind me. Therefore, I may never have a girlfriend, but, that does not mean that I cannot have lived an incredible, rich, happy life.

In addition, my dating experience definitely does not fall into what society says is the proper age for these things. For example, society says that most people are having their first relationship when they are thirteen, are supposed to have their first relationship by age 16 and are supposed to be married in their twenties or early thirties. I on the other hand will probably not have my first relationship until I am at least in my thirties, and have my first serious relationship by thirty-five and who knows if I will even get married. Movies and television while they give insight into other people’s lives are generally based on relationships and dating patterns among Neurotypical people. They also take the perspective that a happy-ever-after ending is always a good thing. While, I believe that divorces and disruption to the status quo is necessary for guys with Aspergers to date. We generally are not people’s first choices and seldom make the best first impressions so we need women to marry what they think is their ideal man only to find out that these good-looking charismatic people can also be extremely flawed for them to give someone with Aspergers a chance. Movies don’t generally show this side of the equation, however, because attractiveness is closely correlated with goodness and the more attractive someone is, the better they are on the inside. Sure there are movies that are contrary to this rule, such as the good looking villain in Frozen, but, in the end the princess still ends up with a very attractive man even if he is not a prince. Movies don’t show this side of the thing because they are an escape and try to convince people that things will work out in the end and that they will eventually find an attractive mate who they will be happy with until the end of time. That is not to say that someone with Aspergers cannot be attractive, but, rather I think that many people will only see past our awkwardness after life has taught them to be more tolerant and patient with other people. When we are young we want everything instantously including romantic connections and we need life to teach us that just because something is shiny doesn’t necessarily make it good, in contrast, just because something is rough along the edges doesn’t mean that it is not ultimately the better choice.

Therefore, when people say things like that people should have settled down by age forty or there is something wrong with them, they have no clue what they are talking about. It does mean that if you have Aspergers you really need to work on the flexibility of your joints as if you have your own biological children, you need to be flexible into your late fifties as you don’t want to be the old dad who can no longer play hoops with your son. In addition, you need to be able to still help them move into their first place when they are twenties and you are in your sixties. Therefore, remember to do lots of calisthenics.

What’s in it for me?

Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

  I have been asked to do several comedy shows lately for different organizations. This is something that I should be happy about because it means that I am getting recognition. The thing about the shows that I have been getting, however, I have been asked to do them for free. As an artist I had mixed feelings about this. I felt like it cheapens my art, since people pay for any service or good that they receive and I felt like if I am not getting paid to do these shows they don’t recognize how valuable of a service I am providing. The first show I did was for a conference and I did not ask for money up front because I thought that it would be taboo and that the organization would just give all of their speakers an honorarium. The second show I was asked to do for free for an overnight camp. The camp was doing it in a huge venue and had sold out a venue of over 250 seats with tickets at $18 dollars a person. This seems like a lot of money and yet they were unwilling to give the performers a single dollar. Instead all of the money was going to subsidize camp fees for people who come from underprivileged homes.

  This made me think, while that is great what is in it for me. Shameful thinking I know, but I see all of my comedian friends booking these lucrative shows which are paying them to take part in. On top of that, I am also creating a comedy show to create a dowry to support local artists on the Autistic Spectrum. For that show all of the other performers are getting paid except for myself. Therefore, I was kicking myself for setting it up that way.

     When it hit me, sometimes in life you give and sometimes in life you receive.  Even though sometimes its your turn to give twice in a row before it is your turn to receive. For example, with this overnight camp I can see it as doing it unpaid or I can look at it as it is performing for my biggest audience ever. In addition, they are giving me a table so that I can have a volunteer (once again I receive) sell tickets for my Rumors show and my fundraiser to raise Awareness through the Arts and create this grant program. A grant program that I will most likely apply to and receive a grant from. In addition, one of the people I am working with to create this fundraiser has contacts out in Saskatoon who can help me with their fringe by putting up posters. Then there is the fact that Aspergers Manitoba has agreed to pay for my Fringe Poster and handbills in exchange for putting their logo onto it. The camp show is also letting me build a regular following who will come out and support me for paid shows, when you really boil down to it, I am receiving a lot more than I am giving. Sure what I am receiving isn’t a tangible like money, but it is giving me untangibles such as advertising and in the long run I am coming out the real winner. A person should always give and not worry about what they receive because in turn they will have received more than they put out. That is also true of energy or anything else in life that you always receive more than you give. Therefore, if you whine that life is unfair or you or you are begrudging or stingy than you will in turn receive all of these things in turn. So give positivity and from an open heart and not worry about what is in it for you.