Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

My life has definitely been interesting, I mean for a long time I was in denial of the fact that I was an Aspie. However, doing stand-up comedy made me feel like I could be a real force for educating people about Aspergers and that I was born with it for this specific purpose. After reading dozens of blogs, and seeing that there are in fact many more books written on the topic I am now questioning this role. I mean many of the blogs I have written are much more articulate than anything I could have written and if there are already several books on the topic than I am not exactly breaking ground, striding towards a new frontier and going where people with Aspergers have not gone before.

So where does that leave me, I mean there are few stand-up comedians with Aspergers so for the people who don’t read I do have an opportunity. For how long, I don’t know, because if there is one thing I have learnt about the Asperger community; it is that there is no barrier that they won’t eventually be able to overcome. Therefore, I have to take advantage of my brief window. My book deal that I envisioned coming from this blog may take awhile to happen and may not happen at all due to all the great writer/advocates on the topic. I may have to change the idea so that it is more about Aspergers from the perspective of a stand-up comedian than just Aspergers in general. The number of books coming out on the topic may in fact be a boon making people curious about the topic which comedy can cater to.
There is no way of predicting the trends, therefore, in the end all I can do is keep doing what I am doing.
Therefore, I begrudgingly say good luck to Jodi Carmichael the author of the new local Asperger book “Spaghetti is not a Finger Food”.
spaghetti

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(nothing says failure more than this picture.)

We are taught to fear failure, hate failure. It is instilled into us at a very early age that there is nothing worse than failing. That we need to avoid it at all costs. This, however, is not the case. Failure can be a friend and an ally.

From a very early age I aspired to be a teacher, I dreamt of being a teacher there was nothing more noble or worthwhile of a profession. What can make more of a contribution than to shape the future minds of the world. The people who make the largest contribution in our lives from a young age other than our parents are our teachers. In fact, we often spend more time with our teachers at a young age than we spend with our own parents. A good teacher can stick with us for the rest of our lives. I have multiple teachers who will forever have a warm place in my heart such as Mr. Oberman, my 8th grade english teacher, Dinne Hallis, my kindergarten teacher, Mr. Dempsey, my math teacher. Therefore, I went into the  teaching program at the local university straight out of high school. However, once I got into the actual classroom, I was vastly unfit for teaching. The students would not listen to what I said. They would constantly be talking in the back and as soon as I dealt with one fire, there was another one that would rise up. On top of that there was a little girl who was in the front of the room playing with my overhead. Apparently I had not made the writing on the overhead slide big enough or clear enough. Still I thought, if I simply work harder than I will master classroom management. I was already working harder than any other student-teacher out there and getting less positive results to show for my hardwork. I would have continued down this path and hated every single day, if my evaluator and the program had not sat me down and told me that I was a failure as a teacher and that the profession was simply not right for me.

After getting kicked out of the profession I felt like the biggest failure. I went into a state of depression, where all I could think about was how I had failed and what I could have done differently. I had dreams at night where I was still in the classroom and was a success only to realize that it was a dream. I also had dreams where I had the students walk all over me like a welcome mat and no matter what I tried to do it turned out wrong. If I had simply accepted the signs earlier, maybe, I could have got out before things turned into such a mess.

In addition another time where failure helped me is when I thought I could be a professional actor. I went to a few acting classes and really enjoyed it. I thought if I simply worked hard enough that I could become an actor. I, however, had no conception of body language, I couldn’t do accents for the life of me, and when I did lines with another person I was not actually really listening to them or in the scene but was focusing for the cues when my next line was. It was the most awkward thing ever. Yet I persevered at this for almost a year. I was enthused by the possibility of learning and one day being able to shadow people in different professions and help them get the attention and gratification they deserved. After a year, however,  I was able to accept failure which saved me from a life of endless struggle.

I had the same attitude towards comedy and thought that if I worked hard enough at it I would get to go on all the line-ups. I also failed at this and thus far have only been successful at getting spots on open mics but seeing what I have learnt about failure this is probably for the best. It means that I can enjoy doing it for the sake of doing it and not worry about being the best. Since there will always be someone better. Instead I can focus on comedy as a hobby instead of a potential career like many of the other comedians I perform with.

Don’t get me wrong all of these failures including the current one are disheartening but if you look at them through the right light and think positively you can see that they are all for the best. That failure is not something that I should fear or hate but it is actually simply trying to help me find the path for me and is like a signal that lights up when I go off the right path only to help guide me down the road that I am supposed to go down. In addition, maybe none of these experiences have been in vain but they have helped shape me and tell me where I am supposed to be.

When trying to get a message across you never stop at using one method and say now they should get what I am going for. That is something that I learnt in the classroom. That you need a variety of methods to reach people who prefer to read a blog, while others prefer watching a play or reading a book. I feel that my message is important enough that I have set about writing a fringe festival show for this summer.

  The first thing I set about doing was trying to figure out a name for the production company. When applying to the festival not only do you need to send in money but you also have to provide a production company name. Therefore, with this in mind last night I sat in bed thinking of various names that would both entice an audience and let them know what the show was going to be about. Here is the best name that I have thought of so far “An Autistic Production”. I was trying to play on the words an artistic production by so and so. I also thought of something like Mr. Asperger or Aspergers on the Fringe. Well both of these names sound like they would tie in well with my blog they just did not sound so appealing to me.

  The next thing I did immediately after thinking of a production company name is thought about what I wanted to name it. My first choice at this point is pass the Ass-berger; A story of awkwardness, courage and understanding. I thought that this name was clever because it had Asperger in the name but at the same time I thought it sounded funny. As well, to pass on something is another word for impart in this case what I am passing on knowledge of what it is like to have Aspergers.  It also was inspired by Sarah Silverman’s title for her biography which is the bedwetter: stories of courage, redemption, and pee. I read this book and thought it was hilarious and am a big fan of her work.  

I am not quite sure what I will do for a cover photo, however. Most likely a picture of myself hugging my knees to my body and above this image a double rainbow. I don’t know I am not very visually talented. Therefore, if anyone has any great ideas of how I should design my poster I am all ears.

The show will combine material from both my stand-up comedy as well as material from my blog. For example, having one of my jokes “When I was 12 my mom told me I was Autistic at the time I thought this meant I was predisposed to being an autist. I tried my hand at finger painting that did not work, I tried my hand at pottery that didn’t work so well either. I wasn’t even the best autist in the class that was Kyle. But standing in front of you guys right now I feel like I finally found my Aut, I have never felt more Autistic than I do right now.” Than explaining that my art is not acting but being a stand-up comedian and talk about what it is like growing up with Aspergers.

Stay tuned to see how well this show goes over.

Sincerely

Adam Schwartz

Well, another season of Week Thus Far is fast approaching, and I am very excited to see what the messed up and brilliant minds of the WTF cast can come up with. This crew is made up of a bunch of seasoned comedians, writers, actors and camera men. This means either one of two things either the show will be hilarious or the cast will get so off track having fun with each other that nothing will ever get made. Forunately, the group is able to stay somewhat focused under the stern management of their head-writer Matt Nightingale.  Matt Nightingale does not put up with garbage from owl commericials and he certainly will not put up nonesense from this crew. Often resorting to his Sting impression to get the group back under control. (Only in my head does this actually happen as far as I know.)

To say that I am  jealous  very jealous  of these talented writers and the great show that they put out week after week is an understatement. However, you will never see me working on the show when the staff is that large. I mean, I would constantly be fustrated when my ideas and newspieces don’t get used. Which would be most of the time.  My mind gets ideas that are not readily accepted and I don’t exactly work in the box. Let’s put it this way, most of the time I exist in a different space where Willy Wonka, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is the president and the Twits are the leaders of the opposition. That does not work really well, when you expect other people to listen to or appreciate your ideas.

   However, let’s raise our glasses and give cheer to the crew of WTF and hope this season is as good as the last 3. There have been many memorable characters during that stretch, here are my personal favourites; the Kiji guy, the Newfie Fisherman, Canadian Tuxedo mask, and Old Ball Coach. As well,  my personal favourite episodes or sketches thus far, like the Canadian Tuxedo Masks with Dr. Kevin Da Brow or The Scientist, the Halloween episode where the show’s crew drank disgusting concoctions, as well as the short but memorable video of the WTF staff lining up against the Women’s Bison Hockey team. Check their show out every Monday night at 8 at the Kings’ head Pub or Tuesdays on Shaw TV.

Images from

“26 May 2011. It’s Still Easter Season! Clink your Glasses” Accessed 17 September 2012. From http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/26-may-2011-its-still-the-easter-season-clink-your-glasses/p/

Week Thus far

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  

As you all know by now I try to write a new post every single day. However, not all the posts are of equal quality or even on the same topic. The only really unifying factors are that they have all been written by me and most of the posts have had to do with Aspergers. However, I have written posts about the media, about travelling about previous experience in my life. Some posts have been insightful and meaningful such as my post on reading body language when you have Aspergers, while other posts have been as meaningless as my favourite stupid movies. In addition some posts have been extremely personal such as my feelings of being discriminated against having Aspergers, while others have been as unpersonal as my feelings that Britney Spears would not be a good judge or mentor.

  Will my post tomorrow be about how unsuccessful I am with women, which is most likely going to be the case unless something miraculously changes somehow. Will it be about what I have learnt about relationships with women through more insight gleaned from Plenty of Fish? About how it is almost impossible to make relationships that start off of that website work, even though I have known a couple who were with each other a long time after meeting on there. 

  Or will my post be related more to my friendships such as the post I wrote about having Aspergers and how this affects my ability to make friends. Will it focus on one particular friend like my blog on Yuri Kimura? Most likely not because I don’t feel quite so comfortable about writing that kind of post. I am worried that people generally don’t like to be written about and want more privacy. I have no problem mentioning someone in my blog when they relate but that is usually only a brief mention. My mother who I am quite close with and is my best friend thinks I shouldn’t mention anyone at all. Especially by name.  When I have asked people if they mind being mentioned, however, they have informed me that this is not the case.

  Will something in the media catch my eye? Will it be caught by something that I am excited about such as the hit television show Smash? Or will it be something that repulses and tickles my funny bone like anything about Britney Spears?

  Or will I really have nothing to really talk about therefore throw something together so that my blog is consistent and daily like my blog on stupid movies? My friend Meghan who’s a professional writer and really insightful and smart when it comes to lots of things such as writing says that a person should try and write everyday even if it isn’t their best work but just to keep improving their skills.

 Will the article be about what I find sexy in girls like my blog about girls with tattoos and girls without tattoos? What else are turn-ons or offs to me. Who I think the sexiest girl alive that I’ve ever met or seen on television?

  Who knows what tomorrow holds in store, I definitely don’t. All I can do is reflect on the blogs I have written in the past. Which happily I can say number 54 in all.

So as my social science’s experiment of me trying out plenty of fish comes to a close here are my two major findings. The findings are not presented in any order based on weight of the insight.

   1. First I found out that I hate people who toss around the terms LOL (Laugh out Loud) or any equivalent word signifying that they are laughing, lightly. First I doubt if when they write that they are actually laughing out loud, therefore, when I actually do type in something hilarious I doubt their sincerity in appreciating the joke. It’s just like if every time you asked someone “how they are?” in conversation and they replied “amazing” then you really have no way of gauging how they really are. Second of all that word begins to lose all significance when talking to them or when talking to other people. If someone actually is “LOL”ing and they type LOL in at this point I am so jaded that I am like “Whatever”. Which is a darn tooting shame because LOL is really actually quite the smart acronym before it was overused. This is also how I often feel when listening to many songs on the radio. For example, Lonely Island’s “I am on a boat” is actually quite a funny song which I hate because it was overplayed on the radio or bars within the first week of me hearing the song. If someone is a LOLer I am likely going to want to end the relationship before I really get a chance to know them, like I did with a girl on Plenty of Fish “POF”. Granted I am extremely biased and if a Victoria Secret Model was beginning every message with LMFAO or haha I would probably reluctantly drudge through it.

    Second observation, spelling and grammar really matter when that is all someone has to judge your intelligence by. If anyone has been following this blog, or admittedly reads a single blog, you will find within my work poor spelling and grammar scattered around. Therefore, this is probably a major turn-off to any potential relationships on POF. This could be one reason why I have been so far unsuccessful in starting relationships on the aforementioned website. A grammar mistake does not only suggest lack of intelligence but lack of care of the other person as well as how one presents oneself so I completely understand why this would be a turn-off but as you can all imagine it still happens. One girl was actually lecturing me on POF about my grammar mistakes and that was super annoying  SUPER ANNOYING.  Spelling and grammar also matter on WordPess, therefore, this could partly explain why my “views” or “likes” are way down compared to some other members websites. The people who know me power through my mistakes realizing that there is more to me than my poor writing would let on, while, strangers are turned off and turn off. This is only one theory, however, that I have postulated for my numbers. In my defence realizing this problem I did have an editor for a short while but she quickly quit when she realized the sheer amount of work involved.

   Back to the POF findings. It could also be that the girls who I messaged can be considered “10”s by POF standard, which admittedly is not as tough grading as regular life. While the pictures I posted on POF on the other hand would earn me a 7.523 for looks on the regular life scale and 8.3 according to the POF standard therefore the girls may not have any interest in meeting me.

In conclusion: Live Long and Prosper! Also that maybe POF just is not right for me and that I prefer the old-fashioned trying to meet people face-to-face. I just have to go and find new venues to meet people instead of spending all my time in comedy bars if I am actually interested in meeting people or accept that the fun I get from hanging out with the same people and watching quality entertainment outweighs my need for a romantic relationship.

I have nothing against online dating, many people have met their partner this way. There is no less dignity to finding someone online as there is at the bar for those who are shyer and don’t have a way with their words. Dating a colleague is a major no-no and can only lead to trouble especially when everyone you work with is at least ten years your senior. I have asked my friends to keep their eyes open for single girls who they think would be a good fit for me most of the time they come up with a major blank. Maybe they are ashamed of me, maybe they are worried that their female friends will never look at them the same way again. Maybe they just don’t think anyone is good enough for me who can tell? But chances are its not the last one. That leaves several options such as taking a pottery class  or hoping that a girl will want to talk to me after my set and get to know a funny likeable guy. So far this has not happened, and I have been to busy with comedy for the former. I could hit on patrons who come into the library and check out their materials, but for one thing this is creepy for another thing it would probably ultimately end up costing me my job.

      Then there is online dating, I have a hard enough time making small talk in daily conversation with friends who are female, nevermind trying to read someones bio and pick out an aspect that I can make conversation about and they are usually quite clear they do not simply want small talk such as “hey” or “hi” or “what’s up?” Nor do they want something to forward and flirtatious which I have a hard time being in the first place. I simply do not want to scare them off, therefore, I don’t know what to write in that all important first message which breaks or makes a relationship. “Like nice Tattoo” “you like animals me too. What kind of dog do you have? I have a kern terrier?” or “so I see you like travelling where did you travel last to, what is your favourite destination?” feel free to use any of these lines I have and none of them have worked for me. “You like funny guys, I see well I am stand up comedian!” 

     Also all the girls have these really flirty pictures of themselves trying to look sexy but then they talk about how they are simple girls who only care about spending time with their families and friends. In addition, well I am photogenic enough I really don’t do sexy pictures well.  What am I supposed to do show them my flabby stomache where my rockhard abs are supposed to be?

      Another problem could be that I usually only contact pretty girls out of my league after reading their bios and in turn only get contacted by girls who don’t care about me as a person but want to date me because I am cute.

   People always think they have found the new best website for dating such as Jdate or another program but they are all equally bad as plenty of Fish.

In the meantime I can just sit by my computer at work and wait for a reply.

How do you make sense of how successful your blog is? Anyway you do it, the best a person can be working on is misleading information.

Page views: Some people may judge how successful they have been based on the number of people who have clicked on their pages. However, the page views never tell a person how many people have actually read the article or whether they clicked away after three sentences. Did they read the whole article? A person could argue that it is better to have fewer people view it who actually really liked it then many page views of people indifferent to the article and the blog. Statistically, however, a person always wants to see a bigger number not a smaller number, not stopping to try and figure out the story behind what they are seeing. Also page views can go up or down based off of what tags a person uses, someone who is into fashion may come across an article I wrote expecting a more indepth look into fashion while I used fashion in a more widespread way but felt the need to include that tag. A person into fashion would most likely click away. While missing a few tags makes it harder for people who would actually be interested in the article miss it.

Most viewed articles: See what I had to say about tagging articles in the previous paragraph and how this to is misleading instead of a way of judging what kind of articles you should be writing about.

Likes: A person can click like on an article that they enjoyed. However, this statistic like all statistics is misleading. What do they like about it? Do they like the image that you included? do they like the small segment of the article that they read or did they read the whole thing?  Are they supportive friends or are they strangers who have no personal connection? A supportive friend is great but they are often more predisposed to being generous. However, it is equally important to trying to keep them happy. A stranger clicking “like” to an article makes one feel better that someone you don’t know is reading your article and enjoying it. A cynical person would suggest, however, that viewing many pages other people wrote and clicking “like” is a good way to get people to come back to your own page.

Number of people following: This statistic is also a heartwarming statistic that does not tell the full story. What about all the people who read a couple of your article but don’t click follow because they don’t want to be bombarded by email? Is it better to have a small number of loyal followers and have a really honest personal blog that many people may not relate to? or is it better to aim for a mainstream audience where the followers may not be as die-hard? In addition, just because you are following another person’s blog does not mean you read the whole thing, or that you even check it regularly.

Personal feelings: A person may feel that the article they just wrote is the best or that they are writing a really good, important blog. That they are really successful and that the people reading them will really enjoy their work. That they know what is important. However, personal feelings is the most subjective biased way of deciding anything and therefore, quite possibly the least accurate way.

Messages: Who doesn’t like some back and forth communication on one of their blogs. However, not every person who reads a blog will have anything to say about it or even if they do they may be exhausted from a long day of work therefore, may simply click “like” and who is to good to turn these people away. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t take anything away or that they didn’t gain some new insight that just means that they didn’t have anything they had anything to say or that they wanted to say at that moment in time.

A mix of all the measures: Some people may argue that you can only get a complete picture by taking into account all the other statistics and indicators in order to truly tell how successful you are, however, if the statistics are all lies or  misleading at best how do you honestly think that by looking at them you will get a clearer picture? That is like trying to figure out a really tough puzzle by looking at senseless riddles.

Financial success: If anyone achieves financial success, gets tickets to shows or gets any real recognition for their work on a blog in the outside world that would be rare and second, yes that would be a real indicator of a successful blog. However, just because your blog never nets you that perfect job does not mean that it is not good or worth reading and writing.

It simply means that success is fleeting and hard to nail down. Write your blog if you enjoy it don’t worry about succeess, and the second you stop enjoying it simply stop writing it.

  So I was talking to another writer the other day and she was telling me that I have to have a regular schedule for posts, whether that’s daily, weekly etc. The hardest part about any performance piece or any time of writing is being consistent. Especially on demand. There are few things tougher than writing your best work when you have a deadline looming like a giant wave ready to drown you. First it seems far off, so you feel that you can put it off, there is nothing to worry about. You’ll have plenty of time to think of great ideas. But it keeps getting closer and closer and you still have not thought of that award winner. That idea that will knock everyone’s socks off. Until you feel ready to drown, meanwhile, you are trying to save yourself by scribbling down an idea as fast as you can. You know its not your best work but anything to buy you a little breathing room so that you are not swallowed up. Just as that wave is about to hit you, you hit publish. You have saved yourself for another day. It may have not been your best work but you hope maybe you can fool a few folks into liking it. You sigh a sigh of relief and then you clear your eyes and gaze out and there is another baby wave far off in the distance.

     Don’t get me wrong writing blogs is easy. Anyone can do it. Just like anything is easy, the hard part is doing something well. But the only way to really get good at something is by doing it often enough. To write often you need to learn how to come up with ideas and once you have wrote a few blogs you feel lost about what you are going to write about next. While the whole time the wave is getting larger. After a while, you begin to reject the first few ideas that come into your head because its not simply good enough to just write about anything. No, the quality of the idea is just as important as the quantity and after every blog it becomes harder to think of another quality idea because you begin to have covered more and more territory. The convenient and save places to stand where you will be save from the waves  are no longer visible,  and frankly when you look around its difficult to see where the next one is going to come from.  You begin to get scared, it’s not simply enough to be protected from the waves but you have to make progress towards the far shore. Make more allies in this fight and get them to stick with you  after all what’s the point of making it to the other side if you are all alone? How can you compete against your earlier success when things were easier and there was less at stake. At the time you didn’t know how easy it was or even if you were making the right dicisons, but now things seem so much harder. How are you going to predict what will work again? While you keep wishing victories would  simply come to you like some kind of conjurer’s trick.  Something that goes poof out of thin air that you just need to simply  reach out and grab and not waste blood and tears on. 

  The pressure from on the oncoming waves, the exhaustion and fear coming from fighting the fight is enough for a person to want to quit and get out of the ocean. Let someone else deal with the waves.  Just as you are beginning to stand up and walk to the shore, you think “what the heck” I’ll give it one more try. At this moment you realize that you are addicted, no matter how difficult staying one step ahead is you figure what the heck is there anything else I would rather be doing? And you realize-no- I guess not. There is nothing like having people admire you for being a great writer (no matter how false this rings to your ears) and no one so far has called me out on my terrible entries and failures that have fallen short so there is nothing to do but keep going.

Earlier in the beginning of this blog I said there are few things harder than writing well, consistently. One of those things is attracting an audience and another is talking to women. It would be easier for me to write a million award winning blogs, than it would be to ask a girl out for coffee and get a yes.

PS. Canada’s women’s soccer team was robbed by the referees who wanted to keep the status quo and keep the underdog down tisk tisk.

Shout out to Tyler Penner.