I think a lot of people come here looking for information about autism, or about “how autism affects me”. Because that’s how I’ve been presented to the world a number of times, and it’s also what’s generally expected as autistic people’s role in life. Some of the people who come here looking for that seem to get very angry about the fact that I’m not exactly as advertised (by others). Others seem to have been happy about it. But anyway.
While I do talk about some of that stuff, it’s not really my main focus here. But there are a lot of autistic people where it is their main focus. And I collect books by autistic people. I’ve been meaning to make a searchable index of them for years, and it just hasn’t happened. My skills don’t seem to run in that direction.
But people have always asked me “Is there a book on this sort of thing?” or “Is there a book by this sort of autistic person?” and so forth. And I’ve usually been able to come up with a book, or a whole list of books.
So I’ve come up with a page for it. That page is called I can help you look for books by autistic people. If you want to ask about it, please go to that page ( http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?page_id=483 ), please do not post your comment on the post I’m writing right now. Please be as specific as possible about what you want, so that it is easier for me to look for it. If I do not mention something in my answer, other people can feel free to chime in with other books that fit the question. There are books I can’t afford yet, so that will probably be inevitable.
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.
I’m doing this one photographically. The photographs that have larger versions can be clicked on to see them. I’ll do photographs and then the stories behind them. Not sure how random they are, they’re all stuff I found in different areas of the house though.
These are the innards of a particular clock. My parents apparently found it in the attic somewhere and have no clue where it came from. It doesn’t work too well now, but throughout much of my childhood it did. My parents said that its gong was one of the first sounds I responded greatly to, and it was with apparent recognition and great interest (the apparent recognition led to speculation I’d heard it in the womb already, no clue if that’s possible or not). I can remember in older childhood running to watch the workings behind it whenever I heard the first few clicks winding up for it to gong.
2) Beam tree
This is called a beam tree, and we had one in the house because my dad worked at SLAC. It’s another thing I remember staring at a lot. In this case, there was a base a friend of his made, that had a light in it with a rotating colored filter. This meant it would light up in all different colors. I didn’t even realize how rare they used to be until I got older, nor did I understand how they’re made. Basically, they’re made by sticking a slab of plastic at the end of a particle accelerator and bombarding it with electrons. Then a person touches it with a piece of metal in a certain spot, and all the electrons escape. The tree-like shape is the escape path of the electrons.
You can see one being made here:
That field guide to birds is the first book I ever read, and apparently memorized a good deal of it. I was quite young at the time. I particularly remember my favorite word ORIOLE (which is black and purple), and because the word was black and purple (due to the O and R), confusing it with the black and purple coloring on the next page, which appears now to be attached to a grackle.
These days, though, my favorite book is a children’s book, Momo by Michael Ende, and my preferred reading is children’s fiction.
This is from a scrapbook my parents made from when I was a kid. For reference, I did not at the time understand the words concepts of humidity, relative anything, water vapor, or percentages. I was copying this almost word for word out of a book.
From the same scrapbook, astronomy stuff that I apparently gave to my parents given it has their name on it. I don’t remember if that was from a book or not. Astronomy was a Big Thing of mine for awhile, I devoured the entire section at the library. Just random kid geekery I guess.
5) Message bracelet
Speaking of which… I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a whole lot of little neurotypical girls who, when asked to make a message bracelet, would come out with something like this. My brothers taught me to use a VIC-20 to make patterns on the screen pretty early, things like this are the result.
I used to collect these, this is only one of the remnants of that collection (I gave most of it away before moving). I used to have an entire shelf full of cats in ceramic, wood, rubber, and any other form I could find them in. Cats, as you can gather, have been another Big Thing for me. When I was in sixth grade I wrote my autobiography as roughly, “We had cats named Tiger and Mouse and Calico. Then Mouse had kittens twice and there were Smokey and Tangerine, but Tangerine’s name got changed to Frank. They all ran away when we moved but Smokey and Frank came back. Then a black cat showed up in our woodpile and got named Jenny before we figured out he was a boy.” And so forth, going on at great length about the fur length, coloring, and appearance of all the cats.
7) Tape measure
I found this lying on the road in Boulder Creek, California, which is where I lived when I first moved away from my parents. It had clearly been beat up and run over a bunch of times. It’s become one of those comfortable objects that I take with me places for familiarity purposes — it feels good in my hand. And it also has ties to another kind of object I used to use that way. When I was in school, I carried a lot of bags around with me (people frequently made the pun with my last name because of this). One of the things I did was I’d pick up rulers and put them in the bag. I unfortunately wasn’t grasping the idea that it wasn’t nice to nab other people’s rulers. I amassed quite a collection. Oddly enough, I never got in trouble for it, but I did get a bunch of kids chanting “Thief! Thief! Thief!” when they saw how many of them I had. I suppose they had a point. (Don’t worry, I’ve since grasped the idea of property.)
This is something my friend Natalia sent me, along with a wooden cat. The wooden cat fits perfectly in my hands and has gotten so familiar so fast (and used as another of those familiarity objects) that people often ask me if I’ve had it for ages, but really these things were only sent last year. The ornament is really cool because it’s got little pieces of colored plastic in the middle that look neat when held close to your eyes, and can also be fiddled with and spun in circles. Natalia is particularly talented at picking out things that really suit me in some way.
So I have to tag a bunch of people. Hmm. I hope I haven’t overlapped with anyone’s tagging, and I’m not even sure all these people participate in things like this, but here goes: