Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7 Reasons Why People with Asperger Syndrome can Never, Ever be Writers

Sorry, Herman Melville, Jane Austin, Hans Christian Anderson, but you can't have existed. Or at least, not existed with the Asperger Syndrome folks are convinced you had. As it says in Xanthippa's Chamberpot: "Writing is one of the major woes for people with Aspergers."
Here are the three reasons she gives, followed by more cynical ones of my own:

  1. Children with Asperger Syndrome have too much trouble with the mechanics of writing.
  2. Short term memory problems--- the ideas rush by so fast, you forget what you were writing by the end of the word.
  3. People with Asperger Syndrome can speak on any topic at great length, but are inhibited when it comes to writing it down, because that makes it too official.
  4. Aspies soon learn that if you write things down, people, especially schoolteachers, can find it and ruin it for you. So you must never, ever write things down.
  5. Aspies have odd special interests and so won't want to write on the topics that the mass market wants to read about. 
  6. Aspies find it near to impossible to attract friends, so how can they possibly attract readers for their book?
  7. Aspies have something called a 'lack of executive function' which is pretty much the same thing as Attention Deficit Disorder. How can you be a writer when your novel-notes are in a giant paper-pile along with old Christmas cards and a list of your Vampire Wars friends?

A bit gloomy, isn't it? And I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with Xanthippa, in spite of the cool name. Writing has never been MY woe, but the one area in which I could shine. Here is some commentary on the above list:

  1. The mechanics of writing has never been my problem. But if it is for you, who cares? Schools aren't even teaching handwriting any more. Folks can use a computer instead.
  2. Who cares if you forget some of those fast-flowing ideas? Jot down notes to capture enough of your brilliant ideas to finish the project at hand. Your brain that generates the idea-flow can generate all the ideas you need no matter how many you forget.
  3. If you can speak about it, you can write about it. Ever notice that the fellow who can't get around to writing a college paper or finishing his novel can spend an hour or more goofing off online--- writing to express himself? Just transfer that writing-energy to your novel and you are set.
  4.  As you grow up, you learn that the rude things folks might have once said about your writing were pretty dull-witted rude things. You CAN learn to have a thicker skin. 
  5. Those weird aspie special interests are what make your writing interesting and unique.
  6. The things that make an aspie unpopular as a real-life friend makes him more attractive as a writer.
  7. You can learn to organize your paper pile with paper trays, and put all the stuff from your current writing project in a binder so you can find it.

So, maybe it's true that with Asperger Syndrome I can never ever be a real writer. Maybe I'm doomed to be a failure like Herman Melville. I can live with that.


Lara Schiffbauer said...

I love this post! I don't know why people feel they have to limit others.

Nissa Annakindt said...

I think in this instance it's a case of people with Asperger Syndrome thinking all of their own particular difficulties are typical of all folks with Asperger Syndrome.

Ana Parreira said...

I agree with you.
I am a writer and I am an Asperger. People love what I write, that is what most say.
I am writing a book right now about Aspergers and some aspects of my life, and believe it will be well accepted. By the way, as my book is being written in Portuguese (I´m Brazilian), I look for someone who could translate it into English as this is not my native language. I live in Campinas email

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