Feline Focus

Feline Focus
My latest puma, July 2016


Beloved companion to Sarah, Nov 2015

Window To The Soul

Window To The Soul
Watercolour Horse, June 2015

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties
Watercolour Lionesses, Nov 2012


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."

Groucho Marx

Snow Stalker

Snow Stalker
Another snow leopard - my latest watercolour offering - July 2013

31 July 2016


The AA Big Book on the left, along with other recovery literature

This is the second idea I’ve had for a ‘series’ (along with the Literary Inspiration one), in order to give areas of my writing some focus, and to hopefully help with the issue of continuity on my blog.

As I have alluded to on numerous occasions, I use the 12 Step Programme of AA to stay recovered, and to help me live my life (more effectively in some areas than others).  It is the primary framework around which I have built my world, and without which I would be completely lost (as opposed to only vaguely so).

My original intention when I started the blog, back just after I’d acquired my Asperger’s diagnosis, was to write about my life as an autistic, but with a focus on applying the principles I’d learnt within the Programme to this new facet of my life.  

It didn’t quite turn out that way, mostly because I kept struggling to try to fit autism within my literal interpretation of the parameters of the illness and recovery model of the 12 Steps, as written down in the Big Book.  Instead of adapting the Programme to fit it, I was constantly trying to adapt the autism to fit the Programme: it didn’t work.  It doesn’t work.  It’s not meant to work like that, even when using it for its original purpose of dealing with alcoholism.  And even there, I had a hard time getting to grips with it, because of my rigid, literal-minded, autistic brain.  But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to work it, just not like this. 

And what that way is, I’m not really sure: I have no definitive answers, and I’m still frequently bothered and bewildered by it all, but I thought that a way of dealing with it might be to investigate the Big Book (and other relevant 12 Step literature), but in a different way.  Rather than approaching it in my typically rigid manner (ie believing that the only  ‘right’ way to do it means starting at the beginning, and working in chronological order), I would work organically, and go with the flow of how my own brain works; and it doesn’t work linearly, much as I might try to force it to do.

Inside of each of my well-used books

So to clarify, this is not meant as some kind of blog version of a traditional Big Book Study Group (which would be difficult anyway, given that there’s no way to interact as I don’t have a comments section.  There is a reason for this, but I won’t go into it here).  I’m not trying to teach anything (not my understanding of the Programme, as it applies to alcoholism, or overeating, etc, of which I do have long-term experience).  
I’m simply trying to share - which may include some of my experience and knowledge about what works for me in those areas (as prompted by the literature), but mostly I’m hoping that it can help to shed light on the areas of difficulty I have; how to deal with the business of living with the WHOLE of me on a daily basis; and inspire me to change what I can, and make peace with myself for what I can’t.
Most of all, this is the experience of an AUTISTIC alcoholic, compulsive overeater/undereater/bulimic, general addict, social anxiety sufferer, with adhd (have I forgotten anything??!)  I have no idea what the non-autistic version of all of these things feels like, though I’ve seen a lot of examples of them, and they seemed strangely ‘normal’ - less intense.  You have been warned.

I’m doing this primarily to help myself, but I hope that it will be of benefit to anyone out there reading it.  You also need to know that I won’t be following a schedule (just another word for a  plan!), so expect them when they arrive - hopefully more than once a year.

May you find hope, peace, joy, and love, and a simple path through the often confusing mass that is life - one day at a time.


30 July 2016



“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”
“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.

A beautifully succinct, and funny, example of the difference between a glass half-empty, and a glass half-full personality.  

This exchange takes place between Piglet (the quintessentially anxious character), and Pooh, whose positivity knows no bounds, and who blithely glides through life, distracted by his love of honey, and bits of poetry that come and find him.  

I am, of course, a Piglet (in the case of this particular character trait); except when I’m being a Pooh, about food especially.

The chapter from which the quote is taken
One of my favourite books (or series of two, to be precise), which I bewilderingly never read as a child, but fortunately was introduced to when I was thirty - an age more suited to the appreciation of the finely-nuanced characters, and the subtle humour.  Not something you could say about the Disney version. 

29 July 2016

Obsessed Much?

Some of my obsessions

Why yes, now that you come to mention it, I believe I am.  Why do I sound so surprised by that?  After all, obsession is my brain’s default mode.  It’s not as if I discovered this only recently.  But there you have it: Lisa + obsession = surprised.

So it’s been just over a week since I had The Talk with my friend about my blogging, and decided to alter the way I approach it.  Since then I have posted four times in the last week - a bloody miracle!!  It usually takes me a lot more than a week to write one thing.  Last year I only managed to post four times in total - FOUR TIMES IN FIFTY-TWO WEEKS! - so I’ve already equalled that amount, and am about to surpass it in one month.  I must have had a REALLY bad year last year, ‘cos I also only managed to paint one picture, so I can’t blame it on the fact that I was doing more painting.  Bugger.

But it’s not only that I’ve posted more, there are also the photographs.  I can’t believe I’ve not tried that before!  It’s so much fun.  What is wrong with me that I’ve not thought to do it until now?  It’s not as if I haven’t seen other people doing it on their blogs.  It seems that nearly everyone does it.  And I like it.  It brightens the place up, makes it look more interesting than just a lot of words on a page.  

But no, for some reason to do with my one-track brain, I decided that I was going to stick to one form of illustration, and that was with my painting.  Keep it all uniform; boring; rigid.  Makes it a bit difficult as well when I’m not actually doing any painting.  I think I thought that this would serve as some kind of motivation for me to do more.  Yeah, that went well.

So yes, I’m obsessed with blogging.  It only took me ’til a week later to realise it.  But I got there.  And then I started worrying about it ‘cos obsessing is bad, right?  And what would happen if/when I lost interest (as I usually do), and then reverted to how it was?  How could I stop that from happening?  Blog more.  Panic blog.  Obsessively blog!  Hello?  Wasn’t that the thing I was worried that I was already doing?  Are there any brain cells at all inside my head not running around deliriously without a clue, like little people with their arms flailing about in the air?  Is anyone in charge up there??

I have a problem with the word ‘obsession’.  I will talk about being excited or enthused, but not obsessed - unless it relates to something negative, and then I will happily whip it out to beat myself around the head with.

Another obsession

I have come to associate it with negative connotations (due to a great extent to my time around the AA community), so I assume that it is a bad thing, which needs correcting.  To admit that I am obsessed is to admit that I am somehow at fault; that I am doing something wrong; that I have ‘allowed’ myself to get distracted by something that invokes the obsessive gene in me; that I am not using or applying my 12 step programme correctly.  

And what also confuses me, and makes this worse, is the fact that neurotypicals of all descriptions (even alcoholics, and suchlike) use the word arbitrarily, usually to describe something they’re really into - which sounds like what I’m experiencing, but isn’t quite.  But I just can’t explain what it is that’s different, so it sounds like I’m making a distinction based on a false technicality, in order to excuse myself for something which I think I should, actually, be able to get over if I really wanted to.

You have no idea how much I’ve really wanted to get over the way my brain works (or maybe you do, especially if you’re autistic or have adhd).  Except that the way that I stop obsessing about one thing is to move on to the next: there’s no break from it, no interim period of ‘normal’ thinking.  Just one thing after another.  

Now to a non-autistic this might sound really awful, or sad, or limited, or any number of things.  But the fact is that, unless I’m obsessing about the fact that I obsess, I don’t actually notice it because it is just the way I think: it’s as natural to me as breathing.  There is no ‘obsessive gene’, as such, which only gets triggered by certain things.  It’s not the things that cause the problem, but the brain.  I just think this way about everything.  

Nor is it always a problem to me, unless the thing I get obsessed with is negative, or leads to something negative (like internet trawling), or someone points it out (to basically let me know that I’m boring the arse off of them).  And then I start worrying about it: obsessively.  Endless fucking cycle. 

So, I have a pattern.  Lock onto something (yoga, for instance); get consumed by it (read, think, talk, possibly do if it’s action-based); either lose interest and move onto the next thing; or integrate it into my life, and gradually (hopefully) lose some of the initial intensity of the obsession.  This is what happened with yoga, and I now mostly just do it, and don’t talk or read about it because that just serves to fire up my obsession.

Much as I hate to admit it, I haven’t got a fucking clue how to manage this thing.  My go-to solution is always to follow a plan (another bloody obsession of mine - plans!), and the one thing guaranteed to fail is a plan.  I have yet to find a satisfactory method for dealing with this, other than the vague notion that I should be turning it over to God; but then I have no clear idea how that translates into practical action.  I’m not even certain that what I’ve just written about it in this post is correct.  What appeared to be a perfectly logical explanation seems to get all wobbly once it’s outside of my head.  Ho hum.

But apart from the whole issue of obsession, I have enjoyed my new-found enthusiasm for blogging this week.  I just would like for it to continue, and not to burn out from being so hyped-up.  I fear that the word with which I have but a fleeting acquaintance, in both understanding and practice (‘balance’), is going to make an appearance somewhere as part of the solution.  

I wish you peace and joy (and balance!) in your life.


26 July 2016


A small selection of my books, presided over by a small Pooh

I love quotes - which you may have noticed if you’ve looked around my blog.  Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room to fit in as many as I would like, otherwise there would hardly be space for anything else.  (I am thinking of adding another Page to the sidebar, for other random quotes I’ve collected.  Probably to be called “Quote Unquote”.)

I also love books.  And, since a lot of great quotes come from literature, I’ve decided to combine the two, and start what will hopefully be a regular series of posts where I share favourite quotes or passages from my books, with a few of my own thoughts about it, and a photo or two of said book attached (as it’s given me a reason to use the camera I’ve had, and hardly used, for nearly three years).

Just to reassure you, despite the possible implications of the title, this is not going to be filled with words from great, deep (the kind you need a JCB for to dig up the meaning), heavy, worthy, ’classic’ works of literature; nor, even, any such recent books.  

That is not the kind of stuff that I like: it bores the arse off of me, and I am hopeless at finding the deeper, symbolic meaning in those stories, despite the fact that I love the English language, and seem to have been born with a natural affinity for it.  Well, for using it: trying to understand everyone else’s use of it tends to leave me flummoxed.

I did take 'A' Level English Literature at college, where we studied and analysed great works of literature.  Well, at least, everyone else did: I simply floundered, and failed miserably at it.  I think it might have derailed my love of reading for a long time after that.  Mind you, for some perverse reason when I left college I started reading more classic books - like the whole of the Brontë canon, and Thomas Hardy, along with things we hadn’t studied, like Jane Austen.  I don’t know what’s going on in my brain half the time.  

A large Pooh with a different view

Ironically, despite it being thirty years ago since I left college, I do remember all of the books we studied; they were indelibly imprinted into my brain through repeated analysis.  Therefore, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane, and share the joy with you.  So here they are:

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer 
Thankfully we only studied one of them (can’t remember the name now, but it was one of the lesser-known ones).  It was in the original “olde" English, which we had to translate into modern English, before having to interpret the bloody thing!  The only thing I can remember is that there was an old, blind man with a very young wife, and she was having an affair with some young bloke.  The husband found this out in an embarrassingly explicit scene when, having had his sight come back, he went to tell her, only to find them having sex in a tree.  Bizarre.  And tedious.  And completely mind-boggling to me: why, and how, would anyone have sex in a tree?  

Othello by William Shakespeare 
Early example of interracial marriage, and the power of jealousy to destroy.  And a symbolic description of a slimy toad.  Again with the having to translate it first, though not so dense as Chaucer.  Nothing could be so dense as Chaucer.  Not too bad after having the imagery and language explained (so that basically covers the whole thing then), though I wouldn’t understand it by myself.  But I remember the main characters - Desdemona, Iago, Cassio, and, of course, the eponymous Othello.  And there’s dying.

Richard the Second by William Shakespeare 
The less famous of the two Richards (the other one being the Third, and having a hump).  Sad bloke, bit whiney, completely lacking in any self-awareness, especially of how he got himself in this mess.  Vaguely recall the famous speech about “this sceptred Isle, this England…”, and characters called Bolingbroke, and John of Gaunt.  And Richard dies in the end.  Of course.  

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë  
Oh my God, one of the most torturous, tortuous, and utterly tedious books I’ve ever read.  I just wanted to slap Cathy, and drop Heathcliff off a cliff.  I’m happy to say I think they both died in the end.  

The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley  
I think we must have really hammered at this one because not only do I remember the plot (boy goes to stay with his friend, falls in love with friend’s much older sister; sister is having affair with local farmer, which is forbidden ‘cos he’s lower class; sister and farmer use boy to deliver messages between them; sister and farmer get caught in flagrante delicto; all goes pear-shaped, blah blah blah.  All very heart-wrenching and tedious), but I also remember the first line: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”  Plus a scene with a red bicycle, which is meant as a phallic symbol, ‘cos it’s just before the sister and the farmer get caught having sex.  Went right over my head.  No death, just heart-wrenching separation and longing.  I longed to be separated from the book.

Volpone by Ben Jonson  
About a man (a costermonger, I think) whose name (the title of the book) reflects his character - literal translation ‘the Fox’: wily, sneaky, sly, and untrustworthy.  I think he tries to seduce the daughter of some wealthy merchant, but I’m not certain.  By the time we got to this book in the course, I think I’d lost the will to live.  And the ability to retain any more information.

The Return of The Native by Thomas Hardy  
I mistakenly thought this was going to be about a black person in Africa (I had a one-dimensional interpretation of the word ‘native’ at that time).  So you can imagine my surprise when it turned out to be about some white woman returning to her home somewhere in England (or was it Wales?  It eludes me, the tale was so riveting.  Perhaps I’m getting confused because I think there was a t.v. version made with Catherine Zeta Jones, who is Welsh).  And that’s about as much as I can remember, other than that, as with all Hardy books, it was terribly fraught, dark, and depressing, and someone probably died at the end.  Oh, and lots and lots of symbolism, to do with the scenery.  Which was dark, dank, and donk.*

A few more books

And there you have a brief history of my literary history.  Thankfully I eventually moved on from all of that, and I found stuff that I really liked (as opposed to more of the stuff I thought I should like, due to my literary aspirations, and my unfortunate autistic propensity for absorbing and copying whatever I come into contact with).  This means Terry Pratchett, and a whole lot of children’s books - especially Winnie the Pooh (the REAL one, NOT the Disney one), The Secret Garden, and The Chronicles of Narnia.  Expect lots of quotes to be culled from these.

In keeping with my newly discovered enthusiasm for blogging, based on the principle of NOT following a plan, I will not be making proclamations about how often, and on what day, I shall be posting these snippets.  That way lies madness - and the inevitability that I shall end up doing the opposite, which could mean not at all, ’cos that’s in my nature.  

I am hoping to post them regularly, but that could mean anything from once a week to once a month, or even (God forbid) once a year, and anything in-between: so expect them when they arrive.  I’m also hoping that, in the new spirit of continuity I am attempting to achieve, they will serve as inspiration for me to stay connected to my blog, giving me something to write if I run out of ideas for a random post.  I guess we’ll see.  I’m trying to go with the flow, and let things evolve organically, rather than attempting to force them to follow a path I’ve dictated is the right one (which is based on what I’ve read about how everyone else does it).

So there we go.  I’ll shut up now.  This was meant to be a short introduction, but see what I mean?  I say I’m going to do one thing, and the opposite occurs.  I will shut up now.  Bye bye.  Happy reading. 

* This is a line from one of The Goon Show episodes.  I can’t remember which one. 

23 July 2016

Evolving In Circles

Wol (or Owl, for the uninitiated) safeguarding my copy of the Big Book

“a) … we could not manage our own lives.”    Page 60 - Alcoholics Anonymous basic text

Here again?  So soon??!  Yep.  I’m either full-on, or full-off, like a faulty thermostat with no temperature control: you can either have it hot or cold, but there’s no in-between.  And at the moment my mind is popping with thoughts that I want to write down.  It’s great, in a semi-exhausting kind of way.    

It’s also a bit like with buses (just to labour the similes a little longer - stick with it, I will eventually get to the point): you don’t see one that’s going in the right direction for ages, and then three turn up all at once.  Well, unless you live here in Misterton, of course, where we get one scheduled bus every two hours, so if I miss it I’m buggered.  And by the time the next one is due to arrive, I don’t want to go anymore.  Like my writing.  (Are you still with me?  Keep up: I promise there is a point.)

So, I’m a bit of a Dodo, really.  Sometimes I don’t know what I’m talking about at all.  In the post I wrote the other day (Blog Boggled) I mentioned how I had somehow expected my blogging to evolve spontaneously, when I don’t do spontaneous.  And, as a result of this misguided idea, nothing has actually evolved at all.  In fact, my blogging was almost on the verge of extinction (oh, I just realised how apt my reference to being a Dodo is!  It’s raining similes and metaphors here today.  I wish it were raining real rain ‘cos it’s bloody hot and sticky.  I hate summer).  

Now, whilst this is true (about the blogging, not the weather - though it is true about the weather as well), it dawned on me that I was making a categorical statement to the effect that I never evolve in any area, at all.  That all change I go through is more like facing a bloody (and I mean that in the literal sense of the word, not as the expletive) revolution, with me firmly on the side of the Resistance.  It doesn’t matter what the Resistance is resisting, I just naturally gravitate toward it.  At least, this is what I would have you, and myself, believe.

Turns out this is not quite true.

I was thinking about another blog post I’m considering writing, one where I kind of list things about myself that you probably don’t know, to give you a sense of who I am.  Sharing myself.  Something I thought I was doing with my blog posts, but which my friend told me I wasn’t: I was simply sharing my opinions on certain random, unrelated topics.  This, to me, is sharing.  But I got her point.

So, I was making a ‘brief’ (for me it’s brief) list of things to put in the post, and one of them was the fact that I am a vegan.  (I’d like to point out that this refers only to my diet, though I avoid using anything made from animal products as much as possible, but I still wear things like leather shoes.)  But then I was thinking about when I stopped eating all animal products, and how that happened.  And d’you know what?  It evolved over time.

And here’s the other thing about it, which also harks back to something I said in that prior post - it was never planned.  I had no goal to become a vegetarian or a vegan.  I come from a traditional Yorkshire family, who ate a traditional Yorkshire diet of meat, potatoes, and two veg.  

Vegetarianism was an alien concept to me.  I think I associated it with the dippy hippy brigade.  I couldn’t imagine how anyone could live like that.  What did they eat, other than vegetables?  (I’ve since found out that not all vegetarians even like or eat vegetables, or are healthy: they just eat the vegetarian equivalent of a junk food diet.  Weird.)  As to me, it all happened organically, as a result of the need for me to change my diet in order to recover from my eating disorder(s).  So my eating had to become healthier in order to avoid triggering my overeating.  

The page of the AA Big Book from which the quote is taken
When I initially started to address the issue of my diet, the first (and most important) thing I did was identify and remove all the foods that were a problem to me, which set off my uncontrollable eating.  This meant giving up all junk food, convenience food, and any other of my own personal binge foods (which included some things considered healthy by the general population of ‘health professionals’).  

And then I wrote down a weekly food plan, which had every meal for every day set out to reduce the stress induced around trying to decide what to eat.  I still ate meat, and dairy, but I experimented (something else I categorically state that I can’t or don’t do.  Who is this person I keep talking about?!), so I ended up using lots of stuff that are frequently used in a healthy vegetarian diet - like beans and grains.  And I found that I liked them.

It took a while, but gradually I changed over to a mainly vegetarian diet, with just white meat occasionally thrown in.  I swapped out the dairy for soya milk and yoghurt, and I had to give up cheese ‘cos it turned out to be a problem food.  But I still wasn’t thinking about becoming a vegetarian (though I had started to think about animal welfare, which had led me to buy only organic animal products) - it was just naturally happening on its own (evolution!)   

I well remember the day when I finally gave up meat completely.  I was in Tesco’s (a large supermarket chain in the UK, for those of you not familiar with it), and I was looking for my usual organic turkey fillets: and they didn’t have any.  And right then I just thought, “Okay God, I guess You don’t want me to eat meat anymore.”  And that was it.  There was no fuss, no angst, just a calm feeling of acceptance that this was the right thing to do.  

And it was.  It's been over ten years now, and I’ve rarely missed meat, or any of the other animal products I gave up (except perhaps an occasional wistful thought at the beginning).  I had naturally evolved into vegetarianism, without the struggle that I’ve heard some other people have when they make the decision that it’s something they feel they ought to do, and then attempt to give up everything at once.  I knew a woman who became a vegetarian for health reasons, so it was a decision forced on her, and she missed meat all the time. 

And as to turning to veganism, the same process occurred.  I didn’t have the goal to progress to that, it simply happened.  There wasn’t that much left for me to give up, and the last thing to go was eggs, which I finally gave up early last year, when I realised that I didn’t know where to fit them into my diet, and I wasn’t that bothered about them.  So out they went.  

I have had the occasional doubt about whether I should include them, but that’s because of all of the health stuff I’ve read over the years which say they’re good for you.  But then they also say that bananas are good for you (they’ve never seen me eat ten or twelve of them within the space of a few hours, or less), or honey (REALLY BAD for me, a true sugar addict, for whom even the supposed healthy substitutes for artificial and processed sugar trigger my craving, and are often worse than the other stuff). 

So I guess this is all confirmation that:

  • my life goes better when I let go and stop trying to manage it (plans being my number one method to which I resort in order to try to achieve this, and which I am singularly inept at constructing and following);
  • the slow process of evolution is often the most effective in achieving solid, lasting change: rather than the disruptive, disorienting upheaval of a revolution;
  • sometimes there has to be a mini revolution to change my perspective to shift me onto the right path, in order to allow evolution to continue to take its natural course;
  • just because I struggle to evolve and change spontaneously in one area doesn’t mean that’s the case in the whole of my life.  I can evolve, it's just that it's a very VERY slow process for me - like the speed at which earth's tectonic plates shift.  And if you try to rush me then I naturally revert to a state of resistance, either overt or covert.  So don't bother, 'cos I won't shift until I'm ready.

All of which basically means there’s a use for both evolution and revolution (in the right way, at the right time), which is a bugger ‘cos I want to say it’s either/or, as my personality dictates.  It’s an autistic thing.  Well, it’s my autistic thing, anyway.

So there we go.  That’s where I am - enjoying writing down and sharing my musings, rather than just having them rattling around in my head.  I hope you’re all in a good space.  I wish you peace on your journey, the guidance to point you the right way, and the courage and willingness to change direction if you find yourself going down the wrong path.

Śanti (also spelled Shanti: I'm just showing off, and excited that I found out how to put an accent on it) - Peace 

21 July 2016

Birthday Greetings

So, in the new spirit of trying to stay connected, and keep a sense of continuity going, I thought I would share that it’s my AA birthday today.  I’ve now been sober for twenty-eight years.  Strange.  

I have to say that it hasn’t really sunk in, but then I have spent the morning out doing my once-fortnightly grocery shopping in my local market town, Retford, and everything has been rather frantic.  I’ve just spent nearly forty-five minutes playing at taking photos to add one to this post (again, another new thing I’m trying to do to shake things up).  

I guess it’s rather apt to be changing things on this day, a celebration both of all the changes that have gone before in order for me to get to this point (the major one being stopping drinking all those years ago, without which none of this could be happening now), and of the days to come.  But I haven’t really had time to reflect and celebrate, to be perfectly honest, but then I never really do, ‘cos I don’t actually know how to do it, so they generally pass by without much notice.

And I have to say that with time, clichéd as it might sound, the quantity of years stops meaning anything, and what becomes more important is the quality of sobriety and the life I lead.  So I guess that’s something to reflect on - not just thinking about where I came from, but whether I am where I want to be; and, if not, what needs to change, and what I can, and want, to change.

I was going to share a potted (ha ha) history of my drinking and recovery, but I don’t really have the time now.  Maybe some other day.

But for now, to all of you who are trudging this path of recovery, I wish you happiness, joy, and freedom: and faith in your own conception of a Higher Power, who will do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

Namaste - “I bow to the Divine within you”

20 July 2016

Blog Boggled

My writing corner; and yes, I do use my paper dictionary et al.

I haven’t quite mastered this blogging thing, you know.  Scrap that: I’m really naff at it.  I’m very autistic and adhd-ish about it all - which for me basically means rigid and inconsistent.  This shouldn’t surprise me but, well, it does, ‘cos it’s not how I intended it to be.  Somehow I seem to think I can leave all that behind me when it comes to my writing, and art… and the internet, and life in general… 

I had great plans to post regularly, and multifariously: not only adding articles, but poetry, artwork, photos, and the like.  Similar to the kind of blogs I enjoy looking at (when I sneak on the internet looking for inspiration, but end up drowning in the endless sea of sites).

I think part of the problem is that my reasons for starting it were rather ambiguous.  It was vaguely meant to be a way to share about being a newly-diagnosed autistic.  It was also intended as a way for me to do some kind of Twelve Step work, sharing my experience, strength, and hope with alcoholics (mostly autistic ones, since that is my experience) as I am not able to do so in person - one on one, or in AA meetings - ’cos of my anxiety and difficulty with communicating verbally.  And then it was also meant as an outlet for me to write, because I wasn’t doing any. 

Perhaps I expected it to kind of evolve all by itself, as it likely would have done were I not autistic.  Instead of which, my style and approach have remained static - as I should have expected.  After all, I don’t deal well with change; and I certainly don’t do it spontaneously (do you think this means that I could never spontaneously combust either?).   

Now I come to evaluate it, of course it seems obvious that, having found a manner of writing which suits me (very formal; always with title; single topic; essay-style; as near to two A4 pages as possible; and grammatically correct and edited to within an inch of its life, as if it’s going to be critiqued and marked by someone other than me), I would end up rigidly adhering to that formula. 

So it seems that this is going to require some conscious effort and attempts to change, on my part.  I’m not quite certain how I’m going to do this, to be honest, other than that my default position - which is to try to copy the advice of other people (fellow bloggers, in this case) - has not, and never will, work.  Not only has it not worked, it has failed miserably, and left me feeling miserably inadequate in the process. 

And what, I hear you ask (or maybe not, since I could be writing this into a void), is this golden piece of advice, which seems to work for everybody else but not for me?  Planning.  Yep: my favourite.  Whenever the question of my inconsistency in writing and art comes up, I revert to thinking about THE THING THAT DOES NOT WORK FOR AN INCONSISTENT, PLAN-RESISTANT AUTISTIC WITH ADHD!  Why, oh why, I ask myself, can I not follow a simple bloody plan, for the love of God?

For a start, I’m really poor at making plans (something to do with the executive functioning area of my brain not being wired-up ‘correctly’).  I try to keep them simple, but they end up looking like Spaghetti Junction in written form.  So already I’m handicapped.  Even simple notes written to myself often look like mini-essays.

But this, unfortunately, is one of the main tools people suggest for basically dealing with everything in life, it seems.  And since it appears to be a universally-held truth that a plan is an essential for dealing with your life, then of course it must be right.  Right?  WRONG!!!

And then we come to actually following the bloody thing.  Never was there a woman so desperate to follow a plan (or a crowd of people, or a flock of sheep, or a load of lemmings off a cliff) than I.  

My writing desk - mainly decorative.  And there's some of my art, in situ.

My life has been littered with all the failed attempts to implement one variation or another of what has become like the holy bloody grail to me, from secondary school onwards (when one is introduced to the concept of homework, and the need for some sort of ability to be able to organise and motivate oneself in order to complete it.  You won’t be surprised to learn that I never could do it, and every piece of homework was left until the night before, or the morning of, the day it was expected to be handed in.  This is not helpful when you already suffer from an inordinate amount of stress and anxiety about going to school as it is). 

But I’m nothing if not persistent, and a slow learner.  Hence thirty years later, after leaving school, and I’m still trying to do something it has been proven that I cannot do.  Sheesh.  Enough already!

So I’m not going to make yet another attempt at planning how often I’m going to write, and post, ‘cos I did that and here we are - I’ve barely posted anything this year.  It’s like the minute I set a goal I do the opposite.  And it’s not intentional.  Not at all.  

Which is why I don’t like the term “oppositional defiance” (which is likely what it would be considered to be, especially given my history whereby I can never seem to do what I’m told, whether it’s me or someone else doing the telling): the word ‘defiance’ always sounds like the consciously wilful action of someone who just wants their own way, and thinks they know best.  And it’s not.  

I hate getting into trouble, and do you know how much trouble I get into when I behave like this?  And how much of an impediment it is to me being able to achieve and succeed at things I really want?  Just take a look at how long I’ve been keeping a blog, and how sporadic my work has been, and how frustrated this makes me.  

And how logical is it to suggest that I’m trying to get my own way when I can’t even follow my own instructions, which are about trying to attain what I want?  Of course, it is possible that I have misunderstood what people mean by the term ‘oppositional defiance’ (it has been known to happen… often), but there you go.  Words matter to me.  

As does “a well-placed comma” (which can change the whole meaning of a sentence - as can a badly-placed one: which can be especially important to an autistic already struggling under the weight of literality, and trying to figure out what people mean by what they say.  Having to grapple with incorrect grammar on top of that grates on my already tautly strung nerves).  It appears that not only am I acutely sensitive to things like noise, smell, and other peoples’ emotional energies, but I’m also grammatically sensitive too.  Yay me!  “A well-placed comma…” has now become my catchphrase.

So, a new adventure awaits me.  I blame my friend.  It was she who mentioned (again) the other day the infrequency of my writing, and what it was that she’d expected me to do with my blog when I started it (something about it being a catalogue of my journey through my life with autistm, adhd, and the 12 Steps, etc.  Sounded vaguely familiar…)  She also mentioned having expected me to play with what is the most informal platform for writing, with no rules, and room to experiment.  I was kind of surprised.  Does she not know who I am?  Me?  Experiment?!  PLAY?!!  Pfft!!!!

She also mentioned just now that anyone reading my blog has no sense of continuity, or of who I am, or what’s happening in my life because every post is not only inconsistently posted, but has no link to the last; that what’s important is not the style of the writing (which is what I get hung up on), but the content and flow, if I want to connect and allow other people to feel a connection to me.  Which I do, but which I’m appalling at, both in writing and my life.

So I shall be attempting to do some of what she suggested, along with some of the ideas that I had.  These include writing a post once a week, even if it’s just to say that I have nothing to write about.  Wish me luck, and see you then. 

A closer view of Rabbit keeping an eye on things.

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
An experiment in watercolour and gouache

Quotes Quota

"Do you believe in Magic?" asked Colin.

"That I do, lad," she answered. "I never knowed it by that name, but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun shinin' made thee well lad an' it's th' Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin' worlds by th' million - worlds like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it - an call it what tha' likes. Eh! lad, lad - what's names to th' Joy Maker."

From 'The Secret Garden', by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Copied from photograph of the same name by Roberto Dutesco

Quotes Quota

"There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way."
The Dalai Lama

"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."

Malcolm X

On The Prowl

On The Prowl
Watercolour tiger

Quotes Quota

"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step."

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."

C S Lewis