You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'Embracing Chaos'.
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Welcome to StephanieAllenCrist.com!

  • Posted on January 27, 2015 at 3:38 AM

If you’re still on my old autism blog, Embracing Chaos, I invite you to hop on over here. You should find all the old posts and comments you’ve enjoy or made in the past. You’ll also find all my future posts as they are uploaded in the, um, well, future. But you won’t find those posts here. I’ll leave this post up for a while, but I won’t be updating this blog. After enough people have had time to make the leap over to the new site, I’ll be shutting the old site down forever—assuming I can figure out how.

As you’ll see, the new site has a lot to offer. So, please, check out the new site and take a look at the brand new content I’ve provided. You may even want to check out my old writing blog (which has also moved) or my new marketing blog, which was just created.

Now that I have an awesome site to work with, I’ll be providing a lot of new things. So, come on over and check me out!

A Little Help

  • Posted on July 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM

So, the good news is that I’ve successfully wrangled my book back on track despite the fibromyalgia and the upheaval of summer, graduation, and a bigger vision of what I want to offer to the world. My book is going to be an important part of that new vision, too; so, I’m even more motivated to get it written, polished, and published.

Unfortunately, I was a little too successful in breaking myself away from my freelance work. The time has come when I need the help. Luckily, I have a platform that makes that possible.

There are many ways to help and even a little bit of help can go a long way!

  1. If you can give, please do so. Even $5 can make a big difference!
  2. Whether you give or not, please connect to your social media sites through this page and share my campaign with your family, friends, and casual acquaintances. Feel free to customize the message you share.
  3. Please leave a comment on this same page to raise awareness of my campaign on the hosting site. Even a little bit of attention might be just what I need to catch someone’s attention.

And that’s it! That’s all you would have to do. So, please help me make this fundraising campaign a success!!!

THANK YOU!!!

The Story I Am Telling

  • Posted on July 8, 2013 at 8:00 PM

My new office is in my mother’s house, so she’s often there when I release a progress report on my recent work session, which I’ve been doing on my social media sites. A few days ago, after releasing a report, I came upstairs and my mother greeted me with, “You’ve finished another chapter! Great! Congratulations!”

That started a conversation about the book I am writing and I decided to share a chapter with her. She was effusive with her praise, as mothers are prone to be, and then said something that caught my attention.

“Well, you need to tell where Willy was in order to show how far he’s come.”

I processed this for a moment. No doubt I was shaking my head from the start. Still, it took me a while to come up with the words that went with the denial.

“I’m not writing Willy’s story. It’s my story. It’s not about the boys. It’s about me. It’s about what I did with it.”

This is an important distinction.

I write about my children. I write about them a lot. But I’m never telling their story, because their story must be told through the way they process the experiences they have. I don’t presume to get inside their head and voice what’s in there. I tell my story. I tell my story as a parent. I tell my story as someone who is neurologically different, but not diagnosably autistic. I tell my story as someone who had to learn to advocate for my children.

And that is the crux of this book. Going into this whole autism thing, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was dealing with. I’ve read a lot of stories from parents who took charge from the get-go, but I wasn’t one of them. Based on the people I’ve talked to, most of us weren’t one of them. So, on the one hand, I’m telling my story for those parents who don’t know what to do when they start out.

More than that, the place that I went is also different than the norm, because I am different from the norm. So, I’m telling my story for all those parents who don’t jump on the I’ll-do-anything-to-cure-my-child’s-autism bandwagon.

My children are central characters in my story, but this is my story. It’s not because I’m arrogant. I certainly don’t think I’m more important than my children. But I can’t tell their story. I can only tell my story, because I am only in my head, processing my experiences. If I were telling “their” story, it would be fiction, not memoir, because I’d be making unknowable assumptions on what they were experiencing. Furthermore, I am telling my story because I believe (and I’m not alone in this) that telling my story will be a service to others, particularly a service to parents who want to serve their children.

Someday maybe my children will tell their own story. It may not be in words, though, but that’s part of the point. Me, I will tell my story, and I’ll tell it in words, because that’s the story I have the authority to tell.

A Call for Support

  • Posted on October 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM

So, I’m writing a book. It’s become my big to-do project. But I also have to write to support my family. Every hour I spend on my book takes away time I can write to support my family. So, I’m raising money to offset the difference.

But that’s just my immediate motivation. There’s a whole ‘nother dimension to this fundraising business that I want to talk about.

In my community, we have a big fancy library that is full of books and movies and CDs and CD-ROMs and books on tape and all sorts of good stuff. Nothing wrong with that! But, when the boys were first diagnosed with autism, there was very little “good” stuff on autism in that library. Last time I checked, there’s still not. It’s not that they didn’t have any books on autism, but they were all skewed away from anything remotely pro-neurodiversity. I typed “neurodiversity” into the computerized card catalog and it just laughed at me. Actually, it tried to redirect me to something that didn’t even start with “neuro.” If I remember correctly, it was “necromancy.” Sound like fun?

Sometime after that, it was Autism Awareness Month and the boys’ school had set out a selection of books about autism that were available through the Family Resource Center. Jenny McCarthy’s latest book (I didn’t bother to look at the title) was prominently displayed. Nothing remotely pro-neurodiversity was available.

I’ve looked at various collections available in my community since then. I’ve read some books that I found intolerable, others that I found misguided, still others that I’ve found merely unhelpful. All the books that I have found useful and appropriately respectful of the subject matter have been books I’ve had to buy for myself.

So, here’s my plan: I’m going to donate copies of my books to as many of the places I looked for loaners as I possibly can. I’m going to assume the full cost of donating in my own community, but I’m asking for your help donating books to other communities. I’m targeting public libraries, Family Resource Centers (both in the community and in the schools), and any similar lending library families use to learn about autism. It’ll take time for me to hit them all, of course, and I’m not even sure I could locate them all. But I’ve got to start somewhere.

I’ve already pledged that any donation of $250 or more will earn a donation of five books. I’ve also pledged that any donation of $500 or more will earn a donation of ten books. I already have one donation of $500, for a total of ten books.

Here’s a new pledge: If I reach my half-way mark of $1,250 by November 15th, I will use a portion of the funds raised to donate a total of 25 books, plus any donations earned by single donations.

To reach this goal, I need your help. If you’re considering donating, then please donate before November 15th. If you can’t donate, but want to show your support, please press the “share” and the “like” and the “tweet” buttons on the link provided. Please leave comments. Please like comments. Please help raise the awareness level of this campaign and encourage others who can afford to do so to donate.

Thank you! Together, book by book and dollar by dollar, we can ensure that people who are looking for information on autism can find information that helps them to empower the people with autism in their lives!

Embracing Chaos on Fundrazr

  • Posted on August 29, 2012 at 8:00 AM

So, after years of people telling me I need to turn the story of raising my children into a book, I’m finally doing it. I even have a publisher. But the publishing company I’m partnered with (and, with Influence Publishing, it is very much a partnership) cannot provide me with an advance. Julie Salisbury has, however, provided me with training on how to raise funds to help support my publishing efforts.

I now have a campaign on Fundrazr to help me support my family while I divert working time to writing my book. If you are financially-able, please support my cause with a donation. If you aren’t, you can still support my cause by spreading the word on the social media sites of your choice and leaving a comment on my campaign page, which raises my status on Fundrazr. Every little bit helps!

In the meantime, check out my YouTube video to learn what this is all about.

(And yes, that's me speaking!)

Contract in Hand

  • Posted on July 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM

So, Embracing Chaos: Discovering Autism and Neurodiversity is going to be published!  Of course, the title will probably change a little bit and I still have to write it, but I have a publisher!

As I write this we have agreed on the terms of our contract and I have the draft in hand.  The publisher needs to revise that draft, though, and send me the official contract to sign.  Then, we’re in business!

I’ll keep you updated of course…and now it’s time to go back to work.

Embracing Chaos: The Book

  • Posted on December 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM

As some of you may recall, I want to write a book called Neurodiversity at Work. I still do, though in my recent upheaval I took a good, hard look at this goal and the skills and proficiency required to pull it off. I also looked at other autism-related books I would like to write. And I came to the inescapable conclusion that I would need to write two other books before I could broach Neurodiversity at Work with the experience, skill and connections it deserves.

When I first started this blog, I had a book in mind. It was something of a cross between a memoir and an advocacy piece. At the time, I wanted to make the idea viable for traditional publishing, and for the intervening years I didn’t see a way to do it. The audience it could be expected to reach within the first year or two of publication just wasn’t large enough, not without changing the focus of the book dramatically. For the last two years, I’ve been researching self-publication, and I find I’m drawn to it—at least as far as nonfiction goes. The relatively narrow audience for the book doesn’t matter nearly as much if the book is self-published; if you have the skill and wherewithal to market the book, you can profitably self-publish a book with a narrow audience.

So, in turning away from Neurodiversity at Work, I’ve come full-circle back to my first book. This time I’m not dwelling on how to make it marketable to a traditional publisher; I’m dwelling on how to make it a book that fulfills a need for its audience. It will never be a bestseller, and that’s fine. This book, like this blog, is for people who already care, for people who want to understand autism in a way that doesn’t reflect our fears of difference, but instead reflects our desire to understand, uplift and assist those we love who carry the diagnosis.

In outlining and writing this book, I’m taking great care to ensure one important difference that sets my book apart from so many parent books: I’m not telling my children’s stories. Of course, it’s this difference that will make it less appealing to traditional publishers. Embracing Chaos: Discovering Autism and Neurodiversity will tell my story. In this book I will describe how I came to see autism and neurodiversity, explain why I have the priorities I do when it comes to raising my children and advocating for change, and invite others to join me. I’ve seen so many books that purport to tell the stories of autistic children, while really advocating for whatever treatment or approach the parent chose for their child. Those books, the kinds of books published by traditional publishers, promise a cure, a recovery or some other conclusion that promises a semblance of normality. My book will show that normality doesn’t have to be a goal, while arming those seeking a different path with insight and resources to help smooth their journey.

But it’s not just a book for other parents. There have been so many times when I have tried to verbally explain to those on the periphery of our lives what I believe and why. Often, due to my own struggles to communicate verbally, it seems necessary to direct them to my blog and the list of blogs on my sidebar to really make the point. This is fine for those who are comfortable in the blogosphere, but many aren’t. If I had a resource, a book, that could explain it—I would gladly have directed them to that instead. And this, for me, will be that book. But while it will be my story, my journey, I also want this to be a book others can hand out to those on the periphery of their own lives. So, it’s not a traditional memoir, either. It is intended to be a source of information and understanding for those of us who refuse to take sides, or rather for those of us who feel that there are answers and truths evident in multiple arenas within the autism community. (After all, it would be disingenuous to suggest we don’t take any sides at all.)

I hope it’s well received by those for whom it is intended, by those who—like me—feel they need a resource, a reference, a tool to stave off those exhausting conversations in which we try to justify to those who mean well why we, too, are not adamantly advocating for a cure. I hope it’s also a book that adult autists might read to gain insights into us parents who, while not supporting and agreeing with everything they say or do, really are allies in our goals to make this a better world for all those deserve to be heard, appreciated, understood and accommodated.

That is my hope. Only time and publication can determine if I will achieve those goals. But I have to try. I have to set the stage. Then, I have to move on to other issues that need to be addressed.