Thank you to all those who entered this contest. The winner is Melody of Life’s Twisted Stitches! Melody, I sent you an e-mail tonight. Please respond with your mailing address before May 5, 2011 to claim your prize.
Today I am grateful for this meme and for Rachel at Journeys with Autism who doubly honored me by tagging both my book and me in a book meme. I was grinning from ear to ear when I read that she likes my novel and then further down the post she tagged me for the meme because she knows how much I love books. But alas I fell off the blog sphere radar was distracted this week.
Here are the rules for the meme:
1. Take a picture of the books you are reading currently and add them to your post. (I am cheating altering the rules and including one that I recently finished. I think you will be able to figure out why.)
2. Describe the books and if you are enjoying them
3. For every book you are reading, you have to tag one person.
4. Leave the person a comment letting them know you tagged them.
I recently finished reading The Uncharted Path: My Journey with Late Diagnosed Autism by the afore-mentioned Rachel B. Cohen-Rottenberg. It is an insightful gem which I highly recommend especially to those of you who are parents of girls on the spectrum. You can find out more about it on her blog or at Amazon.com. Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your life with us!
Love and War: The Civil War Letters and Medicinal Book of Augustus V. Ball edited by Donald S. Frazier and Andrew Hillhouse and transcribed by Anne Ball Ryals, was my birthday gift to myself. This book is actually about my family. Dr. Augustus V. Ball was the brother of my direct ancestor.
There are two letters in the book from Augustus’ dad who was also my ancestor. I have been skipping around the book because of family ties, but I love what I have found. This book includes information from pre-civil war to its aftermath along with medical recipes for treating various illnesses. I think today we would call him a naturopath.
Now you know my secret; I am a history fanatic buff and when I have that rare spare moment I get self-absorbed lost in family history.
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks is an enjoyable easy read about a young woman named Katie who has a mysterious past. I am only half way through it, but so far it is entertaining and a good way to escape from reality for a while. I always enjoy reading Nicholas Sparks’ novels. It is my guilty pleasure.
May You Always Have an Angel by Your Side; edited by Douglas Pagels is a collection of quotes and poems about angels another of my favorite things. I definitely believe in angels both in human form and otherwise.
So now you know! I either focus on autism or escape it depending on my mood and how much time I have.
Now to pass on the fun I am tagging:
Suzanne atAutism Mom Rising because I know she is a very spiritual person.
Lisa at Karma Per Diem who is also a southern belle who loves books.
Kelly at Puzzle Piece Princess who certainly understands the need for more education about how autism affects our girls.
Grace at Blessed Elements when loves reading, positive messages and angels as much or more than I do.
I have been reading others’ posts about the reason they started blogging. Blogging is not without risks since it involves sharing with the world. The risks for my family are even greater because a few years ago my daughter was targeted by people she knew shortly after she was diagnosed.
That is when my mission started. I quit work, I read every book on sensory sensitivity and Asperger’s that I could find. I bought books on bullying that I read cover to cover, and I talked to the local contact at BullyPolice.org. I explored the local bookstores to see what tween girls were reading. I set my TiVo wish list to include autism, bullying, and Asperger’s Syndrome. I attended conferences and I googled and read more.
Next, I wrote our true story, and then reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t use our story! The story had to be fiction to protect my daughter and to protect those who harmed her too ironically. Still, I did not want to trivialize the facts, so it is fiction with all events and all characters changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent. The feelings from the misunderstandings, the love shared between the characters, and the effects of the bullying are real.
I will never knowingly do anything to hurt my family or anyone else for that matter. Yet, I ultimately want this story disseminated to more people; therefore, my publisher suggested that I start a blog. Previously, public forums were off-limits to me. However, getting the message out that the world needs to change to a place of tolerance of differences and hopefully to acceptance of differences is my mission. The question of how to do this while remaining anonymous came up from the day I took on this task. Not an easy thing to do in this age of technology as I am sure many of you know.
Ultimately, my daughter agreed to my writing a blog, as long as I am careful about sharing too many personal stories about her. She and I have come to the decision that it is not possible to remain completely anonymous and promote the message. Still, I am very protective of her and of the rest of my family, and I will not apologize for this. If this makes me appear untrustworthy to some, so be it. If including information about my book, written to promote this message, makes others think this blog is just about self promotion, so be it.
Blogging has brought me to even more information and greater understanding, as I have read many of your thoughts and stories and I have commented on some. Many of you have welcomed me into this blogging community, and I am so grateful to you. I hope you know who you are even if I do not always comment on your blogs. Others are not as welcoming to those they consider to be outsiders, but I cannot waste time worrying about them.
I have made a decision. I will no longer allow other people to define who I am or who my daughter is. I am her mother and she is my amazing, talented, brave daughter who I will fight to the death to protect. I will do the same for my son, my husband, my close friends, and all of my family.
How about you? What steps do you take to protect your family? What would you do if someone targeted your loved one?
I know many of my friends and loved ones believe “Silence Is Golden.” However, for those of us who are striving to promote understanding, tolerance, and acceptance for our loved ones, your silence really isn’t golden. It is not golden if you witness bullying either. Bystanders have to learn the importance of speaking up and they need to be rewarded for doing so.
Changing the world to place where all humans are equally valuable and where people honor and respect differences is my mission. That is why I wrote Delightfully Different.
It is my first novel, so frankly I was not sure I could write it. I know I couldn’t have done it justice without help. I was fortunate to have multiple people who came forward to offer advice during the writing process. One was a dear friend who is a free-lance editor. I thank her by name in the book, but I won’t name her on the Internet for she’s modest. I even had multiple people read drafts of my book along the way. I was fortunate to have two local authors who gave me insights about their adventures in writing and publishing too. When I explained that I knew I needed an editor, and that I was thinking about self-publishing, they recommended iUniverse.
I want to also clear the air regarding any concerns you may have about my children or even about my extended family. My daughter’s story inspired the novel, but it is not a true story. The true story would have you crying so hard you would need a box of tissues.
There may be parts of the book that make you cry, but the story is only sad due to misunderstandings, the bullying and normal life events. The bullying is not as severe as the real bullying my daughter experienced. All of the characters good, bad, and indifferent exist only in my imagination. My children both supported my endeavor. They both also know the importance of understanding and tolerance of others, and I’m very proud of them for this.
I long to hear your thoughts about my posts, about my novel, and about my campaign to change the world to a place that is free of bullies. Therefore, I welcome your comments, your e-mail subscriptions, your following my blog, your liking my Facebook page, your following me on Twitter or any other way you are comfortable showing your support of this endeavor.
D. S. Walker