The Autistic Writer: Idea Storms

Once again it’s important for me to point out that very little of what I mention in this series is unique to Autism alone. Being on the Spectrum is a combination, or perhaps a coalition of traits and tendencies, and certain disabilities, depending. And it varies by each individual. And being a writer that is also Autistic adds a dimension that may not be present in those with ASD that have different callings or jobs.

So you yourself may recognize the experience of having many ideas, scenarios, “voices,” situations, settings, etc swirling around in your head. It may happen all the time for you, with high intensity, like a thunderstorm, or be a casual parade of notions passing gradually through and around your direct consciousness like a spring breeze. Probably, like the real weather, it varies from day to day, or even hour to hour.

Such is my own case. And it’s probably a t-storm more often than a gentle rustling of leaves.

The question becomes, how much of this is ripe for storytelling, or writing? I dare say this is where my personal Autism influences matters.

For what inside my mind is potentially valuable or enjoyable to any given demographic in the world? What can be transformed into narrative? What should be?

After all, even to me, much of it is mere “noise.”  It’s recalled conversations from years ago, a plan I made but forgot about because I didn’t write it down, an alternative scenario to a past disappointment in my personal life. It all blows around in my mental maelstrom.

Those of course could spawn a great fiction idea. In some ways they have, here and there. Then again, it could end up being impenetrable shit even if I managed to convey the experience to perfection in words. (Infrequent.)

Relationships! In this case, between the energy of my mind and the general reading public as opposed to me as a person to another person. Yet at the core, a patented uncertainty as to the depth of connection between that which is me and that which is another person is still very much in play, as it usually is for those of us on the Spectrum.

Of nearly equal consideration is my own relationship as a writer to that internal tempest of imagery. Long ago I abandoned the attempt to convert every slice of my imagination’s offspring into a coherent story. I believe in writing down thoughts that come to me in a notebook, but I would do almost nothing else for days at a time if I wrote down every single solitary notion that occurs to (intrudes upon?) me in the course of any given day. Triage is vital.

Vital, but not a panacea; I still struggle every now and then with the notion that I am somehow ignoring my next great catalyst for my writing. There is a boatload of random stuff in every mind, and I dare say on average there is more of it inside the mind of an Autistic. It just isn’t all solid material.

(For years I have “seen” a man throw a sword onto the floor of an empty cathedral. Never once has it developed into anything resembling a narrative. Just an image.)

I never really calm the storm. It ebbs and flows on it’s own, sometimes blowing a useful seed into the soil of my writer fields. I carry a notebook with me to catch some of them, just in case. But there’s a lot going on.

Still, for a writer, a better problem to have than being unable to ever see any idea at all.

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