Author Archive

your dreams will be reduced down to breathing, and you will be grateful

The thing about not-being-a-person is: They will say those people and the price of being a person is to nod and agree that yes, those people aren’t people at all. They will have no idea who they are talking to. You yourself will start to forget, too. They will say a million small things that sow the seeds for violence done against you, and you will smile and let them. You will do math, constantly. How much do I want to be a person today? How much do I want this project to succeed? How much honesty can I afford? How much dishonesty will kill me? What is the cost of coming out? Is there a way to delay, soften, transmute? How long can I survive as half a person? Ever since the world ended ... I don't go out as much. People that I once befriended, just don't bother to stay in touch. Things that used to seem so splendid, don't really matter today. It's just as well the world ended -- it wasn't working anyway. Your dreams will be reduced down to breathing. [Read More]

on 03/5/12 | 2 Comments | Read More

Fault Lines

Those of us who have raised children know what often happens after pointing out muddy footprints on the floor, dishes left on the table from an afternoon snack, or some other dereliction of duty.  Wi...[Read More]

on 02/2/11 | 5 Comments | Read More

The Dwellers on the Plain

Once upon a time—in the far distant past, or perhaps in a future yet to come—a herd of mountain goats dwelt atop a high plain.  Steep jagged cliffs fell away from this isolated mesa on all sides...[Read More]

on 01/26/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Force of Habit

In response to my post last week about setting the stage for positive changes to happen, Stephanie accurately pointed out that it’s not just a matter of rearranging the environment and waiting to fe...[Read More]

on 01/19/11 | 1 Comment | Read More

What’s in the Locker?

I had a dream recently in which I wanted to open a locker but couldn’t remember the combination.  When I mentioned this dream to Mark Stairwalt, he suggested that the locker might be a subconscious...[Read More]

on 01/12/11 | 6 Comments | Read More

Exploring Time

Over the holidays, I spent some time reading a popular book that I got as a Christmas gift: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It’s about the author’s experiences of spiritual growth and self...[Read More]

on 01/5/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

More to Ask, More to Tell

I got an email from President Obama on Saturday; it was one of the periodic updates he sends out to his mailing list of campaign supporters.  In announcing the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell pol...[Read More]

on 12/22/10 | 3 Comments | Read More


Fargo, North Dakota, August 2163 Like many people these days, Callie Forsyth was a telecommuter.  She went to work by means of a virtual reality interface, its precise connections to her brain mak...[Read More]

on 12/15/10 | 2 Comments | Read More


Although we tend to think of ourselves as separate individuals, all that we encounter while going through our lives becomes part of who we are, a process vividly set forth in Rachel Turiel's article ...[Read More]

on 12/8/10 | 4 Comments | Read More

Changing Myths

As I've often noted, humans are a storytelling species.  We grow and evolve as a society by developing new cultural narratives to explain our surroundings and the events of our lives.  As we gain mo...[Read More]

on 12/1/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

The Long Hard Winter

My mother-in-law, who grew up in the rural American South in the wake of the Great Depression, has a lot of interesting expressions that she uses in conversation.  For instance, if someone tells her ...[Read More]

on 11/24/10 | 4 Comments | Read More

Talking to Ourselves

It's not uncommon for autistics to talk out loud about things that come to mind.  There are different situations in which this might happen.  Sometimes it's just a matter of echoing written input, s...[Read More]

on 11/17/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

Stories of Our Lives

Although blogs have become very popular in the past few years, most blogs currently online are no longer active.  Sometimes that's because a person starts a blog and then gets too busy to keep it goi...[Read More]

on 11/10/10 | 4 Comments | Read More

The Early Years

How did people go about raising children in prehistoric times?  Researchers considering this question have extrapolated from their studies of currently existing aboriginal cultures, identifying com...[Read More]

on 11/3/10 | 3 Comments | Read More

Coffee Casualty

My original plan for this post was to spend Monday evening reflecting on how today's social and physical environment can be stressful for our kids and writing a thoughtful article on that subject.  H...[Read More]

on 10/27/10 | 6 Comments | Read More

Dreams and Growing Up

In her article Grieving the Dream and Living What Is, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg described her feelings about realizing that there are some things she cannot do because of auditory processing issues and...[Read More]

on 10/20/10 | 3 Comments | Read More

Identity Politics and Neurodiversity

We've had some discussion here on Shift Journal recently about the extent to which characters and behaviors should be described as autistic.  Mark Stairwalt speculates that when people feel uncomfort...[Read More]

on 10/13/10 | 10 Comments | Read More

The Paradox of Changing the World with Words

Words and how we use them to relate to the world can be, as Andrew Lehman discussed in a post last year, somewhat paradoxical.  Although we use words to describe and frame our relationship to our sur...[Read More]

on 10/6/10 | 5 Comments | Read More

Stand Your Ground

If I may be forgiven a bit of motherly bragging, I'm quite proud of the mature way my daughter handled a recent social situation.  As I mentioned in a previous post, she is a college freshman still a...[Read More]

on 09/29/10 | 3 Comments | Read More

The Illusion of Typicality

The cypress trees of Louisiana's bayous (to continue Shift Journal's venerable landscape metaphor tradition) are very well adapted to their natural habitat.  They can get along just fine with most of...[Read More]

on 09/22/10 | 3 Comments | Read More

Prickly Ponderings

Although the song "America the Beautiful" praises amber waves of grain, when I was a little girl I wasn't much impressed by that image and would have preferred a field of blooming thistles instead, wi...[Read More]

on 09/15/10 | 3 Comments | Read More

On the Border

My daughter, the newly minted freshman, came home from college over Labor Day weekend.  The first thing she did when she got back here Friday evening was to go out to the high school football game wi...[Read More]

on 09/8/10 | No Comments | Read More

The Disappearance of Mystery

Modern medical science, despite having some areas in which it could stand considerable improvement, is still quite amazing when contrasted with how little our ancestors knew about the workings of the ...[Read More]

on 09/1/10 | 3 Comments | Read More

Wealth, Power, and the Future Thereof

Can American democracy survive what seems to be an alarming concentration of wealth and power?  That's a question often asked nowadays, as statistics show that income inequality has become much more ...[Read More]

on 08/25/10 | 1 Comment | Read More

Inclusive Eating

Reporting from Satire City, USA, August 2110 Advocates of inclusive eating celebrated a success today when the President signed into law the Inclusion of Disordered Eaters Act, which will provide f...[Read More]

on 08/18/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

Taking Flight

My daughter, who isn't likely to get the GMC Terrain she's been obsessing about because my husband has decided he wants to buy a Chevy Volt and save the planet, is now a college freshman.  She moved ...[Read More]

on 08/11/10 | 4 Comments | Read More

Requiem for a Houseplant

I have a potted plant in my dining room that mysteriously started losing its leaves sometime last year.  As far as I know, it always had been watered regularly and given the proper amount of fertiliz...[Read More]

on 08/4/10 | 4 Comments | Read More

The End of Workplace Bias

As we transition from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, those who find themselves out of work are disproportionately men.  The historical male advantage of physical strength has become al...[Read More]

on 07/28/10 | No Comments | Read More

Autistic Imagination: Nothing Is Impossible

Research on creativity has shown that autistic children, when asked to draw a person or thing that could not exist, find it very difficult to do so.  Creating more realistic images, however, does not...[Read More]

on 07/21/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

Morning Symphony

The vertical blinds that cover my kitchen's sliding glass door are closed against the glare to the east.  On this clear July morning, the heat already has started to build.  The air conditioner thru...[Read More]

on 07/14/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

Alexithymia, Autism, and the Many Pagan Deities in the Details

One trait commonly associated with autism in the research literature is alexithymia, which refers to difficulty expressing feelings in words.  Although many people have had occasional experiences of ...[Read More]

on 07/7/10 | 4 Comments | Read More

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