Saturday, October 17, 2015

My Brain on Books XVII

I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I've participated in NaNo every year since 2004 and will again next fall.  I have been blessed to have it in my life and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. If you happen to be doing NaNo this year you can find me there as joywrite

This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges unless required to have a separate post..   

Be sure to scroll to bottom of this post for advice on how to ward off those scary nap attacks. You won't be sorry.

Ode to Dewey
by Joy Renee
We Miss You Dewey

3:00 AM - Where did all that time go?
Still awake.  Not even struggling.

Well maybe a little.  Not having any trouble staying awake but am having trouble staying on task

I've done more reading on the blogs and social media following the thon activity and reading Dewey's archives than in books since last eveing's vid chat with Ed.  I opened a lot of books.  Mostly eooks but a few tree books and skimmed around in them.  Reading table of contents and other frontal matter--intros, epigraphs,  acknowledgements, and such.  It's one of my favorite things to do with non-fiction.  It may not be very productive in terms of stats but it's fun and that's the operative word for a thon is it not?

Besides it can be very productive in terms of comprehension, retention, and connecting the dots when reading them later.  I call it 'Einstein whispering sweet nothings in Emerson's ear'  or is that visa versa?  At any rate I wrote an essay on that theme in the late 90s.  I've shared it here before.  Not sure I feel like hunting the link right now.

Ambition is at low tide.

 Awake for over forty hours.

I mostly lurked on the blogs and social media.  Played the videos, imagined how fun this or that challenge might be, admired page layouts, followed comment threads and drooled over images of books.

But my ambition would not rise to the level of leaving more than a few comments with already familiar names.

One little project I accomplished was sharing the image of my Ode to Dewey poem on facebook, twitter and google+.  And while I was on fb I stumbled on my neice's posts in the newsfeed and discovered Im a great-aunt again.  Since October 1!  How did I let that get past me?

I spent half an hour at least drooling over baby pictures.

Well, because I've not been on social media much in the last month.  And even when I was it was only on my blog's fan page after the rare blog post.  My focus has been on autism research, NaNo prep and the fiber art project I finally finished Friday (original due date July 11) that will probably be the subject of tomorrow's post.

Very little of what happened conformed to my plan for the thon.  The only thing besides sticking to the dual theme that I adhered to was my intention to be OK with a pliable plan.  No shouldas or any other mental shaming tactics.  I kept the entire thon more than 90% on thon related activities.  And I had fun.  Now that was the plan.

The hardest part was staying away from Netflix and Amazon Prime.  The quick story fixes that resolve in 30 to 90 minutes that have consumed the bulk of my blogging, writing and reading time for most of a year before mid September when my Asperger's diagnoses shifted my obsession.  I've done more reading in the last four weeks than in all the weeks between last October and mid August.

I never did start that audio book this afternoon.  I think I'm going to go grab a quick snack and run the thon out listening to Carley's Voice.

3:00 PM - OK I think it is time to start the audio book and get on the mini-tramp and then pick up the crochet hook.  My afternoon slump is on.  I've been floundering for three hours.  Was reading the hub blog and discovered a link to Dewey's archives and got lost there for awhile and then I started writing updates and and editing them obsessively until so much time has passed I feel the need to start another update before I post.  And thus I've accumulated everything since 8 without publishing.  The 8 AM opening meme was left hanging at 9 for vid chat with my husband and I didn't get back to it until after 10 then decided to do the 11 AM  before posting and at some point got sidetracked by hunger and then the hub and Dewey's archives and then when I came back to the post I needed to check a fact in one of the books and ended up reading for i'm not sure how long.  Then...

Well you get the picture.  Its what I'd have blamed totally on the ADD two months ago but now I'm seeing autistic aspects to some of the behavior.  Afterall both ADD and autism are all about attention issues and information processing.  A high percentage of those with autism diagnoses also have preceding ADD diagnoses.  I'd be interested in seeing a brain scan showing neuronal activity to see if it is possible to differentiate between them.  Is ADD on the spectrum?  Or is the ADD diagnoses wrong for those who eventually get the Autism diagnoses?  From what I'm picking up in my reading so far I don't think there is consensus on that.  In fact I've seen no evidence the question is even being taken seriously by today's 'experts'.

All those question could be asked of Bi-Polar as well.  I was nearly diagnosed with Bi-Polar in mid 2013 and again a year later but it was finally ruled out when it was determined that the anxiety coupled with insomnia and sleep deprivation accounted for the symptoms.  And now I know the source of the anxiety is the autism related sensory processing issues.  The OCD and perfectionism is also as they say co-morbid with autism.  Meaning, I gather, they are often found holding hands.

And I'm rambling....
When I could be reading!!!

It doesn't help that I hit 24 hours awake at 8:44 AM.

Yeah I know.  I said as I prepared to post last night that I was headed to bed.  And I got there in time to get almost 7 hours but I never made it past the hypnogogic stage and gave up at 3AM and started reading.

You know what?  I'm going to post without editing this update.
Take that perfectionism.

11:00 AM - Here's my promised comments on Neuro-Tribes.  I'm a bit over halfway and his overview of the history of the autism diagnosis has reached the 70s.  Here's why I'm now glad my diagnosis took nearly 60 years:

  • First off the name autism itself is based on the Greek root for 'self'  as in autonomous and reflects the bias of the early observations of toddlers as self-involved, self-stimulated, 'lost in their own world' and 'preferring' the company of their self or things over that of other people.  This of course raises the specter of 'selfish' a definite implication of a character flaw.  They're off to a rip-roaring start these 'experts'
  • Before WWII and into the early 1950s the likely diagnosis would have been schizophrenia especially if there was language deficit.  
  • During WWII Hitler gassed us.  
  • During that same decade and into the 60s America forcibly sterilized us, guilted our parents for causing it (refrigerator moms!) and shamed them for not institutionalizing as recommended by the 'experts'.  
  • In the institutions well into the 60s (and beyond?) they chained us to the wall or beds and kept us sedated. 
  • In the 60s and 70s they finally began to recognize it as neurological rather than emotional but aversion therapy became popular and was gladly incorporated by the institutions--including hair pulling, poking, slapping, shaking, shouting starvation and cattle prods.  

America doesn't torture, right?  Right!

It would be an interesting study to explore what role this permeation of aversion therapy in our culture (autism wasn't the only deviant behaviors it was advocated for) in the two generations preceding 2005 played in the choices made by Americans at Abu Graib and Gitmo.

i also find it interesting that more than one of the 'experts' who developed or advocated the use of sterilization and aversion therapy grew up in the German influenced areas of Europe where they got most of their education and cultural biases.  Could that have had any influence on their perception as they 'objectively' observed these children put in their care?

You think?

I'm afraid to find out what the current consensus is.  How can I trust that it is any more worth depending on than that of just 25-30 years ago?  Why should I even entertain the idea of giving them the benefit of the doubt?

Just asking.

OK that was probably an example of the way my autistic brain works.  I see relationships and patterns in data that no one else sees.

8:00 AM - Well I read the Donna Williams memoir for the entire three hours.  No switching as planned. But plans are pliable today.  I'm going to read the Thon blog for a bit and do the intro meme tho it is too late to be included in the giveaway.  That will probably take me thru til 9AM when it is time for my daily morning vid chat with my husband who is 300 miles away.  We have two a day and I'm not giving them up even for this.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Longview WA USA.  A port town on the Columbia river between Portland OR and the coast.  This is my birth town and where I lived until I married at 21.  I'm living with my Mom and sister, unwillingly separated from my husband for financial and health reasons since January 2013.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Carly's Voice by Arthur and Carly Fleischmann.  It is an audio on CD from the library and I plan to  get on the mini-tramp and then get my crochet fix and rest my eyes while I listen during one of my circadian rhythm slumps in the afternoon and wee hours.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

spicy avocado dip with corn chips, rice cakes and/or veggies.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism aka Asperger's Syndrome last month.  I will be 58 next month!  I was a little perturbed that it took so long to figure out.  Until I read the chapters in Neuro-Tribes covering the decades between WWI and my high-school years in the 1970s.  Now I think I'm grateful.  Talk about clueless!  I'll expand on that later on today and probably develop it into a post in the near future.  Meanwhile I'm in the midst of one of my obsessive research projects and would appreciate any input/recommendations--resources, info, support groups, etc. Web based and not.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Treat plans as written in soft clay not stone.  It's about pleasure not perfection.  About community not conformity.  About honoring Dewey and literature not stats.  You will notice I don't post numbers of pages or books.  With my visual impairment I couldn't compete anyway and besides I like to graze.  Especially non-fic.  I seldom read a book cover to cover during the thon.  Those I finish were usually begun days, weeks or months earlier.  So I seldom get to entire my titles in the data base.  Thus the thon stats are ot accounting for my typical 3-5 hundred pages spread over ten to twenty books.  I wonder how many more like me there are and what the ratio is between us and those who read whole books. I bet the stats are biased towards YA, children's and light genre.  I wonder how that info might affect the industry peeps who contemplate contributing prizes or otherwise supporting the thon.

Just thinking with my fingers.  What do you think?

5:00 AM - and so it begins.  I'm excited and would rather be reading than blogging at the moment.  Besides I'm cold so I think I'll crawl back in bed with my Nexus 7 until the house heat comes on.  Tho that could be risky as just like last April I did not really sleep last night.  I dozed off a few times but could not get past that hypnogogic stage.  I was awake before 9am Friday so making it the full 24 could be a challenge even for me for whom all nighters are as natural as breathing.

As I stated in last night's pre thon post, my focus today will be on NaNo prep and autism spectrum.  I'm participating in NaNo in two weeks and a month ago I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

Thus the first four books I'll be switching between this morning are

[I have this scheduled to go live at 4:44am.  But if this bracketed paragraph is still here on top after 5am I don't have my eyes unglued enough to check in yet.  I will be here soon as I can.]

Fighting pose

4 tell me a story:

Melissa (Avid Reader) 10/17/2015 7:22 AM  

I love the impact that Dewey had on so many people. She started something so beautiful that has turned into a whole community of readers! Have a wonderful time reading today! #TeamSycamore

Anonymous,  10/17/2015 12:36 PM  

Hey! Thanks for the NANO share. I have some students interested in doing it this year (it has been a while since I have) so will be sure to check out what they are doing for young writers! Nothing like sharing the love of reading and writing with children and teens I must say. Hope the readathon is continuing to go well for you...and you are warmed up! I so agree on what Dewey started, pretty darn amazing.

Melanie 10/17/2015 2:52 PM  

I'm checking out the NaNo link as well. It sounds like a fantastic organization.

Hope you're enjoying the readathon!

Unknown 10/17/2015 3:08 PM  

Looks like you have this sewn up! Good stuff. As we approach the midway mark, stay strong and hit those books!

Chris - Team Sycamore

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