have been coming at breakneck speed these last few years. Time flies—not necessarily because I’m having
fun—but because I realize there’s so much less time left for me in the future
than the past. (See “Fast Forward Birthdays," 3/8/13).
Each year I ask myself: “How is it even possible that I’m
fifty-something?” Before I know it I’ll be entering—gulp(!)—a whole new decade. I shudder to think what it will feel
like to punch in TWO new numbers on an elliptical machine. If I want to
reinvent myself—as all empty nesters must—then NOW is the time. No more postponing, no more saying “there’s
always next year.” Turning middle-aged dreams into reality takes time and
My latest ideas are a lot more
complicated than converting my son’s childhood room into a den. For the past
five years, I’ve been gestating a memoir, writing and rewriting the story of
raising my unusual twins. Now it’s time
to hatch the book: “My Picture Perfect Family.” Coincidentally, the launch
began on my birthday; I met with my editor, publisher, and marketing expert to
brainstorm about the book’s release. Writing my memoir was daunting enough. But
now there are more unfamiliar tasks to be tackled and decisions to make. What should the cover look like? (Yes, you
CAN tell a lot about a book by its cover, ESPECIALLY if you believe, as I do,
that a picture is worth a thousand words.)
What is my “brand?” What about a
subtitle that clarifies the book’s purpose? Should there be an endorsement on
the front cover? What’s the difference between a prologue and an introduction? Which
copy editor is cost efficient? Which publicist has the right area of expertise?
What started as a relatively
insignificant birthday turned into a brainstorming session about the ins and
outs of birthing my book in proper form, and sending it out into the world with
a message of hope for people raising children on the autistic spectrum. There’s
a lot of work to be done—some of which I was secretly dreading—but now I see
that it’s actually going to be a lot of FUN.
Writing is a wonderful creative release, but it can leave you feeling
isolated and alone. On the other hand,
publishing is a collaborative process, and equally creative in its own way.
Oddly, I find myself enjoying the launching process more than I’d ever thought
I would. Maybe I’m just excited because
I’m involved in publishing my very FIRST book. Writing has always been about my relationship
with the empty page; now I have a supportive and enthusiastic “team” behind me,
which includes my best friend. And
sometime this coming year, I’ll finally share my story with the world. Stay
tuned. . .
year I had a bountiful birthday. Not
only did I receive a lovely gift and roses from Henry, but my son and his
girlfriend also sent flowers. My
daughter gave me a beautiful card with hearts painstakingly drawn on a pink envelope. What more could a birthday Mom want?
two weeks of blogging about dismal headlines decrying discrimination against
women (and especially women with disabilities), finally I want to tell you some
good news. This week there was an open house at
Felicity House, a new Community Center dedicated to—can you believe it—women on the autistic spectrum! Better
still, my daughter, Sarah’s film, “Keep the Change”(winner of the 2013 Columbia
University Film Festival) was shown. (See Sarah's Next Fifteen Minutes," 5/30/14). Director Rachel Israel and female lead Sarah were invited to speak about the film and answer questions. Maybe just
maybe somebody will be moved to invest in the full-length version of “Keep the
Change?” In fifteen short minutes, this extraordinary film shows that two young
people with disabilities can struggle for romantic and emotional connection and
succeed. What could be better proof of
this ability to connect than my real-life daughter Sarah and serious boyfriend of
over a year? There MUST be parents out
there who dare to dream that their sons and daughters on the autistic spectrum
will find love and someone to care for them after we’re gone.
hopes and dreams of women on the autistic spectrum matter. Although 80% of people on the spectrum are
male, that does not excuse marginalizing the 20% female minority. Sadly, 50% of the world’s population (neurotypical
women) are still not treated as equal to males, so what hope do women with
disabilities (a double minority) have of
finding a productive and respected place in the world? Answer: Not much, and that’s why I’m SO grateful
to each individual and every event that
shines a spotlight on women who—like my daughter Sarah—have already exceeded
most people’s expectations. For me, that’s the best birthday gift of all.
Labels: "Keep the Change, autism, birthdays, books, Columbia University, disabilities, empty nest, Felicity House, flowers, memoir, middle age, minorities, parents, publishing, twins, women, writing