This year, I have felt the call to advocate for the Autism Community like never before. I’ve written and published two books of poetry, but I knew this challenge was going to be different. As an individual who is on the Autism Spectrum and a writer, I felt an urge to write my story. It seemed like a simple task. I’m a writer, right? But the words wouldn’t come.
Then one night, while my family and I were putting together a photo book, an idea came to me like the old cliche “light bulb”. I was literally filled with such a sense of urgency as if struck by lightning. I immediately grabbed my pen and journal and started writing a the rough draft of my manuscript. I had never thought of writing a children’s book but I was on a mission. My hands hurt I was writing so fast.
All of the sudden it seemed so simple. I would write a story, but it wouldn’t be my own life story. I was to write an interactive story to help other’s that are not on the Autism Spectrum, to understand those who are. My hand hurt as I wrote and re-wrote my short out-line and then manuscript. I was filled with such an intense sense of excitement. Yes, I had finally found my mission with advocacy.
The next day, I had already almost finished the manuscript and started researching how much it would cost to have it illustrated. My heart sank momentarily which just the thought of how much this book would cost to create. But I started making phone calls.
After some networking, I reached out to Dani Bowman of Powerlight Studios, who is also on the Autism Spectrum, about illustrating the book. I was blown away by her story and felt so honored when she agreed to illustrate my children’s book. We made an agreement and suddenly this “fleeting” idea turned into a reality. She is almost finished with the illustrations and then I begin my quest for a literary agent with the same passion to see this book come to life.
I will be pursuing traditional publishers before self publishing. I feel like it will help reach more people this way. Not because I personally deserve recognition as a writer, but because the next generation, whether they are on the Autism Spectrum or not, deserves a better childhood and a better future than what this world currently has to offer. They deserve to live in a world with less ignorance and more acceptance; A world that encourages them to understand that each of us is different, but at the same time- we’re really, really just the same.