Linkspam Friday: August 10

I’m trying to get used to a new keyboard/desk arrangement on the advice from the OT at the pain clinic, which is making typing difficult for me. Even the slightest of changes in posture and arrangement throw me off to a ridiculous degree in terms of body memory, pain and not triggering migraines–I will get used to it, probably, but the adjustment period is difficult, more disabling for me than my pain. I’ve now also got to hunt down an affordable sideways mouse to see if that helps me use it more comfortably.

On the positive side, I do keep my shoulders and neck in the correct position, and I’ve been using my iPad as well as it is possible to use a tablet in terms of propping it on pillows and my bag. His opinion is more that I shouldn’t be trying to use it with the tucked-in-no-arms-out-everywhere position wielded by everyone else … but it’d be so nice to be able to comfortably use my devices on the train without needing to occupy two seats. I still don’t know how other folks do this. Not being autistic? Souls sold to demons? Who knows, because I don’t.

Apparently I type fast, but I talk, walk and read fast, too, so this should be a surprise to nobody. I’ve never operated at normal human speed.

Post: “Heartfelt”, The Good Doctor and Autistic Character Arc – In which I prove that I am still not over this ableist disaster of an episode by complaining about it and discussing the need to centre our need for representation instead on the works of autistic creatives. I admit that I have a few horses in this race, but I am so tired of seeing The Good Doctor praised for including a character who moves like me when the story is still so focused on seeing Shaun become more allistic. One day I’ll have the spoons to write a long-arse essay on why I am not a fan.

Post: Trans Characters Versus Trans Fiction – In which I rant about the phenomenon of seeing any book with a trans side character (by a cis author) recommended (by cis reviewers) as trans fiction … while trans authors of trans fiction with trans narrating protagonists struggle to get the same recommendations and audience. I have horses in this race as well to say the least, but am I tried of having well-meaning folks recommend me a story as important trans rep only to discover that the character is a side character.

Header text: Aro Worlds: Connecting aro creatives and aro audiences. Header is in antique black type above an ornate divider.

Ask: Fandom, Shipping and the Block Button – In which I get the fandom absolutely wrong, but I still think there’s something worth the reading in my discussion of using the block and blacklist functions to tailor our online activities so we’re not burdened by excess amatonormativity. I do feel that there’s a lot of pressure on LGBTQIA+ folks to be exposed to material that makes us uncomfortable in order to discuss and dissect it, not to mention enduring for the sake of maintaining relationships with those who don’t understand our discomfort with casual amatonormativity and erasure, more than is right and reasonable.

Post: Shadowdale and the Birth of Fletcher Ace – In the draft of the above post, I jumbled two names of TV shows and the resulting fandoms that are notorious, shall we say, for their aromantic erasure in their asexual characters (Riverdale and Shadowhunters). Because I am a passive-aggressive-yet-slightly-vindictive arse, I immediately wondered what would happen if I wrote a story about a town full of aro-ace called Shadowdale who start selling romance in response to a drought, and made a post about it. One day I will stop underestimating a-spec folks’ love of a-spec puns and slightly-snarky commentary on amatonormativity and allonormativity, but I’m intensely flattered at the interest folks have expressed! Here’s a reply post where I talk about protagonist Fletch’s genderqueerness and my feelings of needing to write another non-binary character.

Ask: Why Phobia Language is Ableist – In which I try to explain, again, why we should be looking at moving away from this construction. The same anon sends a second ask in response suggesting that non-mental-illness uses of “phobia” render this unnecessary, and I’ll admit by this time I was well and truly pissed off. I’ve written eight posts on this topic, all of them tagged, and I still get reply comments asking me to explain my reasoning because the asker won’t take the time to search my blog or tags for other posts. The anon probably didn’t realise this context in which they were trying to engage me, but this was one of the rare times I got angry on a blog where the vast majority of my followers are exceptionally amazing.

Reblog: History of -Misia – User @aroacelibrary offers up potential problems with the suffix -misia as a replacement for -phobia on the above post, and later offers me a few more links. As I said in the post, I’m honestly unsure at this point what to think, and I’ve not yet had the spoons to go deeply into this, but it’s on my to-do-list. I hate that there’s such a history of words being assigned a false history in online Tumblr LGBTQIA+ discussions that I can’t take this at face value from fear this is another case where a useful word has been tarnished by a troll. Just trying to not be ableist shouldn’t be this complicated.

Ask:  A-Spec Identity, Activism and Survival – In which another lovely anon pays me a compliment and asks how I survive in a world where to be a-spec is to be marginalised and erased (often while people insist that your pain doesn’t matter), so I talk about creativity and gratitude as my means of survival and my activism. I do think a habit for gratitude and appreciation is one of the more unspoken elements of activism that we should be encouraging, because I believe it’s a thousand times more powerful than even the most eloquent of rant posts.

Header text reads "Stim Toy Box" in white text on a colourful, stripedfractal background. Two small bear images stand on either side of the text, one holding a fish and wearing a fishing hat, the other holding a pot and wearing a spinner cap. The edges of the banner mimic torn paper.

Review – The Reject Shop Bandy Ball – In which I review a Bandy Ball, which is basically a Koosh Ball with a fabric loop attached to the top. I like this better than my Koosh Ball, and it’s far more accessible and affordable. If you can handle the latex, I recommend this without hesitation.

Ask – Stim Toys for Chronic Hand Pain, Part One – In which an anon makes the possible mistake of asking me to recommend toys for stimmers with chronic hand pain. Because this is a subject dear to my own heart, I spend the first part talking about varying stimming, building a diverse stim kit and pacing when using stim toys. I do not see enough conversations about the dangers of using a toy for hours at a time, so I will lecture on the least provocation.

Ask – Stim Toys for Chronic Hand Pain, Part Two – In which I stop lecturing and actually start recommending said toys. In writing this, I realised just how much I’ve come to avoid toys that require gripping–which was something the OT spoke about yesterday, the importance of holding with maximum relaxation and minimum grip.

Ask – Change in Stimming Habits – In which an anon asks about no longer needing to stim and if that’s normal. Based on my experience, as someone whose need to stim is as varied as my pain levels, absolutely it is, but I also think it important to check to make sure this lack of need isn’t originating from depression-caused apathy or loss of interest.

Ask – Finding Tangle Jr Classics – In which I try to talk generally about where one can find affordable Tangles in answer to an anon’s question.

Header image comprising layer of two pieces of clear tape stuck in a row. Grey pencil text reading "writing and fiction" has been drawn over the tape, with a rainbow underline in crayon beneath the text.

Fletcher Ace and the Draconis Stratagem – Fortunately or unfortunately, the above posts spiralled into a couple of story ideas about an aro-ace genderqueer on a quest to pretend to be a world-famed lover in order to promote hir town’s selling of romantic trappings (because romance sells) to save the drought-stricken Shadowdale. There’s bad a-spec pun names aplenty, characters garbed in pride colours and oodles of references that are made with a-spec (particularly aromantic-spec) readers in mind. Fletch is particular, fashionable, neat to a fault and terrible at keeping people waiting while ze ensures hir clothing and hir world is presented just so, and I’m quite enjoying writing hir as a character unconcerned with other people’s responses.

I have to admit at this point that the Marchverse is becoming a kind of catch-all setting for these sorts of stories, although where else would I set a story that has a village of aro-aces selling romance to alloromantics? Fletcher Ace is set well after all other stories with absolutely no crossover, though, and I’m having fun with trains, bicycles and steamships. If you’re uninterested in any of my other works and wish a lot more a-spec-focused comedy and a bit more steampunk, this will be for you.

The Performance Magician – I’m still in the third chapter, and it’s become something of an essay on why sympathy can sometimes be the worst thing to offer to a person if the recipient is unaccustomed to receiving it. Efe is trying, but nothing about this job is as simple as he thought it was going to be. I worry that an allistic audience will disengage here, in that Darius’s needs as an autistic will be shoved into the “too hard” basket and they won’t understand why Efe should keep trying even when there’s nothing in Efe’s world that has prepared him for this. I also hate that I have to worry about this because it should be normal that allistics give a damn about their autistic companions and co-workers. I don’t think I’ll change anything at this point, but I do feel a little uneasy–even though I shouldn’t.

The worst unspoken problem about being a marginalised creator is that creeping doubt I have to ignore to tell my own stories. I truly cannot imagine that feeling of only worrying about one’s craft being misjudged or misread…

If you have a few dollars to spare and you’d like to help me survive to keep on doing the work I do in the online neurodiverse and aro-spec communities as well as my fiction writing, not to mention aiding in the purchase of expensive adaptive equipment so I can better function as a disabled activist and creator, please consider donating to my ko-fi.