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"Autumn" & women with aspergers

Dear friends,

One of the great pleasures of going to Farmer's Market each Saturday is I get to watch the changing of the seasons:  I at each phase, different produce appears on the tables, and over the course of the summer different individuals bring different kinds of things for people to eat, buy, wear.  Although it's still getting hot in the middle of the day (we are threatened with 90 degree weather by noon this Sunday), we have begun our fall or late summer -- coolish until 11 in the morning and then it grows hot and we put the air conditioning on by 2; we take it off by 8 and by 9 we walk.  As to farmers market the summer fruits are waning, squishy and we are getting vegetables -- squashes, corn on the cob; autumn flowers have appeared and soon it'll be all apples.


Leah Schwartz (American artist), Dijon Market

But for us otherwise than in the joy of walking in a balmy evening (with cool breezes coming in because the sun has been here just that much less and shone on us from a longer distance), the season is not signalled by a change in weather so much (though it is transitioning) as a change in schedule.


Setting forth -- Franciszka Themerson

I started my teaching: two days a week, 3 classes of Advanced Comp in the Natural Science and Tech in a row: 75 minutes each. The spirit is willing and I've seen that in my classes I have some earnest, intelligent, well-meaning students ready really to learn if offered something worth while, the body and nervous strength give out.  Tuesday my feet were killing me, my back aching, my mind dizzy. I did better on Thursday for I showed much of the Ralph Leighton biography of Richard Feynman, Last Journey of a Genius (in each class mind you). I'm getting near the end of my reading towards my paper for the EC/ASECS conference ("'I have a right to choose my own life': Liberty in the Poldark Novels. 

The admiral has bought the tickets for all of us (all but one opera for all three of us) of the Met HD series at our local moviehouse. That's what differentiates the year for him at this point. 

And Yvette, she started a good course in Irish Literature for the fall (a group of interesting books, nice professor and graduate students in the class) and is waiting for her volunteer job/internship to begin. She has her social club, and the group run by Dawn will begin in October on each Tuesday and this time have a few young women too (last time run by Michall Yvette was the only girl).

Some non-seasonal happenings; I joined a Woman with Aspergers listserv. What a kind intelligent place thus far. It's almost comical how different it is from Aspergers Adults of Washingtion, which is run by two men and dominated by a couple more. For example, the Aspergers Adults (how men continually name things as if they are the universal) puts pressure on people to be anonymous (the listowners use a pseudonym for two people who have other pseudonyms) and insists on impersonality in postings, discourages postings (do this "offlist" is often the suggestion); Women with Aspergers has a photo album for the members to put photos of themselves in (and many do), everyone uses her first name (and second too sometimes), and postings are encouraged, personal and off-topic too.

It's my conviction that women who have Aspergers experience it differently from men and the reason we don't hear much about this is research about this condition is so recent, and (as in so many areas of life) male experience is taken to be universal and they are paid so much more attention to.  Consider for example, pubescence and adolescence: how different sexuality is experienced by neurotypical boys and girls, and how much more difficult these different things are for autistic/disabled people. Consider how it's acceptable for women to marry as a career choice so that if they don't make it in the work place, it doesn't "show" the way this shows for men. This seems to be the conviction of a few social psychologists at JSSA and the listoners of Women with Aspergers (there are also two). In the introductory blurb one of them refers to an experience that repeats mine: Aspergers Adults for Washingon is stifling for women; one cannot talk about women as such, for immediately it's denied there is anything different about women. I was called "castigating:" and the word "feminist" (as a pejorative) quickly flung.  Women with Aspergers has homeschooling "moms" and topics include cats, gardening -- as well as comforting and strengthening sharing of troubing experiences and traits and how to cope with a neurotypical world.  One woman said she likes my choice of Sylvia: for her to Gaudy Night can function as a comfort book.

I don't say  I didn't have some bad experiences: a workshop last week was a ordeal of imposition (this fly-by bullying which passes for making team feeling, hypocrisy and flagrant class system); Yvette was depressed for patch of time.  I've been re-persuaded all the major institutions of US life are utterly corrupt. They have not always been so. They are now.  A free for all on middle, working class & vulnerable (disabled). Supreme court decisions announced backing on this open war. A recent experience in medical establishment (psychiatry now one of the worst places) & buying something online (where we are now engaged in refusing to pay for what we didn't order -- stay away from NYTimes online) demonstrates this. I got a poisonous letter from someone who has done this before; one whose calculated cruelties reminded me of when I was 14 and asked if such people didn't do this sort of thing unconsciously and was told such people know just what they are doing. Aspergers Women told me to protect myself by staying away. Broad essays in LRB this week bring out where the encouragement for getting away with blatant violations comes from.

Still I'm cheerful tonight because Yvette seems headed in that right direction at last; and we all seem to have an active set of pleasant as well as somewhat remunerative activities ahead.  Yvette and I even managed to set on course a possible fruitful grouping for her through Kaiser.  I've been listening to Anton Lesser read aloud an abridged version (one-half chopped away) of Dickens's Little Dorrit, and now with a little initial help from Davies's movie, I'm strongly fond of Amy, and identify have bonded with Arthur Clenham. I spent over 4 hours in my car yesterday (I hope not on a fruitless quest but time will tell) and the interminableness of the drive, the traffic jams were made endurable by Lesser reading of Little Dorrit.


I do love Davies film adap[tation -- especially Matthew MacFayden as Arthur Clenham.

But for this and Emma Donoghue's Slammerkin, Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect, Simone de Beauvoir's autobiography, Robert Southey's Letters from England, women poets read, you must read my other two blogs, gentle reader.

I grow fonder of my cats by the day.



Sylvia

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