top of page

APUK Blog

Writing, Motherhood and The Mask

This guest post about writing about autistic experience and being an autistic parent is by Eule Grey.


My writing journey has been an integral part of my exploration of autism and the process of unmasking. It has also coincided with my teen child’s diagnosis and development. My forthcoming book is a young adult story about two autistic teenagers. My child helped me to formulate the plot, and had a great deal of input into the characters.


Working with my own child on a book about our neurology, and our community, was absolutely precious. I will never forget it. We discussed what we wished the world knew about us. More than anything, we wanted to show what it’s like to think as an autistic person and to crush the hurtful stereotype once and for all that autistic people do not experience love. A teacher said those very words to me years ago. They have haunted me ever since.


My experience of the publishing industry as an autistic parent is not so different from my experience of work. I watch and listen, always wanting to get more involved, and yet not knowing how. I am pretty useless on social media. I’ve been very lucky in finding a publisher who is actively seeking books written by neurodivergent authors called Neurodivergent and Queer. I have a patient editor, but still, the editing process and the necessary communication between us can be tricky, especially with a book that means so much to me and my child.


an owl sits on a stack of books with more books piled up behind, in front of a light blue twinkly background

I worried obsessively about portraying my community in the right way. The last thing I wanted was to compound the myths. Being honest about our daily struggles as well as celebrating our talents was no easy task. Masking has been my constant life shadow. I hate it but find it necessary. Writing is a reflection of my life, and so, the mask cannot easily be thrown away in my creative endeavours either.


My editor returned my first submission of this book and asked that I re-structure it. She didn’t understand the chronology. I tried to explain that autistic people live with the past and the future in a more intense way than neurotypicals. She didn’t understand. This encounter is an excellent example of my experience as an autistic writer. I can never achieve perfect communication to the neurotypical world via the word because our thought processes are so different. I ache to throw away the mask but at the same time I want to sell books. If nobody reads my book, our efforts were for nothing.


Once again, my child helped me. They suggested a new chronology which is an authentic reconstruction of autistic thought. My editor liked it. The book was accepted.


Writing as an autistic parent is wonderful, scary, time-consuming, exhilarating—in short, all the things that make up a life. The strong bond that I have with my child is reinforced every time we discuss my books. For that, I am forever grateful.


Eule Grey.


If We Were Stars is due for release April 2nd at all online stores.




37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page