Since I cringe at anything that smells like shameless self-promotion, I promise to keep this short. Yes, I wrote a book. No, not everybody on the planet liked it. Well, the publisher did. And yes, a lot of parents said really nice things like, “Finally! Someone can give me practical day-to-day advice!” And no, I don’t want anyone to think for even a second that it was a universal crowd pleaser, because there was a small-but-determined number of people who HATED my book and called me ugly names. If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you might remember that I started this blog in the first place because I was tired of not being able to speak back to people who completely misunderstood what I wanted to say.
I’m a very shoot-from-the-hip person, but when you pair that with my feeling of desperation about my daughter’s diagnosis, you get someone who is going to say what she thinks and she doesn’t care if it hurts you. Sadly, I haven’t learned a lesson from negative reviews, because I’m not sorry if people are offended by my book. I see autism as a creature that is trying to steal my child. DAILY. It sneaks in my house every single day and tries to take my daughter away from me by making her shut down and withdraw. There is no time to waste on politeness and cute suggestions.
But what some of the offendees didn’t see was that I don’t love my daughter any less because of her diagnosis. I fully agree that there are people who don’t appreciate my tone or my writing style, so maybe they envisioned a nightmare concentration camp set up in my house where I torture and punish my child into conforming. I PROMISE that is not the case. Everyone who meets her quickly finds herself wrapped around Carrie’s finger, if there’s any room left on said finger after Mamma is wrapped there! It is because I love her more than oxygen that I have to fight for her. It would have been such a relief to give in years ago, or to even give up the day the doctor said the words. But I love her too much. I wake up every single day prepared to go into battle against a faceless entity that wants me daughter to stop talking and stop smiling. And every day, I snatch her back from autism.
But luckily, now that Carrie is getting older or I have gotten a little bit wiser, I’ve written a second book. Several people have asked for a sequel to my first book, and to that, I actually say no. There is no sequel to autism, because it changes every day. I couldn’t possibly sit down and write, “Okay, here’s what you do NOW.” Instead, this book is aimed at an entirely different audience. I’m very excited about it and thrilled to say it is off to the publisher right now (or, in other words, OUT OF MY HANDS AT THIS POINT!) It is a more mature book, I’m hopeful that it is a less intimidating and smart-mouthy book, but more important, it is a book that I hope is filled with a sunny outlook that I couldn’t feel when I wrote the first book. Carrie was small when I began sharing her story and the future was still so scary; she’s older and becoming more of who autism is going to let her be, and I hope this next project reflects that.