Letter from the North

Letter from the North Fri 15-Sep-2017

Incremental Publishing

Hopefully this letter is quicker to write and easier to edit than last week’s, so here we go: 

Teresa was sitting here with me earlier as I supped my first pint of Proper Job and told me that I need a change of topic/subject for these letters, I have no idea what that means, but I think she means less ‘difficult’ subjects? 

I’m not sure how she thinks I find the inspiration behind each letter and hence have any control over what comes out as the ideas for each letter. But I suppose I should try to respect her suggestion 🙂  

That said there are two “rants” I need to get off my chest::

First rant, there was a bit of excitement on Facebook (so you know it must be true) this week which said that Eddie Izzard was Transgender and wanted to enter parliament.

On the second part of that bit of news, I wish I could be excited, but he follows in the steps of others from outside of mainstream politics in the UK (Glenda Jackson and Martin Bell come to mind), who have disappeared without trace. English politics seems to be driven by the two major (and one minor) parties with sheep as followers/members. 

I want my MP to stand up and say ‘that’s not right’ and their leadership says ‘fair cop guv.’ But I know it’s just not going to happen. 

On the first part, all I saw was an awful lot of comments on Facebook saying he (Eddie Izzard) can’t be transgender because he’s said in the past he is a transvestite. Lot of ‘he’s’ (look up personal pronouns) in there  

As Juno Dawson’s book illustrates so well (see the letter  from 18th Aug 2017), it can take time before you are able to work out your sexuality and/or gender. This stuff is quick for some and a slow burn for others. 

In any case, how anyone but Eddie Izzard can know his/her/their/… gender or sexuality for that matter, is beyond me. I really don’t get how people feel they can, should and worst of all believe they are competent to comment on someone else’s gender/sexuality. 

Second rant, there is an autism Facebook group I watch and a wife posted a question, more of a comment really, that she and her husband were heading towards divorce but he has now been ‘diagnosed’. 

There were a number of comments at the time, all by women, all with the same message – ‘don’t let the bastard get away with using autism as an excuse for abusing you’. Now the original poster hadn’t indicated anything of the kind. So, were those making comments talking about themselves, their experiences and/or their fears and then imposing them on this woman and her husband? I don’t know, but again I find it disappointing (but not surprising) how people feel able to form conclusions about other people’s private lives and state those opinions publicly. 

I know nothing of the personal circumstances of the original poster or their partner, but, there is some stuff I do know about: me. I am the ONLY person I can speak authoritatively about and indeed the ONLY person who can speak authoritatively about me. 

I have discussed Cassandra’s syndrome before and it is very real, but abusive relationships go both ways, and speaking as an autistic who has been married 3 times, I was as much abused as abuser. That word “abuse” is, I know, a difficult one and gets tossed around rather a lot, especially in the media, so I use it for effect, not because I attach a particular meaning to it. 

  • I know my desire for control leads to me imposing on my spouse in unacceptable ways (Cassandra). 
  • I know my spouse’s inability to understand how different I am results in them imposing ideas of ‘normal’ on me that causes me major distress. 

 That is,  

  •  I don’t understand my impact on you – bad. 
  • You don’t understand your impact on me – bad. 

Oh, and as usual, I use a word like ‘bad’ and everyone thinks they know what I mean, you don’t, unless you understand my non-language world. You think it means what it says, it doesn’t, it is the visible portion of something quite different but is the best word I could find to stand in for all of that meaning underneath the surface. 

‘Let us Talk’ – that is the premise of Beanisons. It is in communication based on understanding that we can move things forward. A diagnosis is a start but it is only a start if BOTH sides of the relationship learn the strengths and limitations of how autism manifests in an individual. It takes two to tango. 

It is frustrating how often one sees on social media people pontificating about stuff, especially about other people, that they cannot know anything about. The harm they can cause is frightening and is why I very rarely comment on anything on Facebook and even more rarely try to advise. That needs to be done in a one to one situation. 

Interestingly a few weeks later (you can see how long the editing process takes on these letters!). There was a subsequent but similar posting on the same group which got a very different reaction. Much more sensible (in my eyes anyway) talking about the need for communication between NTs and autistics to work out relationship dynamics. 

And there is part of the problem, opinion is just that (especially on social media), which is why I try to always be clear that what I write here is MY opinion and I don’t speak for anyone else. I will sometimes try to generalise but I never believe I speak for anyone else, especially not Teresa. 

So, let’s change the subject a bit (Teresa did ask me to), I’ve often written on the problem of writing, both of getting the words down and of the editing process itself, the problem of not thinking in language, or at least language based on words. 

I wrote a ‘biography’ (it’s not, but what it is would take a book to explain so, for now, that’s as good a word as any). However, I am struggling to complete the editing of the first section. I have contemplated “incrementally” publishing it. 

  1. A chapter at the time 
  2. After each chapter is released, the previous ones will probably change as I always edit from the beginning. 
  3. Only ask people to pay for the book once, no matter how often it changes. 
  4. Listen to feedback, if any, and try to adapt the writing if what I am trying to say doesn’t come across how I want it to. 
  5. I think I can do that with a tool called ‘Leanpub‘, which seems to work for that model. It seems to be primarily used for technical writing, but I see no reason not to use its model for my purposes. 

When all the chapters are finished I will probably try to release it on Kindle on Amazon (Leanpub allows Kindle and general Epub version to be published as well). However, Amazon charge for new versions, so I suspect it will always be dual published because I doubt it will ever be ‘finished’. 

I’m sure I should write more on this, I know Teresa wants me to, but I can’t think of the words, so I will do another edit of the book and start the process and you can see it in action (if you want to ????).

I know I’m not a writer in the conventional sense of the word, if I were to express myself in a way that felt like it was me, then I have no idea what that would look like. Each word would take a book to explain and every time that word was used its meaning would change and need a new book of definitions and explanations. 

I know what my patterns feel like to me, but I can’t paint a picture in paint or words that would describe the patterns 

Do, I give up trying to write (books or blogs) or do I just keep on trying? 

Giving up would be so easy, but, … 


I have, at the time of this edit (24-Oct-2017, so five weeks after the first draft of this letter), managed to edit two chapters of the aforesaid book. I will try and get a few more done tonight at The North and see if I can get this Leanpub model to work.  

The fact that this letter is still in edit after so long and the previous week’s has just been published, shows just how hard this language malarkey is for me. 

The Bean, The North, Fri 15-Sep-2017 


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