Make your own treeI was thinking about Naughtyman and how he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. It was a bad diagnosis because he meets few of the criteria. Of course there's something up with him but it's precisely that he's Naughtyman, not that he's something simply categorised with a list of symptoms (B's dad, who is a psychologist, says that Naughtyman certainly does not have Asperger's because he is very social; although he has some anxiety around new people and situations, he doesn't avoid social contact--he will look you in the eye when you talk to him, and he's a loving and giving boy). He's like me in that. Mrs Zen used to google Asperger's because I was writing a character with it, and she thought I must have it because I lack empathy. But the truth is, I don't. I lack empathy. It's not a part of a broader picture. It's just something about me.
One criterion for Asperger's is an inability to understand figurative language. Of course I understand figurative language very well, but I don't like it. I don't enjoy simple metaphors in writing and what is more, I don't enjoy descriptive writing much either. I don't enjoy reading it and I don't indulge in it. I was talking to B and I said, Aspies don't understand things like "my heart was racing like a steam train" because hearts are nothing like steam trains. My objection is that I prefer to say "my heart beat fast" and you can decide what that's like. I like to write in extended metaphors, which are built from blocks of concrete language. I do not say "there were great oaks that spread their branches like a giant's clothed limbs, cloaked in the luxuriant russets of their autumn foliage". I say "there were trees". In my writing, you make your own tree.
Once I wrote a post in which I suggested that women think I should be a pond, in which they could see themselves reflected, but I am more like the sea, where all you can see is shards of reflection, which you must form for yourself into a picture that makes sense. And I think that captures well what is good about how I write: I do not describe the world you live in for you; I do not reflect it back to you; instead I give you pieces of understanding about it, which you must fashion into your own picture. I think it seems I am more generous, when really I am willing to give you much less than it seems. Literary types use artifice to make a world for you to enter, enslaving you to their vision. I offer you freedom, but if the metaphor I have built is clever enough, I enslave you in a more subtle way. You think the shards are reflections of a truth, and they are, but you are led to believe it is a truth we share, because you must construct it. Yet ultimately it is the truth as I see it. It doesn't always work, and failure is much more common than success if I'm honest, but there is no limitation on how many blog posts you can experiment in, and anyway, I am always and forever only talking to myself, seeing my own reflection. What else could I do, lacking any way to understand who you are?