Sisters, A Post Primary Schoolteacher and a Certified Accountant/Artist both with a passion for writing both fiction and non-fiction. Rosanne as a Maths/Biology/SEN teacher is acutely aware of the need for quality reading experiences where children can identify with and address sensitive self esteem issues, Sharon as an Accountant with a wealth of experience in Waste Management sees the importance of highlighting the environmental consequences of waste to schoolchildren through engaging reading material.
We are currently working on a number of children’s picture books, in particular those with a message of self esteem, identity and safeguarding the Environment.
‘Can I come out yet ?’ Is a cute tale of a Caterpillar’s isolation, growing up and personal change, whilst being suspended in a multicoloured cocoon away from his friends.
‘Perfectly Me’ a story of self esteem, identity and self realisation.
‘Where’s Sam ?’ An environmental adventure with Sam, a plastic Eco bottle who witnesses first hand, the devastation being brought about in the World’s five oceans by single plastic bottle use.
We have collaborated with a wonderful young illustrator ‘Caoimhe Hennessy’ who helps bring our stories to life.
In July 2020, Rosanne published a short story ‘Between the Lines’ as part of the Fighting Words/JCT pilot writing project.
‘Between the Lines’ is written from the viewpoint of a young autistic man and catalogues his difficulties navigating daily life in a poignant and amusing way.
Keeping it Real !
The sounds, smells, noise and seemingly innocuous comments that permeate the air and roll off the tongue as soon as I surface, create a daily level of sensory overload sufficient to launch a sputnik….. On an average day, the effort required to stop myself from implosion can be beyond exhausting … at every turn I am forced to compromise, facilitate and mitigate against a barrage of physical and mental stimulants which often leave me rather sad , perplexed and overcome……
I’m so often stereotyped, pigeonholed, typecast and considered an ‘obsessive compulsive’ that were I looking for a date, my perfect match would be my own alter ego. When I find something that offers longevity of interest, like ‘The History of Fonts’, I tend to dive in feet first. People, I believe, do consider this odd, but for me, it’s nothing more than an intrinsic focus on one thing. Doesn’t everybody do that from time to time….I mean, ‘Celebrity Masterchef’, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashions’, ‘Bake Off’, ‘Love Island’, ‘women’s eyebrows’ ffs ! This increasingly generic world where we all must act and look the same, speak the same vernacular and alter our attire seasonally ! ‘ I mean, ‘what are ’Trends’ ‘? : An obsolete, outmoded and fossilised ideal that compromises functionality. Warm is Warm, Cold is Cold, there is the bi-seasonality of the Jumper and the T-shirt, mission accomplished, who needs more ?
Only if you are hungry…
By midday, most days, I still resemble a ‘Zombie’ from ‘The Walking Dead’ so as soon as I hear more than the vaguest suggestion that it is necessary to eat….I’m off….Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch…. It’s all the same to me, whatever you want to call it…. I only eat when I’m hungry!
Two excruciating hours later, whilst cramming the ‘Innes, ‘Interview book’ and succumbing to the roar of a grumbling stomach, I eventually make my way down to the kitchen. My eyes not having yet acclimatised to the near anaphylactic assault of the slightly ajar south facing window, my nasal passages inflamed, gasping from ‘Allium cepa’ inhalation and already I’m expected to multitask; To what end ? Multiple tasks done simultaneously each with a less than optimal outcome. Less focus, more divergence, dystopian, delusional……bullshit. ‘One cannot fill the washing machine whilst cooking the ‘Harissa pan-fried cod with roasted roots’ concurrently loading the dishwasher’? Dinner will not be Michelin starred that’s for sure, the dishwasher will no doubt be packed unsymmetrically and there will invariably be a grey sock in the whites…..
The thing about AS is, it leads me to be easily overwhelmed, copiously misunderstood, frequently considered impolite, rude, overly direct, distracted and addicted, so if this is the rubric by which I’m known, there’s surely no reason to change…..My prefrontal cortex is like a beacon of light when I see facial expressions I don’t understand, so it really helps that people see how I react so they can give me the heads up on a verbal option….I love order, rules, discipline, operations that optimise, streamline and facilitate. The sheer beauty of systems that seamlessly work to everyone’s advantage is such a notable and enriching experience for me that I have a tendency to get enormously frustrated when people diverge from what ‘common sense’ should suggest is the norm. I frequently observe drivers stop, allowing passengers to disembark on the roundabout adjacent to my local shopping centre whilst there are signs abound for seven car parks ! The unsuspecting offender hardly knowing what has hit them. I seethe, like a thermite reaction, displaying outward revulsion as we drive and I press my hand firmly on the horn… ”defective parking, defective thinking” I say out loud, “What, I ask is wrong with them ? Who stops on a roundabout ? This, I note, is a widespread but clearly faulty behaviour, perhaps a genetic upset, an error in the DNA restrictive enzyme destroying the proofreading ability which causes their brains to effuse such irrational behaviour and yet, I am the one with no job…..
Out and About !
It’s not like I’m out and about all the time. I quite like my own company and few people understand, that on a good day, I have to circumnavigate the synaesthesia of my own dysfunctional sensory modality. Sometimes so, no, most of the time, for the benefit of myself and my co-habitants, I try to escape it…..
I often retreat to the lockdown style bubble of ‘gaming’ that most mothers I know, irrationally despise, but it allows me to be the one in control….the one who calls the shots, the one with the ‘winners badge’ and where I’m not forced to decipher neurotypical metaphors and moods. Whenever I venture out, my trips are always planned and purposeful, one might even say prosaic, but as I reluctantly sit on the second last row of the 41c bus rehearsing ‘The real meaning behind the Interview question’ and regrettably overhear a conversation, I value the opportunities in life for self-induced solitude…..
Two women, Oh I don’t know, middle aged ? people say, but given that only 0.00095760 % of the population reach 100 years this is a highly spurious and inaccurate label. They chat and I listen, but I do not understand……
“Jaysus, isn’t Paddy getting a bit long in the tooth for all that.. Maybe he’s going through a mid life crisis’.
‘I wince’. ‘Seriously, he could get hit by a bus tomorrow and it would be an ‘end of life crisis’. They continue chatting and I momentarily disengage….. whilst my brain does revolutions! ‘Perhaps if Paddy were augmented with cybernetic enhancements in the future, it might be a quarterly life crisis !!’
I’m keen to inform them of the inconsistencies and ambiguities in their statement but I have been led to believe it might be misconstrued as rude ! Well, sometimes the truth hurts ! So I proceed to explain…… fifteen minutes later, I disembark the bus…. Why is the human race so utterly dense ?
Failure to Launch Syndrome
The job interview, especially the ‘let’s have a chat’ variety, has aways held somewhat of that ‘Je ne sais quoi’ for me……
From the viewpoint of a prospective employer. ‘What’s not to like about my intense and unyielding focus, my ability to always think ‘outside the box’, an unstoppable tendency towards fairness and equality and my being a consummate logician (No God, No Santa ) not to mention an intelligence quotient of 135’. ‘Why is an extemporaneous bit of ‘brain fog’ and not aways making eye contact a deal breaker, when I can do the job… Now that you mention it, I don’t at all see the point of the ‘tell me a little about yourself’ when it’s clearly written in black ink on my CV !
So having eventually arrived at the much anticipated job interview for that elusive career in a Biopharm Microbiology Lab, I quickly scanned the area. A visual feast with it’s class1 cleanrooms and decontamination chambers…. I had been persuaded to wear a suit or the semblance of one….. however, given the requisite laboratory accoutrements of a white tyvek boiler suit, latex gloves and cleanroom goggles, I was much more keen to arrive in like attire. After all’ Tommy Hilfiger tweeds and possible exposure to Covid-19 are not going to cut it in an aseptic environment….
Anyways, I didn’t get it…. the job I mean, Did I answer the questions fully ?
Of course I did, after I had clarified every ambiguity of course. I even didn’t shake their hands…… This, I hasten to add suited me down to the ground given the minefield that is the long and firm handshake versus the bone grinding one with intense eye contact. Maybe, it’s just me, but it often feels that interviews are specifically designed to ‘out’ us with AS, so I find objectifying the interviewers as robots is usually useful. Advance eye shifting practice can be a game changer and avoids me having to focus on the meandering creases across the interviewer’s forehead.
Interview over, a ‘desert Island scenario’ awaited, where I was obliged to show ability to work as a team ! Given my level of dysfunctional perfectionism and guided by fear of the unknown, this was never going to be my trump card ! Seven tubs of neurotypical mild to moderately useful pieces of kit spaced on a boardroom table and immediately a flurry of hands with pens to the ready awaiting my choices……I scanned, delicately upturned the tubs and caught an unguarded smirk across the room…. ‘Was I doing something wrong?’ ‘ Had I messed up ? ‘I chose an elastic band and waited……’Why do they smile if something is not right?’
If I were on a desert island, I would be looking after ‘numemo uno’ ! Is this not the most intelligent and logical of ways to operate ? Indeed, think, ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘Animal Farm”. Teams are highly overrated. Teams lessen the resolve of an individual to save themselves. A swimmer 2 km from land would not look around for a team, as a team rarely looks to support the weakest link. Selfishness unfortunately is necessary, it is a potent tool to saving the one who matters and ultimately, the one who is the strongest both mentally and physically……
Me….I don’t want to be part of a team and I don’t want pity. I just want extraordinary opportunities like everybody else so that I can move on……. I want success !
The blind leading the visually gifted
With visual spatial scores of 99.9 percentile it’s somewhat difficult to argue with me when I say that non-functional asymmetry is my nemesis….The ‘secret scripture’ of streamline and substance that I love, proves that aesthetic without functionality is like a vertical asymptote with a zero denominator.
Almost everything I visualise, requires a pattern to be competed, altered or destroyed. The belt of Alnitakk, Alnilam, Mintaka and ‘Orion Constellation Theory’ come to mind…..If the Egyptians on the Giza plateau in 2490 BC could manage it with a few thousand illiterate slaves, here’s me guessing being an ‘Aspie’ is nothing new…….
Often, a daily assault course for my brain can be something as minor league as observing cars being parked over the designated parallel lines in a car park causing a non symmetrical domino effect. Hypertension inducing, and unfixable until the initial offender has been removed. That person who on finishing their shopping, leaves the trolley a mere scraping distance away from a full body respray. Why do people put things in the wrong place ?
But then, existence for me is filled to the brim with things that are in the wrong place. In my dreams, there can be no ambition to plan for urban abstraction without acknowledging the native simplicity and practicality of the grid.
God, I’d love New York !