Autism / Fibromyalgia / Spoonie Challenges

Even friendly-neighbourhood Spoonie editors experience burnout.

I love the Spoonie Authors Network. It’s been a blessing since its inception and continues to inspire (in a healthy way) wonderful things. The SpAN allowed me to gather up people who experience disability and chronic conditions in various ways. Sometimes it allowed the creatives to come to terms with the fact that they are indeed Spoonies, that they are “disabled enough” to belong to this supportive community.

Because of my own neurodiversity, I enjoy expanding the meaning of things for the sake of inclusion. I am aware that the term Spoonie might irk some, so they’ve abandoned it, but for me, it still has great meaning because it’s led me to where I am today in my understanding of disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, and Mad culture. And really, I still manage spoons, so the term still fits for me. My goal for this network is to be welcoming to “Spoonie” writers, bloggers, authors, and poets.

If it weren’t for the SpAN, I wouldn’t have been motivated to pitch Nothing Without Us to Presses Renaissance Press. And that anthology has turned out to be something that amazes me daily. How the heck did Talia and I get so lucky to end up with the authors in this collection? Nothing Without Us also taught us that there are so many writers in our community who want their protagonists to be known to the world. We are the heroes, not the sidekicks.

Also because of connecting with autistic humans, I was able to identify that I myself am autistic. The realization was like a BOOOOOIIING moment, similar to a cartoon character’s revelation. I’ve already been in discussion with my therapist and doctor about it, and will explore things even further, to help me cope with certain issues. One of them is sensory overload, and the other is burnout.

I’m afraid I’ve hit a mental and physical wall, like my brain and body shouting, “NOPE!” in unison. Work on the anthology, preparing for the release of my second novel, a nasty illness for seven months of this year (and three from the previous year), then topping it all with masking…just did me in. My mental health isn’t fantastic right now, and my fatigue has levelled up to 100 light years past exhaustion.

This is why there haven’t been as many articles on the SpAN this year. I’ve had to prioritize with what spoons I had.

But! I am currently asking my contributors to, well, contribute (hence their title), and I’m hoping to continue bringing you quality articles about their experiences as Spoonie humans who are creating all the things—or resting from creating all the things. Because rest is vital for all of us.

In the meantime, Talia and I invite you to check out the Nothing Without Us website for author interviews and information about the anthology, and if you’d like to purchase this own-voices, multi-genre anthology, please go to the Presses Renaissance Press online shop. Nothing Without Us is available in audiobook, ebook, and paperback.

Thanks for sticking with the Spoonie Authors Network, dear readers. You’re awesome. Here’s to a continued awesome future at the SpAN!

Cheers!


Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohent Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology in an attempt to take over the world. Narf.

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