Sunday, May 27, 2012


Today I worked with a little boy whose mind hasn't kept pace with everything else. It's interesting when being able to handle a crayon is a huge leap forward.

"Normals" are expected to progress the same way--crawl by a certain age, able to sit still, walking, all are milestones that can be targeted more or less to the calendar. But the thing that makes life interesting are the variances.

Life would be extremely boring if we were all normal.

In one of my stories I used a little boy with autism. In another, someone with multiple personalities. I like using unusual (i.e., nontraditional) characters. Old people, widows, children with disabilities, they're all interesting, and all different. Writing them is different as well, since they don't fit into the mold that people expect. Their behavior, speech patterns (or lack of) and personalities are going to be different.

I like to write about the differences in the human spectrum rather than the sameness. I sincerely hope that no one will ever describe my writing as "normal."

Excerpt from "The Maker"

The woman moved away, through one of the wide arches. A moment later she was back, leading a child by the hand. Perhaps six years old, Bar thought, although he wasn’t certain. The woman knelt beside him, keeping hold of a hand. “Sjus.”

That seemed to be the child’s name, although he made no attempt to make eye contact with the woman.

Gently she grasped his chin and turned his head toward her. “Sjus, you heard a baby in the halls.”

His tongue touched his lip, and he stared at the wall. Betina glanced worriedly at Keeper Bar, then returned her attention to the child. Everyone else seemed unconcerned about the child’s odd behavior.

The woman spoke again. “Sjus.”

For just a moment he met her eyes, then glanced away. Abruptly he opened his mouth, and Bar stiffened as he heard the wail of a young child emerge. The sound lasted only a moment before it cut off abruptly, followed by little whining sounds as if the child’s cries were being smothered by a hand.

Quietly, Bar knelt beside the woman and copied the gesture of gently grasping the boy’s chin so that he was forced to look at the older man. “What else did you hear?”

The boy’s eyes glittered at him for a moment, and Bar could have sworn he looked amused. Again the boy opened his mouth, and although the voice was his own he was repeating, verbatim, what Bar had told the Elders on the roof the night before. Bar let him talk, nodding, and for the first time the child met his eyes.

“Can you show me where you were when you heard the baby cry?” Bar kept his eyes on the boy’s face, even while the boy stared at his shoulder.

“He doesn’t understand,” the woman whispered, but Bar lifted a hand, hushing her.

“Can you show me where you were when you heard the baby cry?”

The boy smiled and turned away, running through the crowded room without apparent concern for those he ran into. He simply bounced off them and continued, although Bar noted that most moved out of his way, as if this behavior was habitual.

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