Many of the children on the Autism Spectrum are said to have “sensory issues.” These children seem to lack a filter most of us take for granted, and so the volume of sights, sounds, smells, and tactile information streaming through us can feel overwhelming. Thus, the sounds of children shouting on the playground are experienced as a hundred radios turned to full volume at once; the tag on the new shirt becomes an unbearable irritation. I think that perhaps everyone is autistic in some way, though for adults it is not sights, sounds, and smells that overwhelm us but stories of ceaseless suffering: The small boy in the wheelchair passing us on the street; the story of the murder-suicide in the news. These stories come to us without their full context, and so we are left only with a tragic glimpse, and life becomes a series of random and unfortunate coincidences.
Yet nothing thing in life has ever occurred out of context; everything comes at the edge of all that has preceded it, is born into the present moment by the entirety of the past. As writers we have an opportunity to provide our readers with that past, with a broader view of the life in which suffering occurs.
Nothing we write will ever approach the infinite detail of life, from its darkest beginning until now. That is not our job. We need only provide a fractional portion of it. Within this fragment can be felt the truth of life’s inherent equilibrium. You may not always believe in this equilibrium yourself, you may despair, you may be overwhelmed, you may feel doomsday drawing near – and yet our stories, as our lives, have a way of coming to rest, as suffering sheds its loneliness and rejoins the life it had forgotten.
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