Chelsea Public Library Reading

This past week, I had a chance to do a reading at the Chelsea Public Library, hosted by librarian Emily Meloche.  It was a beautiful venue, receiving the Best Small Library Award from the Library Journal in 2008.

During the discussion after the reading, I was reminded of the many ways people come to the “story” of autism: as parents, care providers, professionals, neighbors, and relatives.  From a number of parents, I heard briefly of their experiences.  Since the event, I found myself thinking of a past exchange, one that I tell of in the chapter entitled “Flood Plain”  in An Archaeology of Yearning. Not long after my son had been diagnosed, in the mid-1990s, I was waiting for him at his school.  Having just dropped off her own son, a woman sat beside me, and we began a conversation.  But, called to her meeting, she had to leave.  In the book, I write: “… I think back to the woman’s eyes and the healing pause of a hesitant recognition, a shared longing, a hunger for the retelling or a new telling of a story she well knew.  It was what we both needed, this amending, this wash of words.”

I do think that the finding of language, the wrapping of words around the chaos of experience, can be healing.  We just can’t stop doing it.