Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I was just thinking

Neil from At My Table has nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award. Neil lives in Melbourne, Australia, and is the father of M, a seven-year-old girl who has autism. If you're not familiar with Neil's blog, I encourage you to check it out - but here's a warning: visit on a full stomach. Neil is a chef and his blog is mostly about food, complete with tantalizing descriptions and photographs that (quite literally) make my mouth water.

Neil occasionally comments here and I occasionally comment on At My Table, but unfortunately I can't point you toward our best exchanges: They have all happened on e-mail. Neil tends to start the conversations. He reads something I've posted, then sends an e-mail that starts with "I see what you mean, but I'm wondering if you've thought about..." or "I think this other thing is also true..." or "Have you ever wondered...", and a terrific dialogue ensues. Though Neil and I come from similar philosophical perspectives, he is still able to challenge my thinking and help me to articulate not just what I believe, but also why I believe it.

In short, a Thinking Blogger Award from Neil is high praise, indeed.

The official rules for participation in the Thinking Blogger Awards meme are as follows:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

So now it's my turn to name five bloggers who make me think. For this round, I am naming writers who, like Neil, have challenged my thinking both on-blog and off. Here are my picks:

1. Kristina Chew from AutismVox: Kristina was one of my earliest blogging friends. I was in awe of her ability to post lengthy daily updates when she chronicled life with her son Charlie at Autismland, but I am completely blown away by the sheer volume of information and opinion she posts at AutismVox. Her blog has become my one-stop-shopping source for all things autism. Beyond the blog, though, Kristina has been an invaluable resource for insight, perspective, and support. Though I have never met her face-to-face, I have spent a lot of time over the past few years talking with her heart-to-heart.

2. Kevin Leitch from Left Brain/Right Brain: When I was new to blogging and new to the concept of neurodiversity, Kevin scared the daylights out of me. Kev doesn't mince words. Ever. He says what he thinks, and he says it loudly and boldly for all the world to hear. As a result, he is something of a lightning rod for those who disagree with his perspectives and his blog tends to be just the sort of blog that mine is not. That's the blogging Kev.

And then there's the other behind-the-scenes Kev (sorry if I'm outing you here, buddy). That Kev - the Kev of e-mail, the Kev behind Autism Hub and the Autism Parents Forum - that Kev knows the importance of connection and support and friendship. That Kev spent a whole afternoon on a trans-Atlantic assist, helping me to realize a last-minute idea I had for a Christmas present for Bud. And that is the Kev who makes me think most, and whom I have come to consider a friend.

3. MothersVox from Autism's Edges: MothersVox is a thinker who makes my head spin and a writer whose words stop me short again and again and again. She is also one of the few bloggers I "know" whose need for privacy rivals my own, which goes a long way in making me feel settled with the issue: If this tremendous thinker shares it, can it really be that bad? And that we have been able to get more "real" behind the scenes is simply an added treat.

4. Kyra from This Mom: Here's the thing about Kyra: whatever she's selling, I'm buying. Kyra writes with a passion that pulls me in every single time. Whether she's writing about tweezers or herbal supplements or autism remediation, when I finish reading her words I am ready to sign on the dotted line: Yes! Me, too! I'll have what she's having! Kyra's highs soar, her lows crash, and she is real, real, real. She is just the sort of blogger friend I need in my life, and I feel very lucky to know she only a click away.

5. Kristen from From Here to There and Back: Kristen is one of my newest blogging friends. Our conversations began on e-mail and I like to think that she is blogging today because I badgered her into. You can thank me later. And believe me, you will thank me.


neil said...

Want to know a secret? The reason a lot of my comments came via email was I was a little scared that half the autism world was going to come down on me for not thinking the right way about the things you were writing about. Autism is such a difficult area to understand, I mean straight away there are two separate strands of thought from those who have it and those that care for them, and try as we might, we parents and carers really don't always understand what it's like to walk in their shoes. I think that by looking closer at the issues we write about and examining them in different ways, it helps to shed more light. If it's true that we learn from our mistakes, we should never be afraid of making them. I have another secret...I'm not really a chef, I just like to cook!

Anonymous said...

you are such a dear. thank you for your wonderful words. yes, the highs soar, don't they? and those lows, watch out. but in the middle, i get to read all YOUR words and click on all your links and feel connnected to you and bud and this whole blogging community of men and women, whose ideas and stories grow me, everyday.

kristen spina said...

Wow. I am honored to be placed in such amazing company. I feel...well, speechless, actually.

You didn't quite "badger" me into it, but there was something about those original emails that made me feel like maybe, perhaps, who knows? Suddenly the world did not seem such a small place. And because I opened up to you and you saw your way to make room for one more, my life has been enriched.

I most definitely would not be here, doing this, if it weren't for you.


gretchen said...

Looking forward to visiting Neil's site- maybe I will send my Australian brother over for a look.

No time for thinking tonight, but maybe tomorrow :-)

kristina said...

Thanks for thinking of me---and for calling me to think, and laugh, and think some more!

(I am still working on that excellent list of questions you also sent me... Just to show how you help me to think, the "Word Verification" letters for this comment end in Merboy a moniker I occasionally give to Charlie...... I think one of the first posts I read by you was entitled something like "Water Bud.")

Anonymous said...

It seems that the lounge is ever expanding; the comfy couches always have room for at least one more; and the coffee - always warm and comforting - comes in an infinite number of flavors (all valued equally, of course). How's that for a metaphor? Thanks, Mom-NOS.

Daisy said...

You are a very thoughtful blogger! This is a very well-deserved award.

Maddy said...

Yes, love them all and I know what you mean about Neil and food!

Anonymous said...

You are indeed a thinker who helps me to think. I also agree with your thinking blogger choices, I read them also. With sons living in a variety of "different" worlds, it is wonderful to have places to go for information and understanding. Thanks.

Dadof6Autistickids said...

We'd like to be invited into your living room. We decided to call our blog, Autism Bites, for a number of reasons. Every heard the term 'snake bit'? That's what we feel happened to us when we found out that ALL of our children had Autism. AND we just found out this last November (2006). We had a feeling that something was up, but didn't know what it was. Now we do.

We too do not get out much. Too many children and too little money. We are hoping to connect will other parents and learn as much as we can. A lot of teachers and social workers we deal with tell us that we have accomplished soooooo much. Most of the time it feels like the biggest thing we've done is lose our minds.

Thanks for you list, I'll explore and see what I can learn.

Beth Allums said...

Well deserved.
You make me think for sure.Your insights have made laugh and cry sometimes simultaneously!
Thanks for sharing your journey and letting us all know, we are not alone.
I felt as if I we alone, not understanding my boy, not knowing what was going on at all, until I found your blog. It really opened me up to a new outlook, so Thank you! Thank you so much.