Goodbye, September

I’m sad that September is ending in the next half hour. As a tribute, I’ve been listening to Jeff Lynne’s rendition of “September Song” repetitively in iTunes. I’m wondering if Jeff Lynne will ever release a new album again, whether he does it under his own name or the guise of ELO. His only solo album, Armchair Theatre, on which “September Song” resides, came out in 1990. Zoom, under the ELO name, was released in 2001. And, though several ELO albums have been re-released with bonus tracks, b-sides, outtakes, and alternate song versions these past few years, it’s been a while since anything wholly new has come about. I suppose all I can do is wait and wonder. (And listen to every ELO song in alphabetical order. That’s always fun.)

So, as I now listen to “September Song” for what is probably the fiftieth time today, I am also trying to complete a “map” of what I want to complete (and when) in my independent study this term. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m focusing on autism, rhetoric, and representation. I’ve so many things that I want to read, and I keep having to tell myself that I only have ten weeks to accomplish this, and it’s hard for me to figure out what a workable reading load is. This past weekend I wanted to read a couple books written by parents of autistic children (including Jenny McCarthy’s book — and not because I like Jenny McCarthy’s ideas). However, I ended up on a rabbit trail of sorts, and ended up re-reading Michael John Carley’s Asperger’s from the Inside Out. (I suppose he counts as both an aspie AND a parent of an aspie. So I wasn’t completely off track.)

I also finally worked up the nerve to email a professor in the field of rhetoric and composition who has been doing work with autism. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was socially appropriate to email random professors at different colleges because of e-stalking I’d done via Google and CCCC electronic conference programs. So, I spoke with a couple of non-random professors (a.k.a. my professors) and got some tips on what to say (and what not to say). After spending three days writing the email and having two fellow grad assistants read over what I’d written, I finally hit “send,” and actually got a response — a very pleasant, encouraging, and helpful response. He sent me several pieces he’d written, and so I decided to read those in lieu of vaccine-bashing narratives.

I’m really excited to finally connect with people in my field who are looking at rhetorical and social constructions of ASDs. It’s hard to talk about my interests in autism to non-humanities people a lot of the time. It’s not their faults, necessarily: we just have different disciplinary approaches, and the things I’m interested in are wrapped up in language and philosophies about meaning-making and axiological assumptions, not studying brain functions or therapeutic interventions.