Sunday, March 15, 2015

Welcoming Emma (Changes at Emma's Hope Book)

I meant to write this post almost two weeks ago, but the same demands and conditions that have been pushing back my ability to write Imaginary Friends have also been in the way of my officially welcoming Emma Zurcher-Long to the world of blogging.

If you read me, you probably already know a little about Emma, because her mother Ariane Zurcher has been writing at Emma's Hope Book for years, amplifying the range of autistic voices and grappling with her own understanding of how to best support and communicate with her daughter. Her insights have helped other parents understand the kinds of false assumptions and pitfalls that the common misconceptions about autism in our wider culture can cause well-meaning parents.

Ariane has long maintained that she was not only blogging for herself, but to build a platform that Emma might one day take over, if she wished to do so. Ariane believed that since so many people in our communities choose to establish online voices, to meet each other and socialize about mutual interests as well as to engage politically and intellectually with our larger human culture.

Now is that time. Emma has taken over the site, and Ariane and her husband Richard have facilitated by helping her execute the redesign until it fits her wishes. They accomplished this, as well as revamps of the Twitter stream and Facebook site for the blog, over the past couple of weeks.

I'm a little late to the party, but if you have not yet visited the Emma's Hope Book, there are several posts up by Emma now, and the tone of the blog is changing noticeably, since Emma's natural voice falls into a distinctly poetic syntax and diction, finding ways to create relationships between sounds and literal meanings and the relationships grammatically between words stripped of the nonsense of prose conventions and its attendant padded verbiage.

There is much intertwined in the words she chooses and the words she does not, and her posts loom large because even though they may only be the length of one screen, their reading requires deliberation and multiple passes, unless the reader is not truly committed to understanding everything.

I want to welcome Emma to the autism blogging community. I know she's not exactly new to it because she has been contributing to conversation posts with Ariane for some time, but the step she has taken now is a major one, and it is not the same thing to participate in blogging as it is to take control of a platform and decide what its message and its flavor should be.

Here is a list of her posts so far.

Story About a Teen Girl
Becoming Change
I am More Than My Body
Learning to Believe