Sun


Water is the mother of tea, a teapot its father, and fire the teacher. ~ Chinese Proverb


His sunshine is too big
to fit the dimensions others demand
for a pity poster boy.

He'll shred that poster
and burn it up in his flight
to the sky he chooses for himself.


Notes from the Real World: So I am not the only Driks to get published in 2018. My son Max had an article accepted by Public Source (a digital news source based out of Pittsburgh) about his experiences growing up as a person on the Autism spectrum that was published just as the year was taking its final bows.

There was a time when most of the discussion on the internet about children on the spectrum revolved around how hard the parents had it. While Max would be the first one to laugh if I said raising him was a breeze (and probably follow it up with a sheepish, "Sorry, Mom"), to claim it was all weariness and gloom would be a bigger joke. 

Firstly, there are always going to be challenging parts of parenthood. Good gods, even the Brady Bunch had their ups and downs. Secondly, I wouldn't wish away any part of my seriously witty, creative, off-beat kid young man. Raising him has been an honor. Getting to see how fired up he's become about writing (something that would probably come as a shock to some of his middle school teachers) is just a bonus. 

No matter where we come from, it is our own unique life experiences that shape and spark our voices as writers, whether we write fiction or non-fiction. I've been very candid with my son when we talk shop (between sessions of video game playing and political comedy watching) about how my experience as a first generation Latina-American shades a lot of the perspectives that come through in my writing (he was one of my first beta readers for my book and was able to spot the nuances - as well as get a good chuckle when he recognized the inspiration behind the budding storyteller enthralled by kooky hats).

He’s also talked to me about how important it was to him to have his voice as a person on the spectrum heard. On one such occasion, a look of dawning horror crossed over his face as he realized how passionate he was getting while discussing things like writing, representation, and authenticity of voice.

"I think I'm turning into you, Mom", he said.

"Sorry, Son," I replied. 


Song Choice: I could have gone so many ways with this. Baby Mine comes to mind when I remember sitting through IEP meetings with my husband, as we fiercely advocated for schooling that wasn't limited by the expectations people had for kids with a spectrum diagnosis. Dear Theodosia is a good fit because all of the pride I feel. And I have jokingly sang back lines from The Cat's in the Cradle to him when he remarks upon politics or writing ("My boy was just like me").

But there is one song I always associate with Max. Sometimes a song will pop into my head with no warning and it can be almost an omen of sorts. The moment I finished taking the pregnancy test that let me know Max was on his way, REM's The End of the World (As We Know It) popped on, right at the slow/ quiet part of the song (the guitar jam started right up as that blue line came into focus). When I was driving in the car, that song came on soon after Max's text to the family announcing the article's publication. I'll take that as a good omen for the birth of an author.



Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Neither is Max.
Photo by Ryan Loew/ Public Source

34 comments:

  1. How wonderful! Congrats Max!

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  2. You raised a wonderful young man! His article was great!

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  3. I love this post!!! I have chills. I one too --- a Max. Though mine is a 16-year-old girl.

    The REM reference made me laugh. :)

    Gonna check out your links now. Kudos to Max for all his hard work. <3

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    1. LOL, it makes Max laugh too. I'll pass on the well wishes. :)

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  4. Oh yes, clearly there are two good writers in the Driks family! And I love the poem you've written for/about Max too!

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    1. The writing bug has definitely bit him hard. He's a pretty talented young man and I can't wait to see where he goes next. :)

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  5. Congrats Max! This is wonderful!!! Happy New Year! Big Hugs!

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  6. Posters and boxes imagined by anyone, other than one who is to be in it, are made to be set on fire. I love this poem, the emotions filling each line... I can almost hear your throat lumping up, your eyes getting shiny with a mixture of pride, pure delight, and big old, "Yes, look at my boy!"

    Like some have expressed, you've raised a fantastic young man who uses his words in the best of ways.

    Congratulations, to Max (and to you).

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    1. Thanks Magaly! I am immensely proud of him. :)

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  7. This is a wonderful post, Rommy; a glimpse into your real world. Thank you for sharing.

    Congratulations to Max! You must be proud of his achievement.

    May your (both) creative pursuits continue to flourish and change perspectives!

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  8. This is a wonderful post, and story. I especially love the look of horror and the "I'm turning into you!" Lol. Tell Max congrats, keep writing and i love the Pokemon hat. Smiles.

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    1. He has a very large collection of off-beat hats. Most of them are Pokemon themed. I'll pass on the well wishes. :)

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  9. Wonderful! The poetic observations as mother, friend and author as well as your snapshot of the son/sun, The music is wound in tightly, perfect.

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    1. I wasn't ready for this new phase of parenthood, but now that it's arrived I am happy. He's a terrific young man.

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  10. That's wonderful!❤️ A hearty congratulations to you and Max!❤️

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  11. I do love this, the story and the voice of Max... I remember when I started to write I came a cross a poet named Gretchen Laery and she still writes a lot from the perspective of autism spectrum...

    Love how he turns into you :-)

    https://gretchenleary.wordpress.com/

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    1. Cool! I just forwarded the link to my son. Thanks Bjorn.

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  12. Very cool poem and accompanying writing. It does sound like your son is well on the way to the sky he chooses himself. You must be very proud!

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  13. A talented family! Well done, Max! I love the pun in the title and
    Sun, the Chinese proverb and your portrait of Max with his too big sunshine! How wonderful to see your lovely boy take flight, Rommy!

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  14. Love the poem and love affirming story … and very much related to both - wonderfully written - pieces. Congrats to you, your husband and Max!

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  15. Beautiful and positive... love the too big sunshine and the love that is so much a part of this.

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  16. I like everything about this – the beautifully punning title, the proverb quoted, the poem, and the happy back story. (Only couldn't get the song video here.)

    Apart from everything else – your son is a beautiful writer!

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  17. Choosing one's own sky can be a daunting or exhilarating experience. It all depends...

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    1. I think Max has found both to be true in equal measures.

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