Attempting April

Alright, I’d like to announce that titles with alliteration are going to be a thing. Alliteration makes things quirky, so it’s a lovely device that I unashamedly overuse. Now for the apologies–I attempted to write in April. I really did. Life and school just got in the way. Mostly school, which is a-okay. In all honesty, I put a great deal of effort into being a hermit. Actually, I might declare an undergrad in hermitage…. Despite my attempts to avoid over socializing, March and April were insane. While I don’t want to necessarily relive  March, I will toss out some April highlights.

First off, I’d like to announce (to those who weren’t aware) that April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism and Aspergers (Yes, I know AS was removed diagnostically from the DSM-V, but it has still held its own in many senses.) hold a special place in my heart for numerous reasons. Even if I wasn’t planning on making several posts between now and finals week, I’d still dedicate something to this special month.

One thing I admire about Autism Awareness Month is the focus on breaking stereotypes. Yes, there is diagnostic criteria. It’s true that there are certain characteristics that  transcend the levels of ASD. BUT there’s too much focus put on the label of autism and not enough on the individual. All too often I see nuerotypicals refer to those on the spectrum as something less than human, broken, in need of repair and “normalization”. While extended research on Autism is wonderful, the most important thing about awareness is acceptance. Why should people be considered less than whole for being wired differently? Why is it such a tragedy for someone to diverge and think differently from the collective? It isn’t making light of Autism. There’s no denying that every single day is struggle even in the most mild cases. However, the spectrum is made up of people, people who simply want to be accepted for who they are. Those people shouldn’t be treated as a taboo subject just because they have nuerodiverse brain. This is the reason for awareness–promotion of acceptance and connection. And for those wondering what the blue is about, checkout https://www.autismspeaks.org/ and read about the Light It Up campaign. Maybe blue might become your color for the rest of the month, too.

*steps off of my soapbox*

Anyhow, April has been a research month. I repeat–April has been a research month. *looks confused when no one else gets excited* Really though, research papers are fabulous, especially when you’re researching William Blake’s poetry. *makes a halfhearted attempt to not go into nerd mode* Ooooops… too late. William Blake is my new obsession. Much of his work was influenced by Tomas Paine, which is completely and absolutely wonderful. If anyone hasn’t read The Rights of Man, then you should do that right now. Seriously, stop reading my inconsequential ramblings, drive to a library, and start reading Paine’s masterpiece. Make the librarian scan the book while you read it. Have a designated driver, because driving while reading is probably more dangerous that drunk driving. Keep reading. Though, short breaks to cuddle the book is completely acceptable. Now if you’ve already read The Rights of Man, then you can continue reading if you wish. I warn you, this is a major fangirl post. *eyes the people gawking at me* What you don’t fangirl over 18th century poets…?

Basically Blake is brilliant. Social criticism and prophetic writings are a huge deal for me. Every single research paper I’ve written this semester has held some component of social criticism. However, social criticism surrounding the American and French Revolutions are some of the best. As Dickens, in the wake of such a powerful force, noted, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .” Literature thrived in the uncertainty. As opposing forces clashed in “shots heard round the world” and violent months of near anarchy, writers recorded the frustrations and fears felt by those who could see beyond the present conflicts and calms. Paine and Blake were such writers. My current research has focused on Blake’s prophetic books (The Four Zoas, Europe: A Prophesy, The Song of Los, etc.) in connection to his lyrical poems (The Songs of Innocence and Experience). Specifically I’m writing about his poem “London” and arguing it’s standing as a prophetic poem. It makes me happy, so read it. If you’re feeling rather adventurous, go and read all of Blake’s works.

Wow… enough rambling on my part. I really don’t know why I make an attempt at blogging. Still, there might be a few rare individuals who enjoy posts on Autism and prophetic poets? If so, I’ll be an extremely happy hermit, student, research, blogger person. Also, before I vanish into my stacks of homework and books, I should probably announce that there are only 23 days until I board a plane for Costa Rica. There will be many posts to follow, so keep an eye out. I feel that an English major, Spanish minor exploring a Central America country should make things pretty interesting. Travel is also life, so I’ll have plenty of stories to share!

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