May 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in 1, Compulsions, Family, Interests, Mind, Recreation, Senses, Sight, Touch | 5 Comments
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Points of difference.

You don’t see so many kids’ colouring-in books these days.

If you’re old enough, though, you may recall the pleasure of completing them.

Not all books were the same.

The designs, for instance, varied wildly – from obsessively intricate to insultingly facile.

The best fell somewhere in between.

The papers varied too. From shiny surfaces that barely took a pencil mark to blotter-style offerings that soaked each careful texta stroke far beyond its intended position.

It was rare, therefore, to get a pleasing design on practical paper.

Christmas ‘Bumper Fun Books’, by dint of their sheer size, usually carried two or three satisfying options.

With your attention to detail so keen, you naturally coloured within the lines.

Yet sometimes, engrossed in activity, an unguarded movement saw your marker slip.

This transgression marred the entire work. So much that you had to employ your black texta (the most valuable in the set, and the one most likely to fail first through overuse).

You traced the entire colouring-in design with black, making all the lines slightly wider.

At the slip-up, the line became wider still, as you covered the alien colour with pitch.

The result was not unlike a stained-glass window.

Alas, some errors were too big to mask and had to remain patent.

When you submitted a work thus flawed to your parent, their judgment was revealing.

Instead of praising your industry, your palette or your almost-perfect execution, they did something else.

They started at ten, then subtracted one mark for each crossed line.

Never, in your entire childhood, did you score a perfect ten.

Though you tried and tried and tried.

It was only 40 years later, when writing a blog post to ameliorate the Great Sadness that had befallen you on waking, that you realised something.

Your parent had Asperger’s too.


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


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  1. I just read your two latest posts and I’m enthralled by your visual and verbal style and word usage. You just took me on a trip back in time to my coloring book collection. Thank you. And your last line about your father was poignant.

    My father certainly had some features of Asperger’s and my son, who is now a delightful adult, also has A. We’re all in this together.

    • I’m honoured and heartened by your kind comment, Lynn. I was wondering if this post would resonate with anyone and then I got an immediate and positive response from you. Thank YOU for taking the time to make my afternoon! Best regards, AS. 🙂

  2. The small child looking up wide eyed waiting for recognition and praise from their father is something most familiar to me.

    Doesn’t he realise that, as my hero, every word resonates through my soul? Mum said she liked it. Why do I have to know ‘the school of hard knocks’ at 6 years old?

    Isn’t there a whole life time of misery, disappointment and rejection just waiting for me around the corner? Why now and why from you?

    And why 40 years later does my father’s opinion still matter so? At last in his 70’s he has mellowed and makes a wonderful grandfather. I’m thankful for that.

  3. Thank you for your heartfelt and generous contribution, Malcolm. Seems there’s long been a lot of this theme about. I really appreciate your sharing; it adds priceless new dimensions to this topic. AS. 🙂

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