Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Today's Autism Fact:

Many people who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty processing everyday sensory information such as sounds, sights and smells. This is usually called having sensory integration difficulties, or sensory sensitivity.
I’ve been a very lazy author over the past three years. Life had other plans for me and my poor, weary muse so writing had to take a backseat. Now, happily, I’ve finally started writing again. And, as I’m a lazy author, I’m going to post an excerpt from one of my WIPs. The working title is The Shelter, but that’s probably going to change. This is the gloomier of the two stories I’m working on, which I save for dull or rainy days. This scene, however, is before things start going to hell in a handcart for Noel and Malik.
I hope you enjoy it.
And, before I post. I’ll leave this question for you. Answer the question and you’ll go into a draw for a book of your choice from my backlist or, if you’re an aspiring writer, I’ll do a free one chapter assessment/edit of anything you’re working on. The winner will be announced at the beginning of May.
The question: Which of the five senses could you not live without?

Now, without further delay, the excerpt.

It was clear, from the smell alone, that this was the studio. The room was flooded with light, which fell across the wooden floor, turning the boards to amber. Several easels beside the windows, and a work bench, scattered with brushes, jars and tubes of paint rested against one wall. Paintings, too many to count, covered the white walls in brilliant splashes of vibrant blues, whites and golds. I was drawn into a maze of intricate geometric patterns. I recognised the motif immediately, being interested in Islamic architecture.
I drifted toward a painting on an easel, mesmerised by the contrast of light and rich, dark blues, threaded with gold lines. I could’ve looked at it forever. “Beautiful,” was about all I could manage.
Bedford stood beside me. Close enough that his shoulder brushed mine. Close enough that I could smell his cologne and feel myself sliding toward being attracted to him.
“Thank you.”
“This reminds me of the walls of the Bibi-Khanym mosque.”
“You’ve been to Samarkand?”
“Years ago. I could’ve spent hours in there. Incredible mosaics.”
He nodded and smiled. It is amazing, isn’t it? I’d love to go back one of these days.”
“So would I.” My travelling days were over. Living in a high-rent area put paid to anything more than a week in a cottage somewhere, if I was lucky.
I trailed around the room, captivated, lost in a tangle of colourful mazes. Some of the canvasses were huge, at least six feet long and three feet high. I would’ve happily handed over my wallet and my savings for one of them to hang on my living room wall. Luckily, common sense prevailed, and I had to be content to look and covet. Bedford trailed after me, standing at my side while I studied each piece. The room had fallen into a silence broken only by Laney’s distant murmur.
“They’re terrific,” I told him, as I completed my tour. “Just remarkable.”
For a man who must’ve heard variations of those compliments for years, he was gracious enough to offer me a warm smile. “Thank you. I’m glad you like them.”
“I like them very much.”
“I’d offer you one but I’m pretty sure that would be considered bribery.”
“That’s very kind and, yes, I’d probably lose my job.”
“Well, we don’t want that, do we?”
I didn’t want to leave the studio. The heady combination of the paintings, the peace and the artist had become addictive, something I hated the thought of leaving behind. When Laney entered the room, I knew the idyll was over.

S.A. Laybourn lives in Wiltshire with her son and two needy cats. She works as a freelance editor and sometimes writes stories. Her alter-ego S.A. Meade writes gay romance. She loves cooking, reading, gin and tonic and the occasional glass of wine. She is not terribly domesticated and has trouble finding things that she thought she’d put in a ‘safe’ place.
You can find her books at:
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  1. I can't nominate one.

    I would struggle to cope without sight: no reading, no photography, no street skating, no shared looks.

    I need touch because the dancing I do relies on you being very aware of the floor and your partner and dance is really important to me.

    So that's two.

    Obviously, being a dancer I think music is important. In tango, you haveto pay attention to the melody as well as the beat. I guess I could switch to another dance where the beat is all that matters. There are deaf percussionists - you can learn to feel a beat you can't hear. My father was profoundly deaf so I know that it is a bloody nuisance, but not insuperable.

    Smell is much more crucial than most people realise. If you could never smell your lover, for example, you would not feel about them in quite the same way, but there are quite a lot of people with no sense of smell and they get by.

    I could probably lose taste. I've not got sensitive taste buds anyway: I'm much more aware of the texture of food than the taste.

    There you. It's not a good answer, but it'shonest.

  2. Thanks for that excerpt - I loved how you used various senses of the narrator to describe the scene.

    The sense I would most hate to lose would be touch. I think I would feel completely disconnected if I could not feel anything tactile at all. I have one scar from a surgery that has no nerve endings and it freaks me out to have it touched because I know intellectually that touch is happening but I cannot feel anything.


  3. I would hate to lose my sight. I love to read and although lots of books are becoming audible, there is something about silent reading that allows my views to color tone and pitch.

    Thanks for the excerpt and participating in the blog hop.

  4. Thanks for taking part in this important blog hop. The answer to your question would be sight i can't imagine how it must feel when you can't see your loved ones.


  5. I would hate to not be able to see. I love to read and watch tv. I also would hate not to be able to hear. I listen to music 24/7, and it's the hardest thing to not have.

  6. Thank you for the excerpt and for taking part in the hop.
    That's a tough question. I think I can do without touch, I'm in my late 20's and totally think I can probably get by without it. I can't imagine losing my sense of hearing, seeing, smell or taste (I wouldn't be able to enjoy food without the last two).
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  7. Wow, that is a tough question! I LOVE to read and I LOVE music. Choosing between hearing and seeing is tough but I guess I could not live without hearing because I could always listen to books. I don't really watch TV so that wouldn't be a problem.
    However, I have FIVE beautiful children and not seeing their beautiful faces every day would be much too big a loss for me. My amazing 21 year old son has low-functioning, non-verbal severe autism. He doesn't talk at all and relies mostly on sight to communicate and understand. So there ya go, I guess seeing is my top choice. I would miss music though. Thanks so much for the thought-provoking question and for raising autism awareness!

  8. It's so hard to think about, because so many senses work in tandem. Cooking involves taste, sure, but you can also sense doneness by smell and touch. And when I go to concerts, I love watching the band as much as hearing them. Sigh...I don't know!

    --Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  9. Thank you for participating in RJ's Autism Awareness Blog Hop. And thanks for the excerpt.
    Now for your question. It is a difficult one, because I can't imagine loosing one of them. But the most I fear is loosing my sight. Never to be able to see my husband and children. The beautiful colors, yes even horrible things. I hope I will never have to experience that.
    tankie44 at gmail dot com