I am excited to report that I have finally finished the memoir I have been working on for the last six months, Common Scents: Adventures in Autism and Chemical Sensitivity. It has been a long journey from inception ("Hey! I could write a book!") and thinking of the perfect title ("Well, I have to write it now, because that title would be perfect for a book") to the months of struggling to write it and the following months of figuring out how to best publish it. My sixth grade teacher told me frequently, all those years ago, "Kate, I'm going to see your name in print some day," and I always laughed at him. Yeah, right. When I got older, people told me I would write a book one day. I wanted to, but I never felt I had enough material. Until six months ago, when I finally figured I had a story to tell, and was in a good enough place to write it.
"Common Scents: Adventures with Autism and Chemical Sensitivity" is the story of a young woman's search for physical and emotional safety as she journeys through the mountains of the Cascades, small coastal towns on the Oregon coast, and out-of the-way towns in upstate New York. Along the way, she experiences things she would never have dreamed possible had she stayed in her Maine hometown, and begins to learn the power of human connection."
"It's a tale of adventure. A story of growth. A look into the human psyche, you might say.
Growing up is hard for everyone. It's even harder for those with autism or Asperger's Syndrome (AS). Things that everyone else takes for granted - social interactions, being able to navigate a busy grocery store, making friends - are significant challenges for people with AS. It's harder still when you have to deal with chemical sensitivity as well. Suddenly, no place is safe anymore, because people's perfumes, lotions, and shampoos, as well as cleaning products and fragrances in stores, make you so sick that the normal activities of life become almost impossible.
So what happens when a 22 year old with both autism and chemical sensitivity leaves college and tries to make her way in the world?
The book starts in the spring of the author's senior year of college, where she is forced to leave school because of her growing chemical sensitivities. With much regret, she moves home and spends several months living with her parents.
Desiring independence, she tries to live in several apartments of her own in downtown Portland, Maine. Unfortunately, something in one of the apartments makes her sensitivity to chemicals so much worse that she is not able to tolerate any apartments, nor her parents' house.
So her journey for a chemical free living environment starts. Primarily using the website Craigslist to find roommates who already live a chemical and fragrance free lifestyle to live with, she travels to cities across the country to pursue this goal. She starts in Burlington, Vermont, and goes to Missoula, Montana; Liberty, New York; Newport, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; Ballston Spa, New York, and finally back to her hometown of Falmouth, Maine.
In each of these cities, her eyes are opened to the way the rest of the world lives. Each city is a separate chapter. In each city, she recreates the experiences that changed the way she sees the world. In each city, the author talks about the people she meets, and details her struggles and successes with interacting with the people around her.
If you want to learn more, please go to the book's website at http://kategoldfield.webs.com If you're interested in purchasing, there is a purchase link at the end of the site. PDFs are also available and Paypal payments can be accommodated by emailing me at KGoldfie@gmail.com .
If you've enjoyed my blog, I know you'll enjoy my book!
Thanks for reading.
Boothbay Harbor: The Maine Black Bear thanks you too.
If you like this, please be sure to visit my other website, Accepting Asperger's. A lot of my older writing is stored here, including an editorial I once wrote for the Baltimore Sun. Click here to see it: Accepting Asperger's.
What's it really like to be a 20 something with Asperger's? On this blog, I hope to explore that question. But this blog is not just limited to an audience of people in their 20s - this is for anyone who ever wanted to know anything about autism. I plan to delve into the nature and experience of autism, and examine it from as many angles as possible. I would like to start a conversation between people with Asperger's or autism, parents of kids with autism spectrum disorders, and anyone who just wants to know more. Let's explore what autism means, together.
My goal is to start a discussion on and build a community of people affected by autism - parents and adults with ASD - so feel free to leave your two cents in the comments section of any post. If you're too shy for that, however, or want to speak to me personally, you may feel free to email me at KGoldfie@gmail.com.
Asperger's Book for Sale
Common Scents: Adventures with Autism and Chemical Sensitivity" is the story of a young woman's search for physical and emotional safety as she journeys through the mountains of the Cascades, small coastal towns on the Oregon coast, and out-of the-way towns in upstate New York. Along the way, she experiences things she would never have dreamed possible had she stayed in her Maine hometown, and begins to learn the power of human connection.
Common Scents is the story of the last three years of my life. It gives a gripping view of what it is like to experience the world as someone on the autistic spectrum, and some would say, is an entertaining travel story as well. Because of chemical sensitivities, I engaged on a three year journey for a place I could call home.
Comments from readers:
"The Asperger's element is remarkable. I feel that I understand my son better, so much better. I laughed at this part.... because I've stared at my son in the same way for the same thing." - mother of an Asperger's kid
"Your writing style is SO engaging and interesting. It brings me right into the subject and I always experience a little emotional punch towards the end. In other words, this is the third time I've teared-up reading your work. Kate, you've highlighted ALL the problems with how social skills are usually taught." - mother of ASD kid
"I stayed up entirely too late reading the first 14 pages. I can relate to so much of what you write. I really think you are expressing the true experience with MCS and autism in words that convey the experience." person with chemical sensitivity (MCS)
"Absolutely interesting, insightful and witty. You've blended together your three themes beautifully (Asperger's, MCS and travelling). It seems seamless."