Newsletter by S E Amadis

From SE Amadis:

For me life has always been one big long struggle ever since I was little. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder and Aspergers — except when I was a child those diagnoses didn’t exist yet — aren’t exactly particularly well accepted by other kids at school.

In my time, when no one as yet knew about ADD and Aspergers, children like me were labelled the typical wishy-washy, flaky daydreamers who spent their whole lives living in Lalaland and walked into lamp posts because they had their heads up in the clouds (inventing stories about realities which were much more exciting than my own boring mundane one, of course!) and weren’t paying much attention to where their feet were going.

I wore the label of “BORING” from an early age because I talked like a little walking encyclopaedia, or like a miniature university professor — which on the other hand was hardly surprising if you took into account the fact that I was the daughter of two university professors lol! But who wants to play with a girl who speaks like Einstein?

To escape this stuffy epithet, I would invent stories about children who were much more exciting and fun to be with than me, living action-filled adventures and travelling the world. For me in those days, a trip to Central America would entail living in wooden houses perched above raging rivers on stilt-like columns and Egypt meant my heroines and heroes riding over a desert in a hot air balloon.

Growing up, the working world wasn’t any easier for me than the school ground. I have absolutely no short-term memory to speak of (a typical symptom of ADD) which makes holding on to a job extremely difficult, because when your bosses give you instructions, they expect you to remember them. And I would remember them…… if they would only give me the chance to write them down!

Because I’m from the Arctic country of Canada, I was always longing to escape away to someplace hot. I found South America more beguiling, but my tame parents harboured images of a land covered with savage jungles from sea to shining sea and wouldn’t allow me to travel to South America.

Europe, on the other hand, struck them as a nice, safe, civilized part of the world. The sort of place quiet people like themselves would love to visit. So I packed my bags and headed off to Spain, and I’m still here.

You would think that moving to Spain would be like moving to Paradise but, in truth, your problems will always follow you wherever you go. My short-term memory wasn’t any better in Spain than it was in Canada, and bosses are the same everywhere I think lol.

Another of my difficulties is that I can’t understand “signals”. Moving your eyes in certain directions, shaking your head about, leaning yourself to one side or another, none of that means anything to me and if that is your main means of communication with me, then we will have a lot of problems I fear. Because I can’t understand that type of language. And it appears to be the sort of language preferred by bosses and workmates alike.

I often joke to my friends that my life would be easy if only I could wear a sign on my forehead proclaiming: If you want me to do something, tell it to me in words!

Words are the only form of communication I am capable of understanding, it seems. For that reason, perhaps it’s not so surprising that I find it much more natural to communicate with people using words rather than pantomime. And perhaps that is why I write instead of becoming a pantomime artist lol.

For the past ten years I’ve been a single mother, and although I find it the most normal thing in the world, sometimes I do receive reminders from the people in this still traditional part of the world, where marriages still last forever and being a stay-at-home mother is still the norm, that my situation is unusual (and also not particularly enviable or desirable I’m afraid).

One of the greatest frustrations I’ve always had in life has always been my difficulty to hold on to a job. I’ve always been a lousy secretary because I have trouble remembering instructions, remembering which item was supposed to go first, second, third etc. in the boss’s agenda (from oral instructions which they would inevitably give me and which I would instantaneously forget, of course! It would never occur to them to actually write them down, which would have saved my day!).

And because I am just about the lousiest diplomat in the world. If the boss goes to play golf, and he tells me to tell all his clients that he’s in a meeting, I am unable to utter that white lie and I tell everyone he’s out playing golf. Not a great way to hang on to a job!

I’m a terrible babysitter too. Kids don’t particularly appreciate having a girl geek hanging around who sits about for two hours explaining a long summary of enthalpy and entropy, but can’t play a video game or even hide and seek.

Yeah, I am indeed a girl geek who never learnt how to play as a child.

That’s why I LOVE talking with my son. He’s a boy geek who RELISHES long conversations with me about enthalpy, entropy and organic chemistry hehe.

Yeah, I think perhaps I should have completed that science degree after all. (As it is I completed a degree in Anthropology, not quite the same thing but still……)

When I’m not hanging out with my kids chatting about molecules and how energy is never created nor destroyed, but can be transformed into matter, or writing stories about exciting people (much more exciting than me!) living exciting adventures, one of my favourite pastimes is taking photographs of creepy abandoned places.

This is the old abandoned provincial prison, the scene of many horrific deaths and violent events during the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship that followed, and also the site where several scenes from my novel In the Prison of Our Grief is set.

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