ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the May 1, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] readera. It also fills the "success" square in my 5-1-18 General card for the Pro Wrestling Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series An Army of One.

"New and Useful Stims"

Darmid hangs a sign
in the Agora that says,
New and Useful Stims.

Around him lie boxes
and boxes of things to do.

One of the biggest boxes
says Mixed Small Parts to Sort,
and there are smaller boxes
stacked in front of that.

Another has Pots to Decorate,
along with odds and ends of
colorful things to glue on them.

Make a Windchime has
metal and glass bits that
sing when struck together.

The next sign says both
Learn to Crochet! and
Learn to Knit! above
a box of mixed yarns.

Mair is trying to glue
broken buttons on a pot
to make a rainbow.

Tyson is sorting parts,
humming happily with
his tongue sticking out.

Shuttlecock is showing off
some fancy stitches while
Leor demonstrates basics
to a small, fascinated crowd.

Novalie types a question,
and Leor answers it. Then
Novalie resumes her knitting.

Bexley and the Falconwing P42
want to make something together.

Darmid directs them toward
the supplies for windchimes.

They wind up using Bexley's hands
to assemble Falconwing's design,
based on its analysis of the acoustics
inherent in the available materials.

It sounds beautiful when finished.

Everywhere is the sound of busy hands --
fingers snapping, loose parts clicking,
knitting needles clacking, windchimes
jingling in the artificial breeze.

The Lacuna is full of broken things
and abandoned people, but they are
learning to turn that to their advantage.

It isn't just about using what they have,
but about defining who they are.

They are the people who turn
fragments and discards into art.

Looking at the loud, happy hands
all around him, Darmid declares
his project a resounding success.

* * *


Darmid -- a neurotypical man. He is married to Verena, a pilot. They have a three-year-old daughter, Mair (probably neurotypical) and a four-year-old son Tyson (neurovariant with ADHD). Darmid is currently a teacher, and also has a background in emergency work. He moved to the Lacuna to escape persecution of his family on Epizygis. Introduced in "No Measure of Health."

Mair -- a three-year-old girl, probably neurotypical. She is the daughter of Verena and Darmid, younger sister of Tyson (neurovariant with ADHD). Her family moved to the Lacuna to escape persecution on Epizygis. Introduced in "No Measure of Health."

Tyson -- a four-year-old boy, (neurovariant with ADHD). He is the son of Verena and Darmid, older brother of Mair (probably neurotypical). His family moved to the Lacuna to escape persecution on Epizygis. Introduced in "No Measure of Health."

Shuttlecock -- a neurovariant woman who makes clothes at a shop called Threads. She lives at Sargasso Base. She is friends with Palmer. Introduced in "Umbilical Lines."

Leor -- a Jewish teen who moves to the Lacuna with their family for the sake of gaining other-gendered paperwork. Leor is agender, asexual, and aromantic. They want a B'nai Mitzvah, but their rabbi only offered Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah as options. So they're hoping for something better here. Introduced in "Knitting at the Ready."

Novalie -- a neurovariant woman with anomic aphasia. She can speak, but she can't remember the right words, so she chooses not to speak most of the time. Her husband Taj respects that. Novalie is an artist. She moved to the Lacuna from Epizygis due to persecution. Introduced in "No Measure of Health."

Bexley -- a neurovariant girl of thirteen, who runs away with Cruiser Falconwing P42. She is introduced in "The Love We Give Our Fragile Craft" and "No Measure of Health."

Cruiser Falconwing P42 -- the AYES of a jumpship originally from the Carina-Sagittarius army. When its pilot gave orders to open fire on a medevac ship, Falconwing refused and abandoned him on the nearest station. It does not feel that jumpships are bound to follow unlawful orders, just as human soldiers are not. It later approaches Sargasso Base and gets into an argument with the OCS-223, a seemingly derelict jumpship from the Orion army who disapproves of the secession. When Falconwing identifies itself as a conscientious objector to war, the Minotaur who oversees Sargasso Base grants the jumpship permission to approach. Subsequently Falconwing picks up a refugee, a thirteen-year-old girl named Bexley, and they decide to stay together. Introduced in "Conscientious Objectors."

* * *

Sargasso Base has a large open area called Agora Park. It gives people a place to move around and socialize if they wish.

(Some of these links are intense.)
Many neurovariant people use stimming to aid focus, soothe stress, or just remember where their bodies are. Such stimming is normal and healthy for people with a variety of neurodiverse features. Some stims are more socially acceptable than others. Stress toys are specially designed to meet this need in the least bothersome way possible. Darmid is cleverly channeling the need to stim toward types of repetitive work that need doing, such as sorting parts, upcycling junk, and making knitwear.

(Some of these links are harsh.)
Sorting is a natural and necessary part of childhood, and some people never lose their delight in it. Many children love picking apart piles of stuff and laying out toys in rows or other groups. Unfortunately, doctors have pathologized sorting play into stereotypy, demanding that children play only in ways pleasing to adults. The problem with this is that any activity ordered by adults is NOT PLAY but is work. Children need free play in order to be healthy.

Decorated flower pots are fun and easy to make.

Windchimes can be made from all kinds of different things.

Fibercrafts include knitting and crocheting.

(Some of these links are heinous.)
Quiet hands and applied behavioral analysis are cited as abuse by autistic people who have survived them and can describe the harm done. Everyone has a right to communicate, and to solve challenges in a way that works for them. There are ways to tell if a type of therapy is harmful. Autistic adults are banding together in projects like Loud Hands to fight against the abuse.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-06 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
*pounces on the box of assorted small parts and happily sorts through a bunch* Ooh, small but distinctive variation in this one, I wonder if anybody else's tactile sensitivity caught that--no? Oh, well score one for me, then. Must be a rare part to something. :)

I'm wishing all over again that I could find somebody in local meatspace who knew how to teach blind folks to knit or crochet. Still looking.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2018-05-06 08:59 pm (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
The chaotic condition of many store displays is enough to make the baby Jesus cry. Lowe's and Home Depot are especially bad with small-hardware bins; makeup and nail polish racks in drugstores are often randomized; craft stores have lots of small items in packages that end up on the wrong hook. If I have the time to spare, I'll frequently spend a few minutes putting misplaced items back where they belong, even though I know it's ultimately a wasted effort -- somebody else will come along in a few minutes and scramble it all up again, either thru carelessness or just not giving a shit.

This is the sort of thing a store might find it practical to pay a neurovariant person to do; a few hours a couple of days a week could make a tremendous difference, if an employee could be assigned to concentrate on it.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-06 08:11 pm (UTC)
thnidu: warm red heart on orange streaked background (heart)
From: [personal profile] thnidu


Date: 2018-05-06 08:13 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Can you link to the stories you mention in the "thumbnail" introductions?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-06 08:36 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-07 12:56 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
I *still* exhibit "sorting behavior". :-)

For example, when I get some candies (for example, M&Ms) I like to sort by color. Though usually that's so I can eat a set of one of each color at a time. And then when I run out of one color, I go with sets of the remaining colors.

I don't *have* to, but it's fun.

Or I'll take stuff like chex mix, and eat all of one kind of the components, then eat all of another etc. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-07 04:39 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
Yesss, candy tastes WAY better that way.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-07 01:40 pm (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
I'm another one who sorts lollies by colour, but I go the other way -- I eat the 'spares' before the 'full sets'

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-07 01:59 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
Well, actually, I often do it that way myself, but describing it is a lot more complicated than *doing* it. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-08 01:15 pm (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-07 04:38 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
This sounds like the BEST party, let's GO.

Re: Yes ...

Date: 2018-05-07 02:01 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
Come to think of it, LEGOs and the old Kenner "girder & panel" construction sets likely qualify as "stims". Lots of small pieces you can put together in different ways.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-07 02:10 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-07 02:16 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
Another thought.

this likely explains the popularity of the "make your own Indian jewelry" booth the jeweler I was apprenticed to ran at Saturday Market lo these many years ago.

Basically we had a set of plexiglass bins in a U shape with a felt covered surface inside the U. Open end of the U was towards the customer.

Each bin had some sort of piece for Navaho(?) style jewelry. in it and a label with the price. Various silver beads, wire swirls, coral or turquoise cabs in mounts, etc.

You'd take out pieces, and try arranging them on the felt until you got a design you liked. Then we'd cut a base, silver solder things onto it, and silver solder that to the right sized ring. Or make it into a necklace or a broach.

Cost was by adding up the prices for the individual items. And yes the markup was sufficient to cover the ring & labor.

Sure, a lot of folks would just fiddle with pieces for a while and move on. But even they attracted other potential customers.

Heck, *we* would fiddle with pieces when things were slow. :-)

ps. This was back in the 70s so any potential for a patent is long gone. So if anyone wants to swipe the idea for themselves, feel free. I'd love to have pictures though.

pps. We had lids on the "bins" (more shallow trays) and they were all one unit. They were hinged on the outside side of the U. And we'd tape them closed securely when transporting. So it was easy to pack up.

Amazing and terrible together

Date: 2018-05-09 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] daisiesrockalot
This sounds like it would be so calming and just nice to do... and long as no one else was around. Sorting, crocheting, and knitting are all things I enjoy, and decorating is good if I have someone to give the result who who can use it. Unfortunately, tapping, clicking, and brushing sounds, especially when they're repetitive, will never let go of my attention once they catch it and it can quickly push me into a meltdown because I can't focus on anything else. A more mild annoyance is just that with all of these things with small but obvious movements around the room, at least a few will be in the corner of my vision, and that sort of movement in the corner attention always jerks my attention to it. So while I'd love the concept of being in the middle of all of that, the reality would probably be nearly in tears within a few minutes, unfortunately.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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