Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "New and Useful Stims"

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.

* * *

Notes:

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.
Tags: crafts, cyberfunded creativity, entertainment, family skills, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing
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