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‘you bleed gold’ is now live on Youtube to celebrate being one month away from the release of How To Be Autistic!

“You’ve been quiet when you should have been loud. You’ve bent at the waist and held tight to your stomach when you should have stood tall. Looked away when you should have made eye contact. Stayed when you should have left.

You’ve been violent to yourself when you should have been tender. You’ve been tender to others when you should have been violent. A century of rage and you misdirect, misinterpret, aim and fire, self destruct.

You’ve been ugly when you should have been shining. You’ve – well, you’ve never quite figured out a way to be beautiful. You’ve traced the line of your nose and how it twists off to one side, and you’ve hated yourself.

You’ve been a thousand murmured rumours and none of them true. You’ve been a single truth untold. You’ve held your tongue and bitten your lips and the taste of blood is copper in your mouth.

You’ve been a forest fire when you should have been an ember. And, oh, for so long you were an ember when you should have been a forest fire. You could have burned so bright if you’d have only let yourself.

You’ve been blaming yourself for being small. You’ve become small because of how you blame yourself. You don’t think that possibly it’s not you, that it was never you, that people are cruel because cruelty is power, and people find power more appealing than kindness.

You’ve been wondering why you didn’t leave. Why you didn’t speak up. Why nobody told you that it was wrong, that you were being hurt. You’ve checked your wounds like a list of the dead and found yourself to be a graveyard.

You’ve been walking this world like a ghost. You’ve been barely there, seethrough, and wondered why nobody ever really saw you. You’ve risen from the grave and now you’re a revenant, you howl in the night and shake the beds of those who have wronged you.

You’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about what happened to you. You’ve been trying to remember how it felt to be that child, the one who stared out of windows and waited for a car, waited to be rescued. You feel the ache in the back of your throat, muscle memory, that awful certainty that nobody is ever going to make things okay. You shake with it and you dream about it and you wonder how far you’ll have to run before it can’t catch you anymore.

You’ve been through hell, and the ash is still smudged on your face. You have broken every bone and healed each one jagged and wrong. You are not the shape of the person you were before it happened, you are something new, forged from a war you didn’t sign up to fight, but that, somehow, you won.

And no, it doesn’t feel like a victory. That’s the secret of war. There are winners and losers, but ultimately, the cost outweighs the medals, the parades, the written history of battles and triumph.

You wonder, if perhaps, you didn’t survive, so much as live through it. Whether there’s a distinction there. People try to make this a martyrdom, and they try to make it sacred. People try to worship at the words you’ve spat, angry and afraid, and they try to make them beautiful. And you think – I am not special.

And that is the thought that scares you the most. Just because your voice is the loudest, you know (god you know), that doesn’t mean it’s unique. Whispers in the dark, a shared history, we have been there too, and it hurt us just as much, if not more, they say, they say, they say. Dream of silver days when nobody will find these words and find themselves within them.

I see you, you shout. I see you, and I know you, and we all bleed gold, glinting in the sun as it streams from us, more precious than blood, because blood is spilt without thought, whereas this – what has been done, what will be done again and again because goddammit, power and cruelty will always win over compassion, the gold we bleed paths the streets and makes them glisten and people tread over it and don’t seem to realise the cost of it.

You are held together with spit and glue, and you fight with fists and words. Tell you something though, I think maybe you’re stronger than you know. Because the world could have made you heartless, could have made you cold, could have made you just the same as those who hurt you. But you kept something, secret and small, safe and sound, yet big as a soul, big as big can be.

You kept yourself. You kept your kindness. You kept your empathy. And yes, you kept your spite, because sometimes you need that too. You live in spite of, and to spite, and you live quiet or loud, soft or violent, but dammit, you live wonderfully.

And if you think you don’t, if you think they really broke you, if you think, no, you left yourself behind somewhere along the way – I disagree.

You’re not who you were. And you’re allowed to mourn that loss. Because it is a loss. But also know that as long as you breathe, as long as you stay here, as long as you’re in this world, you’re living proof that no matter how bad it got (and I know it got bad, I know, I know) you stood back up. So you know the taste of blood in your mouth, you know the colour of bruises, you know the way words ring in your ears for days or weeks or months or years. Soldier, you fought your war, and you’ve come home, and sometimes that is everything.

They don’t hand out medals. There are no parades in the streets. They don’t mark the anniversary of the final battle. Maybe nobody even knows about it apart from you.

But sometimes, and you might not even realise, you’ll brush past someone in the street who has fought that war too. Who has the scars and the head full of nightmares just like you. You’ll pass them by, and they’ll pass you by, and you’ll both keep living, keep walking forward, ever forward, until you can barely remember what it sounded like when the bombs dropped.

And that’s not nothing.”

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Firstly, I’d like to apologise for not writing lately, I wish I had a better excuse than just being wildly distracted (and more than a little stressed and anxious!).

We’re just over a month from the release of How To Be Autistic, which is exciting and terrifying in equal measure. Things are starting to fall into place with regards to media and the like, I did my first interview the other day, I don’t think I’ve ever talked that much in my life before! I feel so incredibly unqualified to answer the questions I’m asked – and incredibly lucky that people actually want to hear what I have to say, it’s a very weird position to be in, and I hope to use it to benefit people as best I can. The whole point of HTBA, after all, is to not just raise awareness, but push towards real change and progress, as well as offering people who have for so long felt othered a home, somewhere to belong.

My anxiety is making this all very difficult for me, as are the stress migraines that are making the days very hard to get through, but we soldier on! This is a life-changing moment, and I want to make the most of it. I am aware of the privilege I have, and I don’t want to waste it.

The book launch party is on September 11th, and I look forward to seeing everyone who helped make the book possible. A book is not one person’s work, but the work of dozens of people, all of whom, I’ve found, are lovely and kind and generous.

I am working on a new spoken word piece, so far I’ve written the script and recorded the audio and just need a few supplies to film the visuals. I’m very proud of it so far, and hope you will like it too. When it’s done, I’ll be sure to post it here.

The future is unknowable, except that in just over a month, my life will change, and I will be a published author. Which is all I ever wanted to be. This isn’t the path I envisaged I’d take, back when I was seven years old, but I’m glad I’m here now, and I’m excited for whatever happens next.

You really can’t predict these things, nor can you predict the kindness of strangers and the weird twists of fate that put you in positions like this. All you can do, I suppose, is keep looking for the opportunities, entering the competitions even when you feel you don’t stand a chance, keep writing writing writing, and yeah, I guess sometimes you have to flay yourself open and write a book about what you find inside.

I’ll try to keep you updated as things get stranger still.

Poe xx

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He had been guarding the object for a very long time. Long enough, and deep enough, down deep below the groaning, shifting plates of the earth, where the ground beneath his feet was warm to the touch, this hollowed out nest of ash and ancient whispers, he had stood, he had waited. His knuckles had grown large and nobbled, his knees creaked a little more and moved a little less easily. His beard, long since white and wiry, hung in intricate braids, braids knotted with the patience and shaking of arthritic hands, made beautiful by time and only time, this never ending amount of time, that kept him here, withered face flushed with the heat of it, the earth rumbling above and below him as though the angels and the demons were minutes away from all consuming war.

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I am so absolutely delighted to tell you that the author copies for How To Be Autistic arrived today, and they are GORGEOUS. I always wanted HTBA to be a beautiful art object in its own right, and it is. I’m so, so proud of all the hard work everyone has put in to making it as amazing as it is.

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I’m so excited that soon I’ll be able to share HTBA with you all, September 19th really isn’t that far away now! You can preorder it from pretty much anywhere that sells books, international and all. I’m so, so proud of this little book and really hope it can do a lot of good. Thank you for coming with me on this journey.

Poetry, Writing

My god, did anyone ever tell you
How you kick in your sleep?
Or that you snore like you smoke
Forty a day?
You keep me awake, and I would
Begrudge you that –
Were it not for the opportunity
To watch you dream.

Books, Uncategorized, Writing

htbainsta

Poe’s voice is confident, moving and often funny, as she reveals to us a very personal account of autism, mental illness, gender and sexual identity.

As we follow Charlotte’s journey through school and college, we become as awestruck by her extraordinary passion for life as by the enormous privations that she must undergo to live it. From food and fandom, to body modification and comic conventions, Charlotte’s experiences through the torments of schooldays and young adulthood leave us with a riot of conflicting emotions: horror, empathy, despair, laugh-out-loud amusement and, most of all, respect. For Charlotte, autism is a fundamental aspect of her identity and art. She addresses her reader in a voice that is direct, sharply clever and ironic. She witnesses her own behaviour with a wry humour as she sympathises with those who care for her, yet all the while challenging the neurotypical narratives of autism as something to be ‘fixed’.

‘I wanted to show the side of autism that you don’t find in books and on Facebook. My story is about survival, fear and, finally, hope. There will be parts that make you want to cover your eyes, but I beg you to read on, because if I can change just one person’s perceptions, if I can help one person with autism feel like they’re less alone, then this will all be worth it.’

Punctuated by her poetry, this is an exuberant, inspiring, life-changing insight into autism from a viewpoint almost entirely missing from public discussion.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Autistic-Charlotte-Amelia-Poe/dp/1912408325/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=how+to+be+autistic&qid=1555582434&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/How-Autistic-Charlotte-Amelia-Poe/dp/1912408325/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=how+to+be+autistic+charlotte+amelia+poe&qid=1555582817&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-be-autistic/charlotte-amelia-poe/9781912408320

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-be-autistic-charlotte-amelia-poe/1130419987?ean=9781912408320

Myriad Editions (publisher): https://myriadeditions.com/books/how-to-be-autistic/

Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

I will be the hollow tree

Standing in the forest sunlight dappling through my leaves

My insides exposed for all to see

Yes, I think I like that

 

I will be the beach cave

Drip drop of salt water like sound colouring sight

Stand inside me and ask what made me

Yes, I think I like that

 

I will be the long abandoned burrow

Once home to the woodland’s guardian souls

Half caved in and morning dew damp

Yes, I think I like that

 

I will be this body

Staples digging into flesh

Hospital bed and smell of antiseptic

Yes, I think I like that

Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

I haven’t felt safe in over twenty years

That feels strange to admit

There’s a casual acceptance to a lifetime of fears

“Oh, come on, get over it.”

Like,

Maybe I don’t want this but I don’t know the alternative

Like I’ve been blinkered and I can only see straight ahead

It tells me this is the only way to live

“Stay home, stay safe, stay in bed.”

Traitorous to the last I tell myself it’s better

To live a life that’s infinitely lesser

Because I can’t breathe and I want to go home

But what is a home if you still feel alone?