It's mutual....Smithville mother Tecia Puckett Pryor here with son, Harrison, who has autism. Photo: www.RebekahPope.com
The lists are out. Newspapers; NPR; O, The Magazine. It's summer and time for bone up on the classics or sink into a lush contemporary novel. Or, whatever your choice. Feature reporters are naming their faves. There's the usual bedside stack in my abode. But, this summer, I also have a WRITING list. Not the usual list of articles for various newspaper and magazine clients, but 18 very brief stories on some very special Middle Tennessee families.
From early June to mid July, in five short weeks, I'm cranking out 300-word journalistic-style features on families living with all forms of autism. Their geographic locations range from rural to urban, their socieo-economic status from one end to the other; their racial make-up from African American to Hispanic to Caucasian to Vietnamese, and more. There's twins and other multiples diagnosed with the enigmatic disorder. Big families, onlies and single adults. And that's because autism is no respector of race or class and has many faces.
I'll be keeping you readers posted on the progress of this art documentary, black-and-white coffee-table style book packed with luscious photos, like above, by my collaborating partner, the very talented Rebekah Pope. But for now, send me good energy as I work on my summer WRITING list, endeavoring to encapsulate the passion, struggles and love into 18 special stories within five weeks.
And, oh, yeah, the book, due out this fall, is aptly named From Heartache to Hope: Middle Tennessee Families Living with Autism. This is a total volunteer project with all proceeds benefitting the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee. More details coming soon, ya'll!