Posts Tagged ‘autism’

  • And You Can Love Me

    Date: 2019.04.01 | Category: Book Reviews | Response: 0

    a story for everyone who loves someone with ASD


    “As a mother and grandmother, this story speaks to me about the power of unconditional love we bring to any situation. This book is an excellent resource for adults who have a child or grandchild with autism. It acknowledges the different ways my loved one with autism may communicate and reminds me that we love completely. As a former special education teacher, this story gives me words to be able to keep sharing with people about the wonderful diversity that we see in the world. Everyone has gifts.”
    Deb Holtz is a former special education teacher, a current end-of-life doula, and a mother and grandmother.

    “In You Can Love Me, Sherry Lee gives us the world of Ethan, a little boy with autism. Although Ethan is mute, his daily routine of bouncing a ball and expressing his needs, as well as his interior life are revealed through simple sketches and lovely lines like Today I am another year of being me. A welcome and wonderful addition to the as-yet-tiny body of work about children with autism, You Can Love Me is a beautiful, profoundly moving book.”
    –Alison McGhee, New York Times bestselling author of many books for children and adults.


    Date: 2015.07.30 | Category: Poetry, The Art of Writing | Response: 0

    Note: maybe it’s the heat (blessing of summer), but I just noticed my last post (be patient, I procrastinate, I don’t post often) was about this same poem! This one, again, a slightly different version.

    It’s been an amazing summer! Beginning with participating in a class taught by Alison McGhee at Metro State! The class motivated me to get back to poetry. One of the poems I wrote about my grandson Ethan is an honorable mention in the Goodreads monthly poetry contest (this is the first time I’ve submitted anything-wow, what an honor). I haven’t written anything since the class, but as writers we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves, the writing will happen when we/or it is ready-but, sometimes we need to be among other writers to help make that happen.

    Give Grandma a Kiss
    for Ethan, my nonverbal, autistic grandson

    I always wear mauve lipstick, give
    Grandma a kiss—

    He leans in, all seven years of him, knowing
    more than I know after
    67 years of thousands of kisses.

    He leans in, without hesitation. I
    mark his brown forehead with a temporary
    tattoo. My kiss his kiss. Like no kiss
    a man has given me. Words

    not necessary language. His way
    of love, spontaneous, silent

    a heart organic, knowing what it is
    to hold breath a millisecond; a mime
    not needing to be understood.

    But Grandma wants to see underneath
    the innocence, to reach what she lost
    or never experienced.

    Later, my daughter-in-law, the nurse,
    questions what she thinks is a scratch;
    how has he hurt himself this time?

    The hurt is mine; the gift unwrapped,
    visible, transparent.


    Date: 2012.11.12 | Category: Imagining Love, LOVE IMAGINED | Response: 2


    What am I worth?  Recently a Facebook friend posted a quote by Rocky Balboa:

    “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it…

    You’ve gotta hit as hard as life. It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward? That’s how winning is done.

    If you know what you’re worth, Go out and Get What Your Worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.”–Rocky Balboa

    There is self-worth and economic worth.  I don’t believe economic worth determines self-worth-it doesn’t, but it does make life more challenging.  Economic challenges can detour what we may think is our road to success.  But what is success?

    I think it is important to be aware of how much we try to control our lives in order to realize control can keep us from living, from moving forward, and from being in tune to the blessings the universe wants us to have.

    I digress.  Didn’t mean to become so philosophical.  The nitty gritty is I’ve lost balance.  I’ve always been able to multi-task in order to survive and I continue to do that, but having endured a lay-off last year I’m more tipsy than standing tall on two feet.  How do I make up for an economic imbalance?

    What are my priorities, how have they changed?  Am I using my financial situation as an excuse or a blessing?  As a blessing, I have time to spend with my grandson who is autistic (I am his respite worker, which pays a minimal amount each month (16 hours worth, but through this experience I spend more and more time with him each and every week.  I have learned unconditional love from this child, more than I have learned in any relationship-giving it and receiving it).

    Also, as a blessing, I have broken the box that defined work-40 hours a week, healthcare, and a paycheck.  Growing up poor, my family shopped rummage sales before garage sales and thrift stores were popular, thus giving me an eye to bargains that gave me a flair for fashion-shoes and clothes and purses-that I can now use to resell what has become my fashion personality-I have been emptying my closet (there’s a metaphor here).  Can I find a way to actually make a living as a fashionista selling retail?  Is this where my worth lies?

    Or, do I take a minimum wage job, if anyone will actually hire me for one, and dummy down to this is what I am worth-my worth being that I will do whatever it takes to pay my bills-even if it won’t?

    And, so, what about my book, my memoir.  I promised myself it would be finished by August past.  It isn’t.  How important is telling my story?  Why is it always on the back burner?  I have been teaching creative writing at a local college this semester (unfortunately, I don’t have a class for next semester).  I am aware my passion for writing has dissipated, though never my passion for teaching writing.  But the two, for me, are important for balance.  Although, never just the teaching and the writing, but also the living-the children, the grandchildren, the friends, the lovers.

    Speaking of friends, how did I let them slip away?  Why do I find excuses for real connection?  Facebook has been my solace, but a poor excuse for not pushing myself out the door and into the lives of people I care about, who hopefully still care about me.

    Many of my friends are writers.  Committed to writing and promoting their books.  I admire their stamina.  But, I don’t envy them.  I don’t want to be them.  I think that is partly why I am not writing.  Writing demands more than the writing.  Am I scared to give more, scared I am not worth more?  Am I just lazy?

    Earning my MFA in Creative Writing was an epiphany for me.  It made me feel like I had self-worth.  Look at me, I earned a degree.  Look at me, I’m a teacher.  I’m a published writer.  But why creative writing?  Because I didn’t think I could be successful as anything else-not math, not science, not anything-and because I had stories to tell.

    I didn’t choose creative writing, it chose me.  It said here is something that can make you feel good about yourself, though it will be hard, harder than you know-and it was.  Yet, it has been but one story in my life that was about winning:  “it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward? That’s how winning is done.”

    There was a time, not too long ago, when my life was entirely wrapped up in writing-my writing, writing communities, writer friends, teaching writing, mentoring writers, and a full-time job where my writing experience was respected.  I felt my life was in balance.  I felt worthy.

    Today I am challenged with having been hit hard and needing to move forward, but I feel like I am standing still.  I feel like there are too many options and no options.  I feel like any choice I make is not a freedom, not a winning situation, but a need to control what seems uncontrollable.

    My story is important.  But, I may or may not get back to writing it.  In two months I will be 65 years old.  I continue to believe I have no regrets.  I will continue to move forward by looking back to remind myself how far I have come, knowing I don’t have to continue to prove to myself that I am worthy.  I am.  Knowing that I just have to keep living-living a passionate, thoughtful life-mindful of others and striving to love and know that I too am loved.  Imagination the process to acceptance.


    Sherry Lee

    November 12, 2012


    Date: 2012.08.15 | Category: LOVE IMAGINED, The Art of Writing | Response: 1

    Don’t Have to Imagine Love

    What can I say?

    I have been trying hard to post at least once a week, but recently I’ve been sidetracked or just lazy, lol!  Today, though, for whatever reason, I feel like writing.  I feel like an aha moment has hit me in the head.  Just now I realized I don’t have to imagine love.  Love is everywhere.  I love myself, I love my friends, I love my Family-I love acquaintances, I love people I don’t even know, okay some of them.  People love me (yup, even ex’s for better or worse).  Despite a world of tumult and chaos, and, yes, hate-historical and current, love abounds.

    That said, I may never finish my book, Love Imagined, but it will always nudge me to come back to it, keep adding to it-keep writing towards understanding of who I am; and, yes, I will keep posting to  my blog, Love Imagined.

    I have always known I needed a balance between living and writing, but what does that mean?  For now, it means living.  For now, it means only write when the muse overwhelms me.  For now, it means take a step back to ruminate, take a step forward to live life to the fullest.

    For now, right now, I am just thankful and appreciative of who I am and of all the wonderful, smart, sensitive, supportive, absolutely beautiful people-many who have a great sense of humor-I know whether we’ve crossed paths for a moment or a lifetime, whether you’ve come and gone come and gone.

    Friends like Annie whom I’ve known since kindergarten.  Annie has seen me through more relationships than anyone I know, who has sheltered me, fed me, held the reception for my second wedding in her home and more recently joined me on a boat in Vegas to take videos of my son’s wedding.  Annie who has dragged me to class reunions-where I’ve reconnected with other friends-like Patty.

    Friends who have entered my life at various stages of my life.  Friends who have mentored me. Friends whom I have mentored. Friends who have cried with me. Friends who have laughed with me. Friends who don’t care if I know whether I use “who” or “whom” correctly.   Friends who don’t judge me; and friends who do judge me, lol.  Friends who I can call in the middle of the night.  Friends who know what I mean when I say “I can’t afford to.”  Friends who also can’t “afford to.”  Friends who may not know they are friends. My publisher; Victor.  People who have read my books and found something meaningful in my words and those who have given me critical feedback.  My cousin Jay and his wife Shirley-love you!  My dislocated worker counselor.  Friends who know me as “Buttercup.”  My neighbor Alice.

    I could drop a lot of names (never use the words “a lot” be specific, ha! Okay, noted for another post, list of names) but you know who you are and what I’m really trying to get at (never try to force a triggering subject) is although I, like many, have lived/live through racism, sexism, ageism-all those isms-and have tried our best to create awareness and change we still have to find that balance, find what works for us to do what we can and still be happy, still have a life.

    The last ten years I have had an amazing life.  I have had two books published, I have edited several books, I have taught and co-taught (with Laurie Young-Williams) writing workshops from Moorhead to Mankato (and in September 2012 Maidenrock, Wisconsin at   Running Dog Ranch.  I had an almost ten years of working with incredible writers from across the country with the incredible Split Rock Arts Program.  And, I now have four wonderful grandchildren. And, and, and…..

    I have also had challenges or as I’d rather call them “inspirations.”  Ethan, my grandson, is four and non-verbal autistic (I have met amazing bloggers as I search to know more about autism)  I was laid off of my job, then due to a fluke I lost my unemployment three months before it would be up anyways, and soon I will lose my health insurance and life insurance (until I turn a marvelous 65 in January when depending on the political situation should be able to be somewhat covered by Medicare).  I applied for jobs on line only to be rejected a few minutes after submitting an application (but “friends” have helped me through to soon be working again).  I have maxed credit cards and borrowed from one to pay another (but I have A-1 credit and so far have never paid a bill late, and my sister has been extremely generous/and not judgmental).  I’ve cried a few times, but mostly I’ve kept a positive attitude, a smile on my face, and always made sure I found ways to entertain myself AND keep my gray roots from showing-friend Jackie!

    As a writing teacher I believe in the the triggering subject, but right now it seems like the triggering subject is taking me a long time to get where it’s going, so bear with me.  Or better, yet. I will just stop here (no one likes long blog posts anyways, save something to keep ‘em comin’ back as the saying goes).

    One more thing, as Whitney said, “It’s all about love.”

    Sherry Lee

    August 15, 2012

Artist Statement

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Lee is a Community Instructor at Metropolitan State University (Intro to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing), and has taught at Intermedia Arts, and the Loft Literary Center. She is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008.








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