When I entered a contest to get my children's book published, I thought it was sort of cool - but I also knew I was busy promoting my novel and I never thought I'd have the time to devote to this story. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to make it seem as if I didn't care about it - because I always did. It was something my young friend Natalie and I believed in and we both have a huge love for her little brother. Gabe was the entire reason we wrote the story. Watching him, interacting with him, seeing how people react to him when we're out in public: autism awareness became even larger to me than it has been the ten years that little boy has been in my life. (About 8 of those with him being diagnosed.)
But then the MeeGenius Challenge started and I did what I knew to do: tell people on facebook and twitter about it. And then more and more people told their friends. And comments were being added to the bottom of the page where the story resides and I saw how this small story was affecting people...and it's not even a published book! I found by writing to my own friends how many of them know someone with autism or how it has affected them personally. And then it started to consume me. Not my need to win. My need to share this story. To get more people to know about it so they could vote and this book could get published - being available for other kids to know not to fear children with autism.
I've met more and more autism groups and individual people that are touched by it daily and have corresponded with them online. My friends and family are posting it with teachers and autism forums and my godson's mother checks the list all the time to see how the book is doing (I call them all #TeamChickenBoy) and suddenly - I realize the book must have a life well beyond this contest.
I wanted to blog now because I need my friends and facebook/twitter followers to understand if I come across pushy and sound like a broken record. It's not the same as Greg attempting to get people to buy his book. This is not about buying my book. This is about voting (clicking on a link) to make this story available to children down the road. Allowing it to get to the point that MeeGenius will see they must publish this story so that children and parents will be able to BUY the book and will read it for years to come; learning about autism from the point of view of a little boy who lives with it every day. And like those children that get one thing in their mind and begin to 'script' by saying it over and over...that's what I'm doing as I ask people to read the story and vote.
I hope beyond hope we are chosen for the next round of finals and the book will be illustrated. And if that happens: please forgive me now when there are three weeks that I will eat/sleep/breathe Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero With Autism to do all that I can to get the book published. And I know that #TeamChickenBoy feel the exact same way and I appreciate each and everyone of you for all you are doing now...and will do then if needed. :-)
I started this saying something has happened to me. I realize this book/this process is so not about me. It is way larger than anything I could ever do. But it's been an amazing feeling that I've not known previously in my writing, directing, producing or acting life: and I'm so very honored to be experiencing it!
I end with some wonderful comments coming in from people about the bok: some I know and some that are strangers. If you haven't clicked on the link yet to vote: I really ask that you will.
- "I'm an avid reader & researcher of autism and never have I been moved to tears. Never has a children's book touched me so profoundly or clearly explained the very special mind of autism. " - Kentucky
- "This gives me a new glimpse into the young man who sits in front of me every Sunday in church. I know I will smile a different smile when I see him this next time because of the insights your story tells." - Texas
- "Thanks for creating a story that will help lesson the fear of someone that may be different." - New York
- "My 3 year old son was confirmed as being on the Autism Spectrum 2 weeks ago...he too was catching raindrops on his tongue today!" - London
- "For all the little Chicken Boys out there...I have 2 chicken boys in my life that I love with all my heart!" - New Jersey