Let’s have fun thinking about our own thoughts, shall we? When you see this image, what pops out to you first?
I’ll explain my thought process when I first saw this image: the first thing I picked up on was a letter H. Then lots of letter H’s in rows, and a column. Then I realized the middle row of H’s was shorter than the top one, and shorter than the bottom one. And then it clicked; all the letter H’s were making a great big letter E.
What about you? Did you see the E first, or the H’s first?
Fun fact: autistic people tend to pick up the H’s first. So if you spotted the H’s first, you might have autism! (disclaimer: this is not an official diagnosis, just some correlations about how brains work.)
While pondering this for a day or so, I started thinking about perspective and creativity, particularly in terms of, how does an audience member’s perspective differ from a creator’s perspective? How does a reader see a story, vs. how does a writer see it; or how does a moviegoer see a film vs. an editor?
As a writer, when I sit down and start a story, I have the barest idea of the whole picture. I start in one tiny corner with a kernel of a character, or a thread of a plot, and I build it outward. I begin with a tiny letter H, and have no idea if I am building a giant letter E or L or Z.
Compared to when I read a story, I usually go in with some idea of where it will take me–this is a fantasy story, by an author I’m familiar with. This is either a comedy or a tragedy, and will end one of those ways. I’ve read the book blurb and some reviews before getting it, I know generally how the story starts.
In other words: as a reader I have a giant letter E–I just don’t know if the story/world/characters will include building block H’s or N’s or K’s.
Autistics innately see life from the perspective of a creator. We pick up on the details of a world before the overall scene. We see the tiny H’s before the giant letter E.
Now, that can get super overwhelming, and loud, and I hate crowded spaces, and sometimes I miss important, overall things, BUT, I’m aware of how things are created, and I can generally figure out how to make them for myself.
Here’s the conclusion I came to, after a day of pondering: autistics are meant to be creators. From writing, to creating goofy art, to inventing technology, we experience life as tons of tiny building blocks, and only our imagination limits us in the ways we can combine them together.