Well recently an 8-year-old girl with autism wrote a letter to the fairies asking if there was a representative of autism among them. In response to her mother’s plea, I wanted to offer a(n admittedly meager) response.
But the upshot got way ahead of my efforts; the fairies posted their response this morning.
But I’ll share my $0.02 anyway, for what it’s worth (hopefully more than 2 cents :)).
Are fairies real?
Hard to say. I’m convinced we discount the possibility too easily, given our society’s hyper-rationalistic and empirical mindset.
But I don’t think reason and experience demand the existence of fairies in the same way they demand other unseen realities.
Nevertheless, I am committed to a belief in fairy tales.
Fairy tales invite us to open our eyes to a bigger reality, to truths too big to be contained within science, mathematics, sociology, or any other field of human endeavor.
They invite us to look beyond what sometimes seems like a world of blind chance and see meaning, purpose, and beauty.
The best (and the worst) in us
Fairyland is not ($5 word alert) homogeneous. It is home to many different types of creatures, ranging from the achingly beautiful to the nightmarishly ugly, from the good and gentle to the evil and sadistic, from giants big as mountains to impish creatures that can’t even be seen with the naked eye.
I can’t speak for any actual non-human races out there (want to make sure I don’t pull a Geico spokesman and offend anybody), but it’s safe to say the fairy races in our stories represent humanity in its many shades. They represent the best and worst in us as well as our varied dreams, desires, fears, aspirations, etc.
Is there an “autism fairy”?
Autism is as much a way of being human as any other, isn’t it? It’s even as much of a story in itself as any fairy tale motif (I’ve even written a thesis on the subject).
If this is the case, then there is surely room for autism in fairyland.
Instead of telling you how I imagine an “autism fairy,” I want to hear your ideas. What do you think an autism fairy would be like? What would s/he look like? What kinds of powers would s/he possess?
Please share — I’ve rambled on long enough!
1. By John Bauer – Illustration of Alfred Smedberg’s The seven wishes in Julbocken, 1907, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=397667
2. By Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis – ciurlionis.eu, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18576612