Monday, August 25, 2014

My announcement

Well, here's the big announcement Brad was referring to this past Saturday.

You know I've been writing a good bit about how I really, really want to work with kids. Especially kids with ADHD or kids who have been -- or are being -- bullied.

Ever since I saw that Ken Burns film ("The Address"), I haven't been able to stop thinking about volunteering or doing something with kids who have ADHD. 

And then I poured my heart out when I wrote that post about how the film affected me. The one where I finally collected my thoughts and feelings after being overwhelmed with so many emotions [Episode of overload]. If was after writing that post that I resolved I had to do something with this passion of mine.

So here's my announcement. I'm still checking into some opportunities to volunteer my time locally, but I can't stop thinking about writing a children's book for kids who have ADD or ADHD. So the essence of my announcement is I'm seriously thinking about writing something.

I want to be clear. I haven't even taken this to any steps beyond just thinking about it. I have no idea what the finished thing would even look like. It might end up being a very short picture book with text for very young children to read, or for parents to read to their child.

Or it might end up being a little longer "traditional" book for kids in the 8 to 12 year old range.

Or maybe something that's a little more serious and has more depth to it for high school kids. This age group is not really what I'm focusing on right now. I think a book for high school kids would need to be more of a traditional story with maybe a character written into the plot. I don't know, I'm really, really drawn to something for younger kids. But we'll see.

I know first hand what it's like to be a young kid with ADHD. I know what it's like to be a kid in middle school with ADHD. And I know what it's like to be a student in high school with ADHD. All the challenges trying to tame my brain. Trying so hard to make friends when my brain is making me jump all over the place. Trying so hard to keep friends. Trying to fit in and be a part of things when it took so much effort to get my brain to understand how to make sense of what was going on around me.

Trying not to see myself as broken and damaged goods because I had to take medicine to fix my brain. Trying not to stand out and draw attention to myself when I couldn't sit still for longer than 15 minutes. Trying not to come across as a goofball or even worse.

It's a hell of an experience. But you know what? I think I might be able to write something that would help kids see they're not the only one who has ADHD and thinks all the jumbled thoughts that go with it. And maybe I'd be able to show how a character starts to see the ADHD in a more positive light. I get a little excited thinking about some plot ideas that show how the character goes from seeing himself as broken and damaged, to whole and unique.

The other idea is to make this a universal story. At this point I'm not even thinking about how to work in an LGBT theme. Maybe I'll change my mind about that later, but I want the story to have a universal appeal with a character any kid would identify with.

So, there it is. Again, I'm just committing myself to think about doing this. Whatever I decide to do, whether it's volunteer my time locally, write a little something for a parent support group, or write a book of some kind, I feel driven inside to do something. And the idea of donating any proceeds from it to maybe a support organization for parents with kids who have ADHD really excites me.

I'll be keeping you posted and probably running ideas by you for your feedback. You can't imagine how excited I am to begin thinking about doing something like this. Writing about my own ADHD here on the blog, along with the Ken Burns film, was just the impetus I needed.

23 comments:

  1. Go for it. I think you'd be the ideal person to write such a book - or books. You might want to start by just writing down ideas. A book for the very young would need to be simpler and a bit more direct. A book for older children could easily encompass the wider range you mentioned. Maybe start with your own story and experiences and adapt them. Whatever you decide, good luck.

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  2. Okay, so you're not really Matilda and I'm not going to be Great Auntie Deedles, but this news is so much better! I think a book for younger kids before they're kind of stuck in a mindset would be just wonderful! You can always make it allegorical or science fiction to make it universal. Rod Serling did that with The Twilight Zone. Boy the things he got away with! This is a terrific idea, darlin'! You go on and share your great big heart! Love.
    Deedles

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  3. You have 4 big pluses going for you if you decide to go forward: you've lived it; you've survived it; you like to write; you're good at it!

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  4. What gp said! You can so do this! You have the experience and you can write. I hope you start with the little ones. Start them young! It can always be a series :)

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  5. Oh, Matty! You never stop being amazing! This is a wonderful idea! And yes to gp's and Mary's remarks. You are so the person to do this. More than one book aimed at the different age groups would be a treat for everyone. But whatever you decide, I know it will be from your heart. :)

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  6. Hey Matt, what a wonderful & moving announcement. And what an impact such book(a) by you could have! I agree with the you've lived it, survived it .... Points that gp & Mary made above. It strikes me that your heart may be most in helping 8-12 year olds (at least for your 1st book), and I agree with others if that is your target audience, the book needs to be simpler & direct. (While incorporating LGBT theme or character is appealing, especially for an audience of older kids, I personally would worry that it would be a very niche market).
    What fantastic news - kudos to
    You !!!! And best of luck as you start the thinking process.
    Cheers,
    David Eaton
    San Jose, CA

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  7. Hey Matt. Not to overwhelm you or anything, but have you thought about a 3 book series? Meaning - something for younger kids, something for middle school aged kids and maybe something for high school age? This way you could address things in "age appropriate" ways and discuss the different challenges they may face as a member of a particular age group (e.g. the social stigma for a wiggly elementary school child is definitely different than a High School aged student!)

    Don't limit yourself! :)

    -Alan
    Chattanooga, TN

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  8. I think that's a wonderful idea. You can do it and it will be amazing and helpful I have no doubt. :)

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  9. I think this is something you would be amazing at Matt.
    You have a talent for telling a story and the experience to make it relatable.
    Whatever you choose to do, I think it will be great.

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  10. That's an amazing idea Matt. Kids need to hear from and about others who feel their feelings, think their thoughts and know exactly what they are going through. And with you're wonderful way with words I have no doubt you will be able to give them that support and the knowledge that they're not alone with perfect clarity. Whether you do that through a book or while volunteering with individual kids or small groups doesn't really matter. You might even end up doing both. What really matters is that those kids will hear from someone who's been there, who's fought the battles they're facing and not only survived but found happiness and a fulfilling life. That is what's going to give them the courage to keep on moving forwards themselves.

    Once again you leave me in awe of the amazing young man that is you.

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  11. Matt! This is fantastic to read! It is going to be outstanding whatever you decide to do and since you have lived it and made it through it will be even more meaningful to those who read it. I am so looking forward to the updates on this!

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  12. You can do it. ADHD is something I knew little about until I started reading the "2 Boys..." blog. and you have helped me understand. The young folk need this - a book written by someone with personal knowledge. Go for it and good luck.

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  13. Matty, I think it's a great idea! Whatever age you decide to target, whatever angle you want to explore, you know the joy and pain of living with ADHD. You can do this!! And you have so many author friends, they can provide you with process help. And there are plenty of teachers and librarians on your friends list, they can be a great resource too! Keep us posted!! ❤️❤️❤️

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  14. Any route you decide to follow will be great because you really have a way with words. And If you add this with your passion for this idea, then you have the necessary to do an amazing work. Hugs Matt

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  15. Hi Matty,

    I think you have a really great idea. That being said, I think a good way to get started is to put down all your thoughts on paper, without initial regard to grammer, sentence structure, organization, precise word useage, etc. Then once you have the initial draft, your work is maybe only 20% done. After that, it just becomes a huge editing process, to organize it and perfect your writing. To add and to delete. To read and re-read it and have others do same for their input. You might end up with 5 or more drafts and the last one may end up looking nothing like the first. As you keep going over it, new ideas will pop into your head that you can insert, or parts of it you don't like can be deleted. But the idea is to get your main thoughts down on paper as best you can without a whole lot of care and then go from there.

    Andy

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  16. Go for it Matty! What a great idea and how wonderful of you to want to help kids. You're awesome. :)

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  17. I think it's a fantastic idea!! Go for it, Matt!

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  18. I think it's a great idea, Matty. However you decide to help, a book or volunteering, it's an excellent idea. Sometimes I think kids just need to know they're not the only ones struggling and other people have these problems too. xo

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  19. Go for it, Matty! You're the perfect person to tackle this project. :)

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  20. What a great idea Matt! Something to make younger kids not think they are alone would be awesome

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  21. Brilliant ideas! Whichever way to choose to go, I know it's going to be done well and with the boundless energy your ADHD supplies you <3

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  22. I think this is a great idea. There is nothing like a person who has lived it to write about it. And you're not so old that you've forgotten what it was like when you were younger!

    LGBTQ angle or not, as well as you write in your blog, I think you'll be able to write something wonderful for ADHD or ADD youth to read.

    I'll be happy to beta read it, and do some editing for you if you wish!

    Peace <3
    Jay

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  23. DO IT! I am all for creative people finding an outlet by WRITING A BOOK. (Or 3) I think writing is a terrific way of expressing emotion and working through things that CAN get stuck in your head with no way out. Especially trauma and stressful things. If you can channel them into something like a book that help other people, help kids, then you are using your experiences for good. Do it. I am sure you know many authors that would help advise you if needed.

    Hugs!

    Wade

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