Monday 4 October 2010

Scenes Defined: Dwight V. Swain LET ME DEFINE THE SCENE...

Crediting Dwight V. Swain  - book available somewhere up the Amazon- The How To Write Shop posted about scene control.

It made me smile: I control scenes, ten a minute, every Monday...

It is the best of days, it is the worst of days ... it is menu and shopping day. The fridge and freezer have a hollow ring, when the door slams shut.
Today the fridge offered two parsnips and two eggs, while the larder rattled with two potatoes and an onion. Not the greatest fan of parsnip soup with a boiled egg chaser, I dug under the frost at the back of the freezer's bottom (drawer) and added frozen okra to my harvest of bounty. Not even Jamie Oliver could gourmet that lot into a feast for all the family.
The rush and thunk of baskets and drawers alerted Sunshine, long before I went looking for paper and a pen, a shield and helmet (this part gets dangerous.) Autism affects empathy, understanding and the appreciation of which food groups combine into a healthy balanced diet. A discussion of suitable menus: three meals a day for seven days starts a bit like this:
“So, dinner on Monday... what would you like?”
“OK, we can put pizza on the list ... as long as it is thin crust, and not pepperoni. Plain cheese and tomato or would you like –“
“Pizza with sausage rolls and a chicken kiev?”
And so we start, one meal at a time.
I try to do breakfast, lunch and dinner separately so he can develop an appreciation of these meals as being different. He likes nothing to appear twice on the whole plan. (No, we can’t recycle the plan from one week to the next because weeks, per se, are an artificial convention and not one he subscribes to.)
I refuse to add ASDA’s  Chicken Carbonara to the list. He is devastated. I’m cruel and heartless, apparently. (I can’t bring myself to buy it so he can strain off the sauce and bin the chicken.) Time is less elastic than patience.
We finish the menus, and then write the shopping list while we check what we actually need to buy.
In the supermarket, I stick to that list like an iron rod to an electromagnet — with rigidity the boy would be proud of – because if I waver my control tears like wrapping paper on a Christmas parcel. If he spots a narrowing of the eye or the merest hint of lip twist he becomes the dreaded tall-toddler-in-tantrum mode, and the trolley goes from empty to full faster than Nathan Bransford’s inbox.
We survived, there is food in the cupboard,  and it better stay there so I don’t have to go through this again... until next week.


  1. I've been there. I've often thought that somebody ought to open an Autism Cafe. Absolutely everything, no matter what, would have ketchup on it!

  2. Yum!
    Only if they spread it around on the surfaces too. ;)