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April 29, 2015

Learning How to Be Human --- Guest Post by Georgia Lyon


Memoir writers are amazing --- they dig into the deepest, most intimate corners of themselves, drudge out the secrets hiding there and courageously share them with their readers. Obviously, though, this can be a little tough --- once you tell your story, everyone who thought they knew you looks at you in an entirely different way.

For this reason, 17-year-old Georgia Lyon decided to write about her own experiences with autism under a pen name, and is only just revealing her own identity, now. 

Read her poignant (and funny!) post below to learn more about Georgia, her book and why she decided to finally reveal her true self.

I am 17-years-old and besides helping autistic people, I like reading, martial arts, intellectual conversations, swimming and laughing (though maybe not all at once). Ever since I was seven, I have dreamed of becoming a writer. After reading HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, I saw how writers' words could make bratty boys sprout pigs' tails, protagonists be prodigies at Quidditch and villains live under turbans that smelled of garlic. I also saw how writers' words could reveal the intensity and complexity of human thoughts and relationships (like how Harry and Ron went from hating to liking Hermione once they fought off a troll together). In short, writing became magical to me and has stayed that way ever since.

Although I enjoy writing adventure fantasy stories, I have come to realize that my life's experiences are worth sharing as well. Two years ago, I published HOW TO BE HUMAN: Diary of an Autistic Girl in the hopes that I could help people see our common humanity. Even if we look, think and behave differently, we all have a desire to be understood.

I wrote the book under the pen name Florida Frenz because by high school, I had learned to manage well enough in the “human world” that I didn't need an IEP, an Individual Education Plan. In fact, I wasn't even officially identified as autistic. I wasn't eager to reveal that to my peers. Besides, in addition to autism, I have chronic fatigue and sensory processing issues that slow down how fast I can complete certain tasks. I wanted to excel academically and socially in high school, which took all of my time and energy. I could not have handled reactions to my book at school and how people may have judged me differently.

Thankfully, I am a second semester senior now. My college applications are done and I no longer care what people at school think of me or my book. They already know I am an alien because they saw me crash my U.F.O. into an unfortunate tree on campus when I took my first flying lesson. 

I appreciate all the support I received as Florida and hope you continue to support me as Georgia Lyon, my real name, on this journey of helping everyone see that we are all human!

Georgia Lyon wrote HOW TO BE HUMAN using the pen name Florida Frenz. Lyon is revealing her identity for the first time since Creston Books published her book in 2013.