Initially I wanted to record the events and happenings around ‘the cottage’, a close-set, run-down pair of fruit pickers’ cottages in the southern highlands in New South Wales I lived in during the 1970s. I’d organised a reunion of ‘the old crowd’ in 2013 and following that thought it would be good to have a record of those times. So initially I wanted to write a ‘memoir’ of the cottage rather than specifically about me.
I struggled to write anything other than a few short anecdotes, one of which became the Prologue for ‘Legs’. Then I went to see a psychologist for an on-going set of issues, and was completely thrown when she said I had high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder a.k.a. Asperger’s Syndrome. I soon realised that not only was she right, but that much of my life had been about learning the skills to appear ‘normal’, and that I had in fact become very good at that. A crucial phase for me had been the period of seven or so years I spent at the cottage and from there the memoir fell into place.
I still wanted to record the history of the cottage, but now I also wanted to provide a glimpse into the world of someone with Asperger’s for others. Of course, to paraphrase the good Prof. J.R.R. Tolkien, I also wanted to write a good yarn.