I’ve been thinking a lot about — and starting to formulate a writing project on — the concept of attention. Not how to have more of it, or how to focus it (I’d be the last person qualified to advise anyone on that), but more about the wonderful things that happen when our attention wanders. ADHD and autism are both conditions characterized in least part by their relationship to attention: do we pay the “right” amount of attention to the “right” things, at the “right” time, during the “right” stage of life? From a medical-model/capitalist perspective, we obviously don’t. But from a non-pathologizing perspective, of course, there are no right or wrong things to give our attention to. I wouldn’t write the poetry I write if I followed the social rules of what’s worth giving my attention to. I wouldn’t have the sense of connection to the world around me if I limited my attention to the things other people seem to find important. ADHD and autism are both (at least, for me) about a kind of hyper-attunement (see the Elizabeth Fein passage I posted the other day), but that attunement knocks us (or me) out of alignment with what other people want or expect from us.