Susan McCorkindale

Author. Editor. Autism Advocate.

Why is my mouth open?

Why is my mouth open, and why can’t I roll the video back five seconds to when it wasn’t open? I have no answer to either of those questions and I only hope that if you’re a dentist, my teeth pass muster.

Seriously, this video, the first I’ve ever made on my own (with copious amounts of encouragement from my friends Laura Clark and Michelle Coe) starts with me looking like a normal person and even sounding like a normal person, if your normal is  a woman reminiscent of Carmella Soprano. (Thirteen years since my move to Virginia, and I still sound like a combination of a mob wife, Rhoda, and The Nanny. Nice.)

The reason I made the video is because in the last few weeks both Laura and Michelle, who don’t know each other, have come to me and suggested I try a new platform. It could be a podcast or a vlog or both. They encouraged my to try something new not to leave my writing, but to support it.

My response? Too scary. Not doing it. Got nuthin’ to say and who in God’s name wants to hear my honk?

It was the “too scary” thought that woke me up really late one night and got me thinking — what do I say to a girlfriend who gives me ten million reasons she shouldn’t apply for a job she really wants? I say, “Do it! Apply! If you never ask the answer is always no!” And what do I say when she responds, “But I’m scared I’ll get it and stink at it and they’ll find out I’m a fraud.” I say, “Just go for it and you’ll figure it out later!” (As you can see, these conversations get me fired up and acting all cheerleader-like and even using exclamation marks.)

But why don’t we give ourselves the same kind of advice and encouragement we give others? Why wasn’t I at least considering the advice I’d give a friend? Believe it or not, lying there in the dark, desperate to go back to sleep, it dawned on me that if I couldn’t take my own advice I could no longer give advice.

And we all know that wasn’t about to happen.

So here it is. My first step toward getting a conversation going among women 35-65.  Can you imagine all the things, experiences, and lessons we’ve learned that we can share and thereby make each other’s lives easier, richer, less stressed and more fun? Can you imagine how lovely it would be to know you’re not alone in whatever you’re dealing with or going through, to hear from others that there’s light at the end of the tunnel? I can.

Trust me, this video ain’t pretty, but it’s a start. Maybe it will lead to something, maybe it won’t. But if I don’t try, I won’t know.

And don’t worry. I won’t stop writing. After 56 years, I do know it’s what I do best.











Share on Pinterest
There are no images.

Things I’ve learned

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth. Erma Bombeck

I’ve learned that when my son is in a relationship, hearing about its ups and downs and heartache sends my empathy into overdrive and in no time my heart is breaking as if my own relationship was in such turmoil. I actually take on his pain and walk around in the fog and agony that comes from knowing the person you love can’t and will never feel for you the way you do for them. And what good is that? It doesn’t ease his suffering and it exhausts me. Sympathy is good. Empathy is good. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is good. But lacing them up and wearing them is insanity.

I’ve learned that seeing my other son for any reason, a meal, a movie, a holiday, requires an exceptional amount of energy. And I’ve learned that I don’t have an exceptional amount of energy anymore. Which means no more spur of the moment visits. Dates with him need to made in advance and the night before I see him, I need sleep. Lots of sleep. The day of, I need a nap.  He needs me at my best, my most patient. And I need to have the energy to wrestle his runaway train out of the rabbit hole and toward the nearest sign of light.

I’ve learned that if I don’t put the brakes on the emotional energy I put into both boys, I will cry. More. Harder. Sometimes non-stop.

I’ve learned that I can paint a piano, but I cannot stencil a floor.

Beautiful, gray piano that once was ugly brown.

The piano, far right, used to be brown. Ugly brown. Now it’s beautiful. Notice there’s no picture of the stenciled floor.

I’ve learned that when I hop out of bed at four in the morning to (attempt to) stencil, edit, write a little something for myself, iron, and touch up paint I’ve gotten on the ceiling, all at the same time, there is something I don’t want to think about.

I’ve learned that not thinking about something I don’t want to think about will make me think, why am I crying?

I’ve learned that the answer, at least today, is that I’m worried about my kids, money, the possibility that I love the man in my life just a little too much, and I’m tired.

I’ve also learned that I’ve stenciled myself out of the bathroom where my makeup is and therefore can’t fix the mess I’ve made of my face.

And I’ve learned that I’m probably going to live, because that thought made me laugh.

So please tell me, what are some of the things you’ve learned about self-care, self-preservation, raising kids, empathy, etc. Clearly, I could use the advice.


Susan xo

Share on Pinterest

I’m getting naked here, and I need to hear from you

Nice likeness, huh?

I’m kidding, of course. I mean naked in the figurative sense. I’m baring my soul to you, the people who’ve followed me through cancer, autism, death, divorce, single parenthood, weight loss, weight gain (you really must see my impressive collection of fat shirts), losing myself, and clawing my way back because I need your advice.

What would you like to hear from me about and how would you like to hear it? Blog posts? A podcast? Live action or You Tube videos (either of which would allow you to see my fat shirts in their full glory which is truly the best way to appreciate them)?

You’ve been with me from the beginning, and for that I can never thank you enough. And it’s for that reason that I’m asking you what you want next. Do you want to talk about cancer and care-giving, the perils of marrying a narcissist, the pain and unparalleled joys of raising a child with Autism? It’s your call so please, leave me as long or short a note in the comments section as you like, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

I eagerly await your input, and that’s the naked truth.



Share on Pinterest

Why do I keep keys?

Behold, my desk drawer. An ordinary desk drawer filled with pens, post-it notes, highlighters, flash drives the contents of which have been long forgotten, and keys. Lots of keys.

Behold, my key chain. An ordinary key chain containing all the keys I need. Car key, house keys, boyfriend’s house key, and the key to my mailbox.  If all the keys I need are here, and they are, then what, pray tell, are those reproducing near my paper clips?

Do they represent plants I promised to water?

Mail I offered to bring in?

A dog I said I’d let out?

I doubt it. If they did, I’d have heard about it by now. Those keys have been in my desk drawer for years, from my time on the farm, to my former husband’s house, to my apartment in town, to the condo I live in today but, unlike the barrettes and hair bands in my bathroom,

I simply can’t recall where they came from.

I do, however, know what I’m going to do with them. I’m saving them, along with the clips, hair bands, and hundreds of bobby pins I discovered cowering in a Tupperware container last week when I started this “Why do I keep this stuff?” series, in a pretty box I’ve labeled Weird Writing Prompts. Clearly, that’s what they are and, as I look around this place with an eye toward more cleaning out and de-cluttering, I know two things:

  1. This series is far from over and
  2. I’m gonna need a bigger box.

#weirdwritingprompts #whydoikeepthisstuff




Share on Pinterest