Some thoughts about neurological difference in our series

Midsummer_FINALStarling SmallRecently, one of our readers asked me a fantastic question on Tumblr about Michael in Love’s Labours series.  While firmly a contemporary, not paranormal, series, the books contain lots of mgical realism and strongly suggest that Michael may be a changeling or at least wants people to think he may be a changeling.

The question was, “Do you guys ever think of Michael as otherkin?

And led to me to write this very long reply about autism and faerieland (which show up all over our work in lots of different ways) and what Michael from Love’s Labours has in common with Liam from Love in Los Angeles:

It’s certainly a valid interpretation and may be the answer.

But here’s the very weird thing: We have no idea what Michael’s deal is.  We know exactly as much about who/what/why he is as he does, and we come at it from largely the same place as he does – people are bothersome and melodramatic about it; he has certain coping strategies; he would like people not to freak out and make him get MRIs. MRIs make him mad.

I can’t tell you how often when writing LL 2, I would go “Maybe it’s migraines! Maybe it’s epilepsy! Maybe he’s a changeling! Who can tell!”

I think in many ways Michael in LL is the flip side of Liam in LiLA.

Liam’s autistic. And there are things about that that are good, and things about that that are neutral, and things about that are bad, and what those things are differ if you’re Liam or someone who has to engage with Liam.  It is a practical, non-mystical reality of his life, and always has been. He’s very excited he can talk and do things on his own and hire people to cover for all the stuff he can’t.

Michael, on the other hand, is sort of a living embodiment of mythologies people have at times used to explain autism and other forms of neurological variance. But he’s not autistic, and he doesn’t seem to have epilepsy, but something is definitely going on with his brain.

Maybe he really is fae. Maybe he would have been like this if his sister hadn’t died, but maybe not.  Maybe his older sister was like this too; maybe in her own way she died of it. Michael doesn’t know, and in many ways doesn’t care. He exists deeply in the present, sometimes to the exclusion of the passing of time.

Liam would be terrified of him.

They are both people who have to engage BS about other people’s ideas of exile.

If Michael knew the word otherkin he might use it.  He might also be wary of it. Does it make him more safe or less safe? Does it make other people take him more or less seriously? Would he want to be around other people like him or not?

I just don’t know.

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