Thursday, 01 September 2011 17:45

Welcome to the Site

Last spring when my memoir, Bad Animals: A Father’s Accidental Education in Autism, was published, they told me I needed a website. Of course, by they, I really mean my wife, Cynthia Davis. You can probably also guess by the fact that I am only launching now that I didn’t exactly spring into action. There are a couple of explanations for this – first, I am a professional writer and it’s in my nature to procrastinate. Call it an occupational hazard. As the wonderful American novelist Richard Price once said, “A writer is someone of whom it can be said when he is staring off into space, he is working.” Or so the alibi goes.  The other explanation for the delay in launching this website is that I have tried over the course of my marriage not to admit Cynthia is right until I absolutely have to.

Now, I have to.

And so I am hopeful will serve a variety of purposes. For instance, if you click on “Autism” you will find practical information, meant mainly for the parents of children with autism. This section is overseen and updated by Cynthia. The best resource we had when our son Jonah was first diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2003 was the insight and compassion we were shown by other parents of children with autism who happened to be a little further along this difficult path than we were. The website is our way of providing something similar for others.

This website is also intended to give visitors an overview of my career as well as access to the books, articles, and reviews I’ve written over the course of what I can hardly believe is a thirty-year freelance writing career. In addition, there is news on what I am working on now as well as where I will be speaking next. You will also find interviews, print and audio, I’ve done and what the media has said about my work. But the main thing I hope this website accomplishes is to continue and broaden the discussion of fatherhood, of marriage, and of autism I began with Bad Animals.

“How do you photograph your driveway and make it seem like the road of life?” Tom Waits once asked. Indeed, it is the question that should always be in the back and, for that matter, the front of the mind of anyone bold or foolish enough to write personal essays, memoirs, or autobiographical fiction.  How do I make what is important to me seem important to others?  

Bad Animals is a deeply personal book not just because I like to write about myself – though I do; it makes the research easier; I hardly ever have to leave the house – but because it had to be. It wouldn’t have worked any other way. My faith in the power of personal writing is really the only faith I have left. But I believe; I believe that the more honest you are in writing about your own experience the more likely what you write will resonate and connect with others. I hope, too, that by making this website personal, visitors will also find themselves making a connection.
So welcome. I hope you enjoy exploring and I hope, too, that you feel inspired to comment on what you see and read. I look forward to hearing from you.

Welcome to the Site 

Bad Animals: A Father’s Accidental Education in Autism

badanimalsJoel Yanofsky tried for years to start this memoir. "It's not just going to be about autism," he told his wife, Cynthia. "It's going to be about parenthood and marriage, about hope and despair, and storytelling, too." 

BC National Award for Non-Fiction Video

Joel Yanofsky at BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

Click on the image to watch the video