When I first started this blog, one of the first few things I talked about was that Aspies and those on the spectrum often have what is known as special interests. Special interests or obsessions are certain topics that we are drawn to, and once we begin one, it becomes all encompassing to the point that we do enough research on it to become experts in those particular topics. Special interests may come and go, and some accumulate and stay with us over the years. (If you want to know more about special interests, check out my blog post on it over here.)
The difference between the hobbies and interests that neurotypicals have as compared to someone on the spectrum is the fact that we can seriously talk about it 24/7 and we can actually be immersed in it too much that we can actually forego some of our basic needs to continue doing it.
For me, most of my special interests are lifelong, with each topic having moments in which it comes back again in full force. However, even if they are at the backseat sometimes, my special interests never really leave me.
One of my special interests that I am particularly fond of, as it is one of the first few special interests I had (after trivia and Disney movies), is fantasy literature.
Ever since I was young, I loved to read, given that I had learned to read at a very early age. At first, I consumed all the children’s books that I could get my hands on, from children’s books to magazines all the way to my Big Book of Questions and Answers (Trivia Book).
After a while, I was introduced to the concept of chapter books, and the very first chapter book I read from cover to cover was a fantasy story about a princess who gets lost and encounters a young farmer boy. Together, they defeat the antagonist, and in the end, the princess realizes that the boy is really the kingdom’s long lost prince.
A little while after that, my father introduced me to the world of Narnia thanks to “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by CS Lewis, and the rest, as they say, is history. I delved into the genre headfirst, and until now, I have never looked back.
Since then, I have been a fan, mostly of more old school fantasy novels and series, with some young adult fantasy sprinkled in. However, I have discovered that I am also pretty picky when it comes to me really loving a fantasy series, and it takes a lot to impress me.
Interestingly enough, more often than not, I feel myself more drawn to fantasy stories whose settings seem grounded and realistic, as with their rules of magic; to those that have actual new languages and systems of writing; and those that are based even just a little bit, on actual myths and legends. I think based on my favorites, these are what they all have in common.
I love fantasy literature because as someone with a wild imagination, it allowed me to escape reality and allowed me to live, even for a short time in a world where magic and princesses are real. Also, it allowed me to travel to different places without ever having to leave the comfort of my own home.
I also greatly admired how these writers could create fictional and beautiful worlds with good characters of different species, lands with actual histories, specific magical rules that the story has to abide by, and different languages and cultures.
Fantasy stories were definitely the stuff that dreams were made out of and showed me that anything and almost everything is definitely possible.
What are some of your special interests? When did you get started on it? Has it stayed with you or has it waned over the years? Sound off in the comments below!