Welcome

My first name is Erika. Not Erica. Not Ericka. My last name is Hammerschmidt, which has thirteen letters, including five consonants in a row. People still find it easier to spell than my first name.

In college I majored in German and Spanish. I also accidentally minored in art, just by taking so many art classes for the fun of it. I grow my own vegetables. I cut my own hair, but even when a professional barber cuts it, it still sticks out on one side and in on the other. I’m an author, artist and speaker living in Minnesota. I work at Target as well as giving speeches on autism and writing books. I am married to a space alien named John Ricker, who, like me, is on the autism spectrum.

Below you will find my latest news. Blog posts happen at least once a week here, on Sunday morning. Add me to your bookmarks! I’m always up to something.

Valentine’s Day Craft Fair!

So, there’s another craft fair at the Minnehaha Free Space!

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Minnehaha Free Space Craft Fair & Bake Sale

(Facebook page)

Sat Feb 14, 2015

1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

This is the one at which I’ll have a table, selling my handmade jewelry and other crafts.

My jewelry is crazy intricate Renaissance-fair-type stuff that you can see on my website.


There will be lots of other cool artists too!

Since it’s a bake sale, there will also be baked goods! Probably including some vegan and gluten-free options, because Minnehaha Free Space is into that.

The craft fair will be at:

Minnehaha Free Space

3747 Minnehaha Ave

Minneapolis, MN 55406

email: radspacetc@riseup.net

call: 612-729-3733

If you can get to downtown Minneapolis, it’s easy to get to Minnehaha Free Space from there by train. Here are directions from the downtown library. (I’ll give very detailed step-by-step directions, because there was a time when I was so scared of going new places that I would skip out on fun events just because I would have to get to them on my own… in those days, knowing the route in this much detail would have been a big help for me.)

Without further ado:

*******

First, head from the library along Hennepin toward 5th Street:


At 5th Street, turn and wait at the Warehouse Station and Platform.

Get on a Blue Line train toward Mall of America:

Get off at the 38th Street Station:



Turn left and go down 38th Street:




Turn on Minnehaha and you’ll be there!

Window Plants

My garden is looking nice today.

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Writing thoughts

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I’m thinking a lot lately about going back to writing fiction.

My big writing project lately has been a new memoir, Erika to Earth, where I talk about my life since the publication of my first book Born on the Wrong Planet, as well as exploring in depth some issues that I regret ignoring or portraying simplistically in my first book (which I wrote as a college student with limited experience and a somewhat idealistic worldview).

Similarly, I want to write fiction that portrays humanity with more of its true complexity than the first fictional book I published, Kea’s Flight. When John and I collaborated on that novel, I still believe we did something good in telling the story of some strong and intelligent autistic characters like ourselves, but there are still aspects of it that I regret.

I’ve been working on a sequel, bit by bit, and as time goes on, I’m becoming more and more aware of how important it is for the sequel to be more inclusive.

I want to show a wider range of the disabled people that were mentioned living on the ship. The first book never went into their lives, and I regret that. I want to show those with more severe impairments, those who can’t speak vocally, those whose intelligence was never recognized, those with low intelligence. I want to show Kea interacting with them, listening to them, taking their ideas into consideration. I want to see her learn to respect them, as I have.

I want to show non-disabled people who are more in-depth characters than Brandon from the first book. Life is not just autistic heroes versus allistic villains. I want to show interaction between autistic and non-autistic people as the complex, nuanced, sometimes enlightening, sometimes painful reality that it is.

“Kea’s Flight” included a lesbian, a bisexual and an asexual, all female. I want to show more of the LGBTQ spectrum. I want to show gay and bi men, and maybe some trans characters. I want to make them complex characters and show more scenes from their viewpoints. There were also a few characters in “Kea’s Flight” who were apparently Hispanic (though the setting is such that people’s ethnic heritage is difficult to know). I want to show a wider range of people of color. I want to paint humanity as it really looks, in all its intricate detail, showing all the colors and shapes and fascinating twists.

I know I’ll get things wrong, and I’m prepared to accept criticism. I hope to build my skill at accurately depicting all aspects of the world and its people.

I’m a growing and changing person, and, I think, so is Kea. When John and I created her, our hearts were more or less in the right place, but our awareness was narrower than it is now, and we made her in our image.  I believe she can grow as we have, and expand her worldview and the diversity of her group of friends.

Random act of kindness

THANK YOU to the person who sent me silver wire from my Amazon wish list!!! I didn’t recognize the name on it, so I’m guessing you’re either a casual acquaintance whose name I’ve stupidly forgotten, or a fan who doesn’t know me personally. (Also, I’m writing this cautiously because I’m not sure if you’d want to have your name posted in public). In any case, thanks so much! I made some really cool necklaces out of it.

Freestyle

Radio host: So Iggy, freestyle for us.

Iggy:

Radio host: …Is that a breast pump?

Iggy: yes, it’s for draining fluids out of your body to feed babies

Iggy: here’s one for vampire babies:

If you are plotting getting me a present…

Amazon Wish List

Looking at my wish list, you might assume I was a lot more new-agey than I am. But no, I’m just artsy-craftsy. The crystals are because I like sparkly things and I want to wrap them in silver wire and make awesome shiny necklaces. The oils and extracts and stuff are because I’m playing with the idea of making my own lip balms, perfumes and soaps. (And, of course, the electronic gadgets are because I’m human and I’m a nerd.)

Also, I put “100″ for the quantity I want of some things. That doesn’t mean I really won’t be satisfied until I have 100. It just means I won’t mind getting multiple copies of the thing, because it’s a craft supply and I may use it up.

And, no I’m not expecting that people will actually buy me all the stuff on this list. But I figured it’s worth a try, since some people do tend get me presents this time of year, and I’d rather have something from this list than some random gift from someone who had no idea what I wanted.

Amazon gift cards are good too.

How I backed up my personality on paper (take two)


(Updated with the more recent version of the project. I redesigned the books to be prettier, fit better in the box, and hold more data.)

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Pharmacy Tech

Passed the PTCB Exam today! If all goes well, I should receive my certificate in the next few weeks, and be a Nationally Certified Pharmacy Technician.

http://www.ptcb.org/get-certified#.VGFMbvTF-98

Free Space Show!!

So, the holidays are coming up.

And while you’re shopping for gifts at Minnesota’s many local craft fairs, I’d like to make sure you know about one of the lesser-known but still lovely ones:

Minnehaha Free Space Craft Fair & Bake Sale

Sat Dec 13, 2014

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

This is the one at which I’ll have a table, selling my handmade jewelry and other crafts.

My jewelry is crazy intricate Renaissance-fair-type stuff that you can see on my website.


There will be lots of other cool artists too! And the prices will probably be lower than other craft fairs, because artists don’t have to pay a huge fee just to get a table at this one.

Since it’s a bake sale, there will also be baked goods! Probably including some vegan and gluten-free options, because Minnehaha Free Space is into that.

The craft fair will be at:

Minnehaha Free Space

3747 Minnehaha Ave

Minneapolis, MN 55406

email: radspacetc@riseup.net

call: 612-729-3733

If you can get to downtown Minneapolis, it’s easy to get to Minnehaha Free Space from there by train. Here are directions from the downtown library. (I’ll give very detailed step-by-step directions, because there was a time when I was so scared of going new places that I would skip out on fun events just because I would have to get to them on my own… in those days, knowing the route in this much detail would have been a big help for me.)

Without further ado:

*******

First, head from the library along Hennepin toward 5th Street:


At 5th Street, turn and wait at the Warehouse Station and Platform.

Get on a Blue Line train toward Mall of America:

Get off at the 38th Street Station:



Turn left and go down 38th Street:




Turn on Minnehaha and you’ll be there!

Sirius the 6-Inch Pianist, Take Two

Sirius the Starling has improved at playing the piano!

And here are some more pictures of Sirius, just because he’s beautiful.