Hello. My name is Sarah Kurchak and I am a person with autism on the writing spectrum.

About a month ago, I wrote about the Netflix series, Love on the Spectrum, for TIME. It was neither an endorsement nor a condemnation. I have complicated feelings about the show, and did my best to walk readers through my long-held beliefs in the value of good autistic representation in pop culture, the immense baggage of bad rep, and my ambivalence about this particular attempt at autism rep in the context of my beliefs and background.

The initial reaction to the story was…


Autistic author Sarah Kurchak, Photo by Jenna Marie Wakani

She wrote a book and all she got was this lousy pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, autistic author Sarah Kurchak wouldn’t mind staying at home. That’s where the freelance writer spends most of her time, anyway. But she had plans to occasionally leave the house this April. …


photo by Jesse Lambert (Arch Angel Studios)

This story originally appeared on JetLi.com in March, 2018.

Every mixed martial artist has their own pre-fight rituals, a mix of physical and mental preparations that uniquely prepare them for the task of stepping into a ring or cage and facing another human being in hand to hand combat. For Serena “Southpaw” DeJesus, that includes CBD oil and noise cancelling headphones to help her cope with her sensitivities to light and sound, and making sure that the officiant understands her issues so that they can avoid any unexpected and unnecessary contact — like grabbing her forearms while going over the…


Being a “high-functioning” autistic myself, I’ve seen firsthand how people can mistake austistic behavior for veiled narcissism

Hannah Gadsby speaks onstage during the FYSEE Hannah Gadsby conversation and reception at Raleigh Studios. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

At one point in Douglas, the new stand-up special from Hannah Gadsby, the comedian addresses a common misconception about her recent autism diagnosis. “I have high-functioning autism and it’s a terrible thing to have,” she says, “in that it gives you the impression that you are functioning highly.”

That statement, though seemingly honest and benign, was enough to irk New Yorker critic Hilton Als. In his review of Douglas, Als posits that Gadsby is invoking her autism to insulate herself from criticism: “Of course, this confession silences or nearly silences any criticism you may have been harboring: How can you…


The set of the 1960s Western was awash in toxic masculinity, fragile egos, and gastrointestinal distress

On the set of director John Sturges’ ‘The Magnificent Seven.’ Photo: United Artists/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

The Magnificent Seven was made the way so many things in our world are: (Predominantly white) men liked something that someone else had done, went somewhere that wasn’t theirs, fucked around a lot, and eventually made their own version of it, earning praise and a legendary status that was probably only partially deserved.

In this particular case, actor Yul Brynner fell in love with Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and wanted to remake it as a Hollywood Western. He may or may not have acquired the rights and drafted some basic ideas for the new film with fellow actor Anthony Quinn…


I saw In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert — The Hologram Tour at The Sony Centre last night, a show I was anticipating so highly that I completely forgot about it until my partner politely asked me to put some pants on ten minutes before we had to leave our apartment.

The official site for Base Hologram, the company behind this mild necromancy, describes the show as “an extraordinary event that sees the man himself take to the stage via hologram, accompanied by a full live orchestra.”

It goes on to promise that “as you watch Orbison sing his first…


When I’m feeling particularly frustrated with my career, I offer to ghostwrite a memoir for my mom. It’s a slightly bitter, semi-serious joke. I’m mostly taking a shot at the fact that the memoirs that non-autistic parents write about raising their autistic children have a much better shot at getting published and selling than anything that I, as an autistic person, could ever hope to write about autism. But there’s also a little part of me that just wants that payday. (I can’t extend this offer to my dad, because he’s a fellow autist and no one seems particularly interested…


CW: suicide, suicidal ideation, murder, filicide, police brutality, dehumanization of autistic people

On March 21, 2017, CNN published an article on a new study from the American Journal of Public Health that found that autistic people die at an average age of 36. I wasn’t shocked by this news. I know how dire things can be for so many of us on the spectrum, but that specific number stuck with me because I had just turned 35 the previous month.

Since then, I’ve been anticipating this milestone my own life with a mix of confusion, dread, and a host of…


In a nondescript apartment building that will soon be torn down and replaced with condos in midtown Toronto, Sarah assesses herself in the bathroom mirror. She brushes her greasy hair and then decides to throw some baby powder into it, because she forgot to buy dry shampoo again and all she really needs is to cut the grease enough so that it doesn’t feel gross on her sensitive skin. “It’s not like I’m going outside anyway, so fuck it,” she mutters to herself. “I can probably go ahead and skip the pants, too.”

From there, she begins her walk to…

Sarah Kurchak

Author of I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder (April 2020, Douglas & McIntyre). Covers autism and pop culture. Loves wrestling.

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