Alyssa Gonzalez is a biology Ph.D., public speaker, and writer. Her fiction uses science-fiction and fantasy elements to explore social isolation, autism, gender, trauma, and the relationships between all of these things. She is by some accounts one of the earliest participants in the emerging "neuroqueer" genre of fiction, which she has contributed to extensively in the form of short fiction published in the anthologies Spoon Knife 2, Spoon Knife 3, Spoon Knife 4, Spoon Knife 5, and Spoon Knife 6 published by Autonomous Press. She blogs at The Perfumed Void (the-orbit.net/alyssa), on the subjects of biology, history, sociology, and her experiences as an autistic ex-Catholic Hispanic transgender immigrant to Canada. She is of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent and lives in Ottawa, Canada with a menagerie of pets.
I craft my presentations based on the desires of the people hiring me. Inquire within. In scientific contexts, I have presented some of the following topics:
- Why Do Plants Taste Good? - An exploration of plant biochemistry leading to a surprising conclusion about the specific chemicals that contribute to the flavor or bioactivity of many plants.
- Plants Are Fucking Weird - A deeply funny study of the many strange and wonderful details of plant reproduction, analogized to some of the stranger aspects of human sexual behavior. Not for minors.
- Physiology and TTRPGs - An exploration of animal thermal acclimation physiology and behavior analogized to the mechanics of tabletop roleplaying games. Useful for elucidating what are sometimes difficult concepts in this field.
- I Am Become Fungus, Destroyer of Concepts - The story of how profoundly strange fungi are and how they defy many basic ideas about how life works from an animal perspective.
Unstick My Heart and Say You'll Write Me At Last: Turning that one persistent idea into a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Creative types often have odd moments of inspiration. We get an idea, but it's just a nugget, not enough to be anything all by itself. Whether it's a single line of dialogue, a scene without its setup, or one framed image, these ideas are powerful, but they can be hard to use. Writers often say “murder your darlings,” but I say, it's time to build around them the narrative support system they always needed. This workshop is about using associative memory to connect these nuggets of inspiration to broader themes, character motifs, and so on, so that you can finally write the stories that have been begging you to write them.
I would be delighted to go over what neuroqueer fiction is and how it can be existentially liberating to people for whom it is personal in a school setting. I've never given this much thought, though.