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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

In these past few years of my reading life, it has begun to occur to me that there are far too many words in the world. Paradoxically, I insist on adding more as I contemplate this idea. But there it is—the superfluity of words within nearly every book I open. So many pieces of writing must struggle to conform in length and quality of content, that they end up all sounding similar, repeating ideas, or fleshing out arguments that are already corpulent. Over-indulged. Excessive. Unnecessary, much like a convenience store on every other corner. I find myself skimming through books to find the meatiest tidbits. Why can’t we say much more with very much less? It seems to me that would be the most elegant way of getting a point across. I do want to throw my ideas out into the world, along with all the others; I don’t want to add to the glut of mediocrity that is contemporary literature. Not that I think that my ideas or expressions are in any way superior: I simply would like to find a short and poignant way of bringing them to the minds of others.

Poetry is a fantastic means of saying much with very little. But I am not confident that my poetry is, how do I say this—very good. And “poetry” is a word of such raging connotations, much like “vegan,” which can cause the average person to turn up their nose before they even give it a taste.

So how to reach an audience (it doesn’t have to be a large one) without blending in to the background before I even get a chance to speak? How can I get my words into other people’s heads?

Let’s try this: brevity; physicality; imagery.

I can combine short writing/poetry with craft and photography to create a visual conduit for my thoughts. The possibilities are staggering. In how many different ways can I leave a verbal mark on the physical world, document it, and then share it with anyone who might be interested to see? The physical nature might add gravity to the words I want to say. Elements of photography and imagery can add an element of mystery, by blurring out words, or adding context, etc. I really am excited to start this project. I feel as though it has so much potential. I can be serious or light-hearted. I can stretch my creativity within my chosen media. I can find clever ways to use new media to make an impression. I believe it was Jenny Holzer who created the truisms? I can emulate her style, using non-traditional ways to get people to look at my words, to remember them, to contemplate what they might mean.

A striking piece by Jenny Holzer

Consider how many times someone has said, “I wish I had that embroidered on a pillow.” It can be ironic. It can be controversial, even. It can be so many things, and I can’t wait to explore what all it can be.

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Obscura

And so it has been nearly three years since I last shared anything here. It hasn’t been an empty three years, by any means, nor one devoid of writing. I simply lost touch with my desire to be heard. Or to hope to be heard. To want anyone to want to hear.

And as the end of the year draws near, I find myself, like many others, looking back over the past several hundred days and measuring the growths and contemplating the achievements. And my greatest achievement, perhaps, within this past year is my self-identification as an autistic person. It is a realization that has rocked my foundations, and one I still grapple with on a daily basis. I am still in awe of the magnitude of my discovery, and I am grateful that it finally found me.

But while I see my experience of life through much different lenses now, it will not be a topic that I post about any more than others. This isn’t a blog about autism; this is a blog about me. All of the posts from the past twelve years are about my autism. All of my future posts will be, indirectly, about my autism. It is everything I am and everything I ever will be. And that is totally fine by me.

I remember a project I did while studying art in college. I was a senior year photography student, so we were basically allowed to do whatever we wanted and call it art. For this particular project I selected a blank sketchbook and began writing: all of my memories, starting from the first, and proceeding all the way up through my childhood years, trying to be as thorough and meticulous as possible. I believe I got somewhere through my seventh year of life in memories before the project was due and I had to move on to other things. But when it came time for the class critique, I simply sat on a chair in front of my classmates, with the book on my lap. I told them what I had written, and I told them that they were free to read it. But they had to ask me, specifically, to see it, and they had to hand it right back and not pass it off to anyone else. Only those who asked could see it. Surprisingly, there were a few who did ask, and it meant a lot to me. As for the others, they didn’t understand why I would go through so much trouble to create something and not share it more openly. I explained to them that it is because this is how I am. I am a closed book. Inside of me is a world of memories and thoughts and ideas and fascinations and fears, but I never offer any of that to anyone. You have to ask.

I didn’t say this or know it back then, but I would say it now: I don’t know how to share myself if you don’t ask me to.

Back then I would have thought of myself as a very open person: I would answer any question you asked me, no matter how personal. But again, back then, nobody was asking me any questions. I can only remember a few people from my art school years who I would have considered myself to be on friendly terms with. I didn’t know why, back then. Even now, twenty years later, I still struggle with my disconnection from my peers. I can’t tell you why, on a molecular level, I find it hard to put anything of myself out there. Even though I know that I have gotten better – a lot better – at doing it.

And I now know this better than I ever have before: my insides don’t match my outside. I am like a snow globe made with mirrored glass. From my vantage point inside it is all glitter and chaos and beauty and me, self-contained, doing my own thing and thinking this is all so neat and complicated and difficult, and aren’t all these other snow globes around me cool too? But those snow globes are clear, many of them. They are marveled at and appreciated and treasured because their beauty is so apparent. Whereas I, and others like me, are attractive only to those who are curious and willing to press their faces up close to the mirror to see what is going on behind it. And there is a lot going on behind it. And it is a glorious mess, let me tell you. And I am grateful for those who have been able to look past the mirror, because they have made it just a bit easier to want to be seen on the other side.

If you have been around long you may remember that my very first blog post in 2009 mentions my desire to start opening up more: becoming more vulnerable and letting my words be heard. I still lose touch with that sentiment from time to time, but it always comes back to me in one way or another. Writing is the one thing I can do that can give others a tiny glimpse into my inside– why not encourage that to happen more? Who knows: someone might actually see something they can appreciate.

You don’t have to ask, any more. But you are still more than welcome to.

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Today is the first anniversary of my Favorite Thing I Have Ever Done: purchasing my home. Having moved from place to place more times than I can remember, I am indescribably relieved to finally have a place where I can put down some serious roots. (And after having spent most of this sunny March afternoon out in the garden, I can say with confidence that the roots are coming along just fine.)

A year has passed and I find myself marveling at the newfound feeling of not having to wonder whether or not I will be in the same place for another season. In honor of the epic year behind us, and the many years and adventures to come, I’d like to share some of my favorite domestic scenes from our first year in our forever home. Here’s to flowers and sunny windows and snowy scenery and foster babies and beautiful sunsets and stacks of books and a house full of love. My Castle, my Fortress of Solitude, my Bliss Station: I hope I get to haunt you forever.

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You may or may not have noticed a couple of things around here lately:

1. My apparent absence, and

2. A brief change of layout followed by a return to the tried and true.

It’s true, I haven’t been blogging much this summer. Not because I’ve been absent, but because I haven’t felt much like sharing. Selfish, I know. But sometimes it just feels right to keep things to yourself and enjoy your thoughts and moments in private. Even blogging can be introverted sometimes.

I’ve also been fretting a bit over the format of the blog. After years of my favorite “theme,” as WordPress calls it, I switched to a new layout that I thought would make my photographs stand out more. It did, but at the entire cost of anything resembling an aesthetic type format. I have since realized my foolish ways and made a mad dash back to my good old trusty layout that just seems to fit like an old comfy shoe. In the interest of making an effort to write more (rather than just post pictures), I think it was a wise decision. And since a good relationship inevitably involves compromise, I incorporated a Flickr stream update to the right sidebar, to showcase my photography for those interested.

I’m quite comfortable with the results, and I look forward to being more diligent in updating you on my daily not-so-innermost thoughts and musings.

Happy blogging.

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