Asperger Syndrome – Grappling and Grasping

Artwork by Linzi Lynn

Something I’ve often noticed about the way Asperger’s Syndrome impacts on my life is the disparity that it creates between my inability to speak or talk smoothly and freely to people in real life, compared with my ability to express myself clearly in writing.

Believe it or not I regularly forget the words I want to use when I’m talking to people face to face.

They simply seem to just escape me.

Like birds that have flown their coop and no amount of trying can retrieve them.

In moments like these I find myself gasping for breath and completely lost, as my inner panic at not being able to find the right words, envelopes me.

More often than not I end up stuttering or just stopping, awkwardly, half way through a sentence.

Trapped in a suspended silence, gazing solemnly at the floor, while my mind continues grasping for that which can no longer be found.

I’m sure at such times I must come across as being an absolutely dim-witted ‘weirdo’.

I guess this is also the reason why most people are surprised to discover that I have two degree’s.

I bet they wonder exactly which cereal box I found my degree’s in.

It’s also why my family insist that I “could be doing so much more with my life….if only I wanted to”.

Hmmm…. Yes…. Right…. Because of course I want to be completely tongue-tied and empty-headed whenever I’m speaking to another person.

I can never seem to make my family understand that I don’t want my words to escape me when I need them most.

Or that the loss of verbal ability I experience when trying to talk to someone, isn’t ‘just a matter of choice’ or ‘obstinacy’.

It’s a genuinely, real, experience.

Yet give me a keyboard and I’m perfectly fine.

I can write for hours and when I do, words just seem to flow out of me.

There’s no grasping or grappling furiously for a language that is no longer there.

There’s no effort, no strain, no awkward silences.

There is only the freedom of expression.

The freedom of being me.

Does anyone else experience this level of disparity between the things you can do in one medium, yet not in another?

Blogging – The Soft Power of Words

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As a blogger, I’ve always been aware that words hold their own unique form of power.

They can be used to up lift or destroy, to unite or divide, to enlighten or vilify anyone and everyone whose life experiences, customs, cultures of ways of being in this world may be different from our own.

Yet even knowing this, it has taken a long time to fully understand that words reach their most potent potential when, like us, they find that fine balance between no longer shouting to be heard or whispering too tentatively the simplest of truths.

 
It is only when words reach this level of softness that they stop being merely the dots and dashes of written language and instead begin transforming their symbolic meanings into the translatable, transferable and palpably understandable revelations, that carry along with them so much more than the literal representations of a reality so different from our own.

 
These are the words that sing to us so softly that we may not even notice their tunes until we find ourselves humming them.

 

For it is only after having read them, that we find our views have become somehow shifted.

 

Our thoughts dismantled and pieced back together in such a way that even we ourselves may initially be at a loss as to understand why or how we should find our perspectives so changed.

 
These are the words that don’t plant seeds but rather reveal to us the existence of somebody else’s garden.

 
A garden to which perhaps we were previously blind, yet now suddenly find that, not only can we see it, but that we can also begin to walk through it, if only in our minds.

 
These are the words that show us, without once ever telling us, what a character in a novel looks like within our minds eye.

 
These are the words that create the voices we hear, without ever once  actually hearing them, when we read.

 
These are the words that reach us, without once ever leaving the printed page.

 
These are the soft powers of words that as bloggers we try to embrace in order to communicate our lives, experiences and ways of being.

So to all who embrace and appreciate the soft power of words, long may they sing your songs and in so doing, bring back  to you the songs of others.

 

 

 

Welcome to Why

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In  the beginning it was just a game.

A silly little game of solitude that I played all on my own.

Until one day, it jumped up and took over my thoughts, in the wink of an eye.

I know, for it was my own eye, that winked it in.

You see, I love words, or rather I did, back when they were whole beings that orbited the planet of my thoughts.

They would fall off my tongue and fill the silence all about me with their pleasing tones and meanings.

Then why came along and I found myself struggling just to hold its tail.

I started saying the word why, over and over.

Again and again.

Just like any word when you  say it too many times, it stops being that word.

Its letters melt into each other until the sound of it no longer sits correctly on your tongue.

So foreign does the sound of it become to you, that you even begin to question whether or not you are even saying it properly.

Then along with the melting of letters and the dislocation of a words sound, comes the disintegration of its  meaning.

It no longer sounds the same, looks the same or even portrays the same ideal that it once held, back when you said it only once and knew, just knew, the nature of the word and all of its derivatives.

Well why is like that.

I started asking why?

Why this?

Why that?

Then I found I couldn’t stop.

Too late I realized my own mistake as all  of the answers I once smugly thought I knew tumbled out of the sky and rained down on me in a stream of incomprehensible noise.

I know it sounds absurd to say that you have been drowned by a lack of meaning, but there it is, that is what has happened to me.

The more I asked, the less I understood.

The less I understood the more I asked.

It has  become a disease in me.

This constant need to know WHY has stolen from me all of my once strongly held truths.

You see all that I am, or have ever been, was being pulled agonizingly apart in a string of whys?

So far apart that I found I no longer knew myself to be the person  I’d thought myself to be.

You see this endless asking has led me to a barren place.

A place in which the oasis of understanding  lies shimmering,  in the distance, leading me ever on, further away from myself and deeper into the desert of the unknown.

Am I a child at war with myself?

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I feel often as though I am in the wrong country.

That the language I have is incorrect and yet I do not know how to fix it.

There are no travel guides here and even if there were I wouldn’t be able to read them, for they’d be in that other language.

The one that I have lost.

Perhaps it is not my family that’s a country at war with itself .

Perhaps I am at war with myself?

Perhaps I am. Perhaps indeed I am.

With few parting words from my mother I was placed in the back of a car and driven for what felt like years away from the home that had held me captive for all that time.

My eyes grew tired from straining to take in all that there was to see.

My body ached and my head wanted to lay itself down and rest.

But there was no rest, not with the questions of why still racing through my mind.

Why was I going somewhere new and who would be there to greet me?

So I sat in the back.

Trying to blink in the colours of the deepening sky and the sparse trees that doubled in number and then grew into a forest of greenery the longer we travelled.

All those colours clashed and collided inside of my head.

I tried in vain, to count the number of guideposts that it took to get there, in case I should not like it and wished to return back to my other home.

But there were too many and they flew by my eyes like hail.

Hard,

White,

Upright splinters

Fencing me in,

In a pen of their choosing.

I must have been asleep by the time we arrived. I remember nothing of entering my new home but rather I simply woke up in a new room with a translucent stranger hovering over me.

The figure smiled. ‘My name is Vonnie and I’m going to help you settle in and show you around. How would you like that?’

I must have smiled for she nodded her head at me.

Vonnie helped me up and showed me where the bathrooms were. I clutched my small bag of belongings to me as I scurried off to wash myself clean of the sins of reading .

For was that not what had gotten me into this mess in the first place?

My love of books?

To my mind at the time the answer was quite obviously yes.

I was there, in that very place, for that very reason.

I was being punished, once again, for loving beyond apparent reason,  that which others did not,  comprehend.

Childhood Taken Out Of Context And Transationally Lost.

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Some days being in my family felt like living in a country constantly at war with itself .

The bomb shells of my father’s yelling.

The shrilling peel of my mother’s crying and the thudding of a million doors slamming  that always made me jump.

And the way my father’s voice boomed too loudly at me as he stood in my doorway and told me that ‘after Christmas things would change’.

Change?

Like spare change?

As in money, I thought.

He must have meant that we’d be getting more money I reasoned.

We didn’t get more money.

Instead what I remember most about Christmas that year was my growing sense of displacement.

It was not anything new to me for I had always felt that way about Christmas.

But this year I expected more, for with more money, I expected books. At last. Finally.

Every year, in that house at Christmas, with my pseudo mother and pseudo father, I’d always wanted books and I’d always got clothes or a school bag, but never any books.

Yet this Christmas, despite my expectations, still, there were no books

So I stayed alone in my room.

Just me and the walls.

The walls and me.

It was an ordinary day.

It came.

It went.

Like so many other days in that house.

On boxing day my pseudo parents came into my room and told me that they’d finally decided what was best for me.

I was to be sent to a home in the country.

It sounded nice.

‘What country?’ I asked them.

They stared at me.

I was used to being stared at. That didn’t bother me.

What bothered me was not getting the answer to my question.

How am I to know what country I am in if I am not told?

Their responses made me feel as though I were an ancient text that had been translated wrongly.

Just a few symbols out-of-place here and there and the meaning of everything changed all around me.

Do you see yet how easily I have been taken out of context and slotted neatly back in where other people would prefer me to be?

Or perhaps it is the other way around?

Perhaps it is not I who has been lost in translation but rather  the world around me that has been placed out of the reach of its own meaning.

Language of the Soul….. Part 2

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Living and dreaming,

Beneath our seams,

Words help us,

To make sense,

Of the differences,

Between,

The inner and the outer,

Being.

Reconciling the clash,

Between,

The seen and the seemed,

 This is why,

Words seem to dance,

And to thrive,

On the tongues,

Of all poets,

Who willingly feed us,

Food for more,

Than just thought.

Gently building upon our appetites,

While encouraging us to swallow,

And to savour,

All of our experiences,

Not just within the safety,

Of our own piecemeal,

Understandings,

But openly and knowingly,

As individuals,

Caught within a whole.

Those  who dine on knowledge,

Know,

That words are more,

Than just expressions,

They are the language,

Of the  soul.

 

Families -It’s hard to get the lions share when the lion’s never there.An Aspie Wondering What Could Have Been……..

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Growing up as a child, I don’t remember my parents particularly taking much interest in me.

I know I certainly never felt like they were paying any attention, positive or otherwise, to me.

They never seemed to notice any of my good qualities or encourage me to excel in any areas of interest.

In fact , more often than not, they hurled criticism at me for being a “lazy book worn” rather than recognizing my early  love  of reading and writing  as skills  in which  (apparently unbeknownst to them) I excelled.

I, like many others of my ilk, have more than a few not so pleasant memories of growing up and I guess that most  everyone would have at least the odd one or two that develop on into adult bug bears.

Yet for me, it seems somehow as if all of my not so pleasant memories are more than mere momentary apparitions.

More than just the odd entities of past thoughts that rise up and envelope me whenever someone says ‘oh do you remember that time when we were kids?”

Instead they live and breathe inside of me.

My way of absorbing the world it seems, has etched them, into my very skin.

Turning them from the old long forgotten fiends that others so easily bury, into the constant companions that urge me to consider,….

What if?……

What if things had been different?????

What if, instead of discouraging me, my parents had taught me that words have value and that poetry can be powerful ?

That writing is a skill worthy of being worked on, understood and  nurtured, not ridiculed, forgotten and tossed to easily in the trash ?

For years and years  I assumed that  the way I’d taken in  my parents general lack of awareness of me, my hopes, my joys and my concerns, had all been part and parcel of my being the middle child.

I also assumed that the way I’d memorized and catalogued my extensive list of childhood grievances’ was something that every child did.

And that other children somehow  magically managed to forget about  such lists when the throes of adulthood struck them.

I’ve always wondered why it is that I’ve never been able to master this trick of forgetting all but the most extreme  agonies of childhood the way that others do.

For I know that other people can do this because it is what I’ve watched my sister do as she squashed down and then destroyed her dream of becoming a singer.

She had, in her teenage years, one of the most amazingly brilliant singing voices I’ve ever heard come out of another human being.

No I’m not talking about the sort of voice that occasionally earns you the title of “Rock Star” on Sing Star, but the kind of voice that makes people stop whatever it is they are doing and look up for its source.

Yes, she was that good.

Indeed some of my happiest childhood memories are of sitting outside our bedroom door (being younger I was always locked out of  the room whenever she was in residence) and listening to her belt out the latest Abba or Smokey songs.

She had a gift  but my parents weren’t interested in acknowledging, encouraging  or even remotely helping  her, to develop it.

No singing lessons, no accolades or applause for her performances within school choirs, nothing at all.

Yet despite this, when she was 16 (and all without the help of things like the YouTube of today), she was asked to audition as the lead singer for a local  well-known band.

For my sister to have even been asked was high praise and serious recognition of her talent indeed.

But my parents told her that it would be a waste of  time for her to even try as it would lead no-where.

Plus, they told her, they  weren’t going to waste their time driving her to and from rehearsals when they were sure that she’d never find the nerve to actually stand up on stage and sing in front of other people.

Music was a dead-end street.

That’s it.

Full stop.

Doubt firmly cemented into place.

All dreams of being a singer effectively squashed.

Sad to say, but when it came to the tactic of ignoring their children’s gifts, my parents it seemed, were equal opportunity employers.

Never the less, that didn’t stop me from feeling as a child, that my sister had always gotten the lion’s share of their attention.

As an adult, I know now, that it’s not true.

None of us had gotten the lion’s share of attention.

For there was no lion and no attention to share.

My sister now shrugs her ‘could have been’  moment in the singing spot light off with a sardonic laugh.

But  me……?

I can’t help wondering what we could have been…..

If……

For more than one passing second……

Our parents had given us just a modicum of acknowledgment, support, encouragement or even just the vaguest sense of hope that maybe one day, it could be possible for us to achieve our dreams.

 

Publishing A Novel on WordPress…..

I’m considering publishing the novel I’ve been working away at here on WordPress.

The question is of course; Is this a good idea?

What are the benefits and pitfalls of publishing an original work so openly?

I’ve read a few good blogs bestowing both the joys and the sorrows of engaging in on-line open publishing but as yet none have come right out and said, one way or the other, whether or not it’s worth doing.

On the up side, I suppose, there’s always the off-chance that someone will read it and enjoy it. That’s more than I can say for my other 3 novels, which remain to this day, securely secluded in the bottom of my draw.

On the down side, there’s the rather strong possibility that someone will read it, decide that  it’s absolute rubbish and tell me so.

Then of course, there’s the whole issue of copyright.

As we all know, nothing is considered either sacred nor secure, once published on the Internet.

Then again, issues of copyright would really only come into play if one really feels their work has a snowball’s chance in Hell of being published any other way.

In my case I’m so far from being convinced that my words are worth stealing it’s not that much of an issue for me.

So what are the issues?

I guess it’s more the idea that someone could adapt (notice I avoided the word steal)  my topic / plot line and turn it into something really good. Without me.

Or is that just another one of those silly little fears that everyone has but very few are unfortunate enough to experience?

Have any of you ever published a novel on-line?

If so what would you recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing is it an Art Or a Craft? Acting is it an Art or a Craft?

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Art –  Creating an original piece of work.

Craft – Adapting that which has already been created in a uniquely personal form.

I am, as some of you are aware, a very literal person.  So when someone suggests an understanding of the world that does not ring true to me, I tend to hold it up to the light of examination in order to try and figure out why it is I view things in a different way.

In this case the topic under examination is whether or not writing and acting should be considered arts or  crafts.

To me, writers are artists.

They create pictures with words.

Transforming a blank page from a piece of paper into a previously undiscovered world.

Populated with newly created characters.

But what of actors?

They too use words to create characters,

But are those word pictures their own?

Are they artists, in the sense that they create something new with their adaptations of the words of others?

Or are they crafts people adapting the words they’ve been given in order to produce a uniquely personal interpretation of a writer’s art?

Is writing an art and acting the craft of bringing the written word to life?

Or are they both one in the same thing?

Art or Craft?

What do you think?