Artistic Communication: An “Ausome” Thing
by N.I. Nicholson and V. Solomon Maday
“Morning has broken” for us at Barking Sycamores. Because we believe so strongly in the importance of neurodivergent artistic communication, we offer a medium by which neurodiverse poetic voices communicate inner thoughts, visions, and interpretations of ourselves and the world around us. And this, we think, is a very “ausome” thing.
Indeed, a new day is dawning. In the last few years, the goal in the world of autism has begun to shift from “awareness” — which has been a flawed message full of fallacies, misconceptions, and stereotypes — to acceptance, which promotes the idea that autism, ADHD, bipolar, and other similar states of being are simply valid neurological differences as opposed to disorders. But there is still much to be done — which is why Barking Sycamores is here. And our goal is a larger one shared with many other neurodiverse individuals and organizations — to pave the way from the acceptance of autism and other neurological differences to an understanding of them. To accomplish this, we have chosen the path of activism through art.
The truth is, we neurodivergent artists have always been here — the writers, visual artists, musicians, and more recently, the film makers. A very short list of creatives with neurodivergent traits from time past include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Vincent Van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Paul Robeson, Jim Morrison, Lewis Carroll, Kurt Cobain, and Hans Christian Andersen. Modern living neurodivergent artists include Adam Young of Owl City, Susan Boyle, singer/songwriter Rudy Simone, Daryl Hannah, singer/songwriter Travis Meeks (formerly of Days of the New), Robin Williams, and poet Tito Mukhopadhyay.
As for us neurodiverse writers, we are a a cadre of wordsmiths offering our songs and visions to the world — whether we sing of the glorious and divine, whether we sing “under torture” as Arthur Rimbaud put it, or we give voice to the colors in between. A few of these profoundly creative and “ausome” folk have been featured in our first issue.
Some poets are truth-tellers, distilling their observations and experiences into word-weaved visions.
“Some see a universe filled with a fierce beauty
that the ‘normal’ could never imagine”
“The One Who”, Amy Barlow Liberatore
Other poets offer a touch, a word, or a witness to our common humanity — and within these gifts to us, offer comfort as well.
“This poem dreams your original face
bears witness to all your struggles, your sorrows,
licks your tears everywhere they fall.”
“Poem to Change the World”, Barbara Ruth
Some poets challenge the reader to open uncommon doors and shift the lenses through which our cultures — our mores, stories, legends, and fictions — are viewed.
Of the senses inspired the creation of his own
Cypher, the stimming fingers, a calming mechanism, the silent
Knowledge of which only Watson witnesses.”
“A Sleuthian Acrostic”, Lucas Scheelk
And still others report of new worlds and cultural realities even as we humans are creating them.
“I step large through ghost worlds,
using my deus ex apparatus
to influence my peers at a distance,
a digital extension of Hamlet’s ghostly visitation.”
“Autocyborgography”, Michael Scott Monje, Jr.
We invite you to read our first issue, which is publishing right now. Many “ausome” poetic voices have been featured, and more are to come throughout the issue period. You will encounter visions of all kinds — the glorious, the painful, the real, the raw, the….us. We, the neurodiverse, are creating without apologies.
And we will never stop.
This post was shared by the editors for this year’s Autism Positivity 2014 flashblog event on April 30, 2014. If you want to participate, see here for instructions. You can also read other writings for the flashblog event here.