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Embracing Differences

  • Posted on August 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

It can be done.
I’ve seen it.
I’ve lived it.
It can be done!

Open your mind.
See who he is.
See what she brings.
Open your mind!

We can contribute.
We add value.
We add vision.
We can contribute!

We are here.
We live.
We love.
We are here!

It can be done.
Open the door.
Make the room.
It can be done!

Noise

  • Posted on March 2, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Constant churning purr soothes,
Drowning out the household sounds.
Concentration comes.

Chairs shake and rattle,
Elephant stomp their flurry, hurry.
Concentration wanes.

Sweet quiet, smooth as glass,
As slumber takes hold of the house.
Concentration comes.

Amongst the jubilant hands,
Grabbing for Mom’s careful tending.
Concentration wanes.

Nature’s song of birds,
Blowing winds among the trees.
Concentration comes.

Busy feet, buzzing phones, and
Random talk intrude, as I wait…
Concentration fails.

At Home in Autism

  • Posted on December 19, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Spinning body, flapping hands, autistic brain,
My sweet child: Different as gold from grain.
Desperately seek to understand today
How words once were, now gone, can stay.
Cuddle him: ridged and tight, he clings to me.
I need to know what to do to set him free!
Should I trust the doctors who tsk and say:
“It’s Autism locking that child away.”
Or are there poisons his body does accrue?
Do I look to hyped-up spin for answers true?
Is autism a prison, a snatcher, walls closing in
‘round the normal child trapped by sin?
Or is it a way to be different from you or me?
Does my son just grow, live and love autistically?
Some parents choose the path to cure in spite,
Rule and dominate with their superior might.
Others choose to love, nurture, and accept,
Their child—a person—without clause or except.
Should I struggle through information overload
Seeking to spin nourishing grain to gold?
Or should I give up the normal for the good and right?
Yes, spin and flap, sweet child—a beautiful sight.

The Mind’s Eye

  • Posted on January 21, 2011 at 8:26 PM

I am currently taking a course on writing poetry.  Writing poetry is how I gained my teachers’ interests in my writing ability when I was in grade school.  The first piece I had published for pay was a poem.  While I want to improve my understanding of poetry forms and improve my craft, I’m not under-confident in my ability to write poetry.

So, it was a surprise when I read the following passage from my textbook:

At the pedagogical heart of this book is the notion that no matter what kind of poetry anyone wishes to write (whether it’s free verse, narrative, formal, spoken word, ect.), a poet must paint a picture in the mind’s eye of the reader.

(The Mind’s Eye by Kevin Clark, 2008, pg. xii)

Furthermore, Kevin Clark relates imagery—a writing device used to evoke sensory experience in writing—directly to the experience of a mind’s eye.

You might be asking: What’s the big deal?

Well, to be entirely blunt, had I read a statement like that when I was in middle school, I would never have tried to write poetry.  Had I read it in high school or in the first five years after I graduated high school, I would never have written the poem that I had published.  Why?  Because my mind has no eye.  I don’t see images in my mind.  I cannot call up an image of my children’s face by mental will power, let alone imagine an image of something I’ve never seen. 

As this textbook is written, Kevin Clark assumes “the mind’s eye” is a universal experience.  It may be a common experience, but it’s not universal.  By relating the mind’s eye to effective imagery, he risks alienating anyone who doesn’t experience mental pictures.  Someone like me.

It is incorrect to assume that because I do not experience mental picture that I cannot this read, write, or evoke imagery.  Imagery is an important writing tool, but the mind’s eye is not the only way to experience it.  I don’t think in pictures; I think exclusively in words, emotions, and ideas.  Written imagery translates words into images in the mind’s eye; my mind requires no such translation.  Visual imagery, on the other hand, requires translation for me.  For example, impressionism is an artistic genre that I require translation to understand, and often cannot appreciate.

I’m sure I’ll find Kevin Clark’s book useful.  In fact, I already have.  However, there’s a risk of alienation when a person in authority assumes a common experience is universal, and then leaps to connect that common experience with the way to do something.  Clark made this mistake. 

I proved to myself I could write effective poetry before I ever read this book.  I also gained an understanding of myself as a neurodiverse individual, and have learned not to accept the limits others try to attribute to my abilities.  (Which is entirely different from recognizing and accepting my own limitations.) 

While Clark’s assumption will not alienate me from poetry, I worry that it might prevent others who experience sensory impressions the way I do from writing poetry.  I imagine that if I had been more vulnerable to the author’s influence—because I was less sure of my own potential—I might have foregone my poetic goals as unattainable.