About bunnyhopscotch

Ph.D is done, Lucy and I need a new wheelbarrow... but we're still flipping pages of imagination, making splotches, humming in and out of tune, dancing around polyrhythmic-chromatic-pandiatonic mental fires, flying and falling, meandering in and out of discombobulation, gazing at pulchritude, picking up sound waves, stroking, caressing, embracing and learning new ways to see. What more could anyone wish for?

light

100T4710-lucy

Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

 

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Autism, masking and ageing. A personal view.

No better words than these. Thank you once again, Sonia! xo

The other side

Sonia Sketchng for Spirit of Beehive Recently at work in my studio – exploring images of childhood in film.

This post  is about both ageing and masking. Masking can be a difficult subject as some autistics can’t mask their autism, and those of us who can often wish we didn’t have to, and yet we may depend on masking to get by. Masking overall is not really a choice though in some circumstances we can chose to unmask ourselves. We may also just be unmasked by circumstances – and this can be deeply confusing and humiliating. It is both a relative privilege and a survival strategy. Yet however important masking can be in mediating aspects of autistic challenge in neuro-normative spaces it is also pernicious in it’s effects on us.

Revealing autism and unmasking are not entirely the same thing in my view – and this is worth pointing out. One of the difficulties we face…

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minutiae

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I love food. I love the aromas, textures, tastes, colours and visual compositions, not just the way food is presented, but the actual patterns and formations. Wrinkly crinkly chicken skin, taught and shiny tomato skin, curly edges of lettuce leaves, or scattered sesame seeds, food is endlessly fascinating to me in a multi sensory way.

Lately, I’ve been particularly enjoying the tiny details in everything I eat. Apart from spending time with my beloved Lucy, food, and all it encompasses – the sensory fullness and the activity –  is an excellent relief for stress and anxiety. My nifty little Fujifilm X100T (gifted to me by a very good friend) is fabulous for street photography, and not really the camera for portraits or close-ups of little things, but it’s a challenge that I welcome – with some hits and misses, and a great deal of satisfaction and fun.

ancient voices

Disabled by the ability to perform the Other, at expense to Self.

The more energies spent on perfecting performance as Other, the less strength left to exist in Self.

Self is dissipated, disengaged, and exhausted

Inside this space, this hollow interstice, Self becomes nothing.

Un-performing is desperately necessary, to peel away rigid, harsh layers of coarse fabric. It is a difficult process, even excruciatingly painful at times, because these binding cloths so tightly wound have melded into growing flesh. Stubbornly embedded foreign bodies, artificial corns and callouses interwoven. Which is artificial, which is nature now? Nobody can tell, not even the disabled Self. Yet, that longing for Being, that yearning for a clement space of empathic resonance and elemental connectivities, is so deeply entrenched in our spirits, the Ancient Voices of our nascent souls.

Survival is paramount. So the decapitated and maimed carry their appendages in glass bottles, like ancient Chinese eunuchs, cringing silently in grandiose palatial hallways, scuttling to and fro, agony hidden, even festering in gilded cages.

“Ancient Voices of the Children” by George Crumb is a haunting work, featuring selected poems by Federico García Lorca. When I first heard it at the age of 19, as a music undergraduate student at university, I fell deeply in love with the music and poetry. Even then, undiagnosed, it spoke to me with such cogent poignancy. Will the autistic soul ever truly find their lost voice? The King of the Crickets has commandeered it.

The Little Mute Boy

The little boy was looking for his voice.

(The king of the crickets had it.)

In a drop of water

the little boy was looking for his voice.

I do not want it for speaking with;

I will make a ring of it

so that he may wear my silence

on his little finger

In a drop of water

the little boy was looking for his voice.

(The captive voice, far away,

put on a cricket’s clothes.)

**

“Ballad of the Little Square”

My heart of silk is filled with lights,

with lost bells,

with lilies, and with bees,

and I will go very far,

farther than the seas,

close to the stars,

to ask Christ the Lord

to give me back

my ancient soul of a child.

 

Federico García Lorca – 1898-1936

the dilemma of trauma

 

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One week of excruciating physical pain. Stress reaction. A serious one. I was caught by surprise this time, I didn’t expect my body to react so viciously.

I was physically assaulted last Sunday. By someone I know. The person is very sorry to have caused me harm, and he has admitted to me it was a psychotic episode. I am psychologically and emotionally fine.

Last Sunday, I attended a theatre performance. I was standing outside the theatre, in a basement lobby teeming with chattering voices bouncing off pristine white walls, waiting for the show to begin, when a pre-show drama literally exploded in my face. Continue reading

Reluctant Advocate

Recent thoughts on art, disability and advocacy.

Dawn-joy Leong

I am not an “Autism Activist” – far from it – so, please do not call me that. Thank you. I do support the work of activists, it is a necessary force when things are woefully wrong and a great deal of vim and vigour is needed to create change for the better. It is just that my natural constitution does not fit well with the vivacity required for effective activism. Sometimes, though, I do engage in advocacy. Well, all right, quite often especially of late, but this is not what I deliberately set out to do. I am, first and foremost, an autistic researcher and multi-artist. Unpacking this further, my research interests include (but are not confined to) autism, autistic sensory idiosyncrasies, alternative and elemental empathic resonance, clement spaces of mind and body, and my material practice reflects this research, employing multiple artistic disciplines. I love my research and…

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chumbly

Sensory diary entry: I’ve been gravitating towards a certain texture of food lately. I find a sensory comfort and solace in it, a form of sensorial equilibrium unfolds and settles from inside out, while performing the delicious act. The Cantonese word for it is much more sensorially descriptive: 煙韌 yin ngan (jin1 ngan6). The term has two meanings in Cantonese. One refers to a slightly exaggerated, demonstrative, sweet intimacy between lovers, and the other describes the experiential texture of chewiness, in the act of ‘chumbling’ – I love that old fashioned word. There is a bounciness to this 煙韌 which I love, but I cannot find the appropriate English to do justice to the fulness of the sensation. You’ll have to chew on a 湯圓 stuffed rice ball, like a giant sago ball, or a Japanese mochi ball, to fully grasp the complete expression. A savoury version is the marinated mini octopus, Japanese style, though the octopus dish has less tensile ‘spring back’ in its bounce. Now, I’m hungry. Time to scuttle out for something chumbly.

bloviation & the sacrificial lamb

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bloviating babble bubbles

I learned this new word from my friend Rick. I like it. It has a robust movement to its physical form, flow and force. It sounds and feels like thick copious slimy globules arising from a pit of bubbling sludge. This word has a sensorial constitution that matches its meaning. Thank you, Rick!

“Bloviation” – such a proliferate and aggressively dominating activity in the field of Autism and Neurodiversity. Autism is a trendy topic these days, isn’t it? Everyone – from the housewife ‘AutismMom’ to the Professor in Psychiatry, and the outright quacks touting ‘cures’ and ‘healing touches’ mushrooming like unbridled viruses in between – seems to be dancing vigorously around the jolly campfire of Autism.The word makes me think of the many (I have lost count now, it is a long and wearying list) instances of having to silently endure protracted lectures, workshops, conversations, discussions, seminars, forums, conferences etc where non-autistic / neurotypical, so-called ‘experts in the field’ (with ‘decades of experience’ working with countless autistic persons, of course) blather on and on, expounding theories constructed out of little or no insights from actual lived-experiences, confidently spreading erroneous or inaccurate ideas and information, without due citations from progressive science or quoting from old and outdated studies, musing in hyped-up dramatic tones, and performing plastic rituals that ooze tokenism… Continue reading

#AutisticMotherhood Misrepresented

Autistic motherhood misrepresented in horrible ways by non-autistic male playwright. Once again, another hijack. No spoons for this myself, but thankful to the many autistic mothers speaking up. A beautiful piece by Sonia – an important read.

The other side

fullsizeoutput_4bd8 Work in Progress in the Studio © Sonia Boué 2018

I’m breaking a rule by writing about a play I haven’t read or seen, called The Big Things, by Mike Heath, which has recently stirred unease among autistic people, autistic mothers in particular.  The Big Things, is ostensibly about autistic motherhood but from what I hear this subject is never truly examined in the play.

Yes okay, I’m going on hearsay (from autistic women who’ve read the script and one who’s seen the play) but this is more than good enough for me. I feel I’ve given both playwright and production company (Kibo) more than enough of my time in the past few days.

Autistic motherhood, in contrast, is a subject I know intimately from the inside, unlike Mike Heath.

Mike Heath, and Kibo Productions have stumbled into a PR nightmare in taking on this subject (it seems) without…

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