light

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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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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

sensory expedition

 

Lucy seemed restless this morning. She was lying in bed, watching me work at my desk, and suddenly did a little bounce and let out a mini yelp in my direction. I turned to look at her and she held my gaze, nodding her head, bounced again and made that same yelping sound. Lucy does that when she wants to communicate – she doesn’t bark at all in any other ‘normal doggy’ circumstances. When I first heard her bark, it was two months after she came to live with me, and out of the blue, one afternoon, she did that bounce + yelp thing, asking me to play with her. I’ve learned to recognise that. Continue reading

troll and roll

 

 

 

Social media is an amazing thing, really. Dissemination of information – false and true and somewhere in between – quicker than you can say your own name. It’s a great space for many people with disabilities to connect, sans the traditional barriers. Yet, it’s also a grand circus for explosive and nasty battles where humans exhibit their common human DNA, regardless of superficial differences. Continue reading

monachopsis

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Wriggling… awkward shifting, shuffling… navigating frothy nausea… think, dank fog…

How to craft Clement Space inside a constantly assaultive alienation? Minuscule foci. Small things. Split-second moments. Carpe diem! Each tiny aperture is a precious molecule.

Lucy.

Home-cooked nosh.

Friendship.

Music.

Art.

Goodness.

Kindness.

Droplets of mercy and grace notes of consideration, respect and gentleness. These all are Clement Spaces, in the midst of monachopsis.

clemency & space

 

This morning, I travelled across my little island home from the central region where I live, to the western coast, to the Yale-NUS College library to set up my miniature Clement Space in the City (revised, 2018) installation. It is an impressive campus, not for its size, as it is a small one, but for its compact superficial beauty. There is a sense of crafted tranquility in its manicured greenery, right in the middle of smart modern buildings. Meandering around clean, crisp corridors, trying to find my destination, I wonder about the lack of clear signposts. Is it a deliberate exercise in subtle exclusion, a quiet ‘hint’ to outsiders that we are not exactly warmly welcomed into this carefully constructed environment for the elite? I do not really know, but I did have the thought that Lucy would’ve loved a nice run around the green grass patches, though she’d probably create bald muddy holes in the wake of her greyhound strides. Then another thought following this one was, “Is this beauty something to merely behold, or can we actually use it, run around in it, hug the trees, roll in the manicured grass, laugh, flap, stim and lie on it?” Continue reading

crucial assistance

 

 

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Lucy came with me to the Arts & Disability International Conference today. It was a huge blessing to have her with me, well worth the small ‘inconveniences’, like having to take her outside for potty each time we had a break and thus missing out on food and beverage.

When we first arrived, I made the mistake of choosing to sit in a busy area where people were walking or wheeling back and forth, standing around chatting, and even striding over Lucy, who was laying on her mat next to me at my feet. The lights in the rooms were confronting, to say the least. Lucy took it all in with grace and quietude, and she kept a discreet whisker out for me all the time. I began to feel nervous and agitated from the constant noise, movement and frenetic energy buzzing round and round, and Lucy got up to indicate that we should move to a less busy spot. She led me to the far corner on the other side of the room, and we settled down comfortably there, until lunchtime. Continue reading

home cooked by experts

It is lovely to have good meals cooked at home by people who can whip up nosh better than I can. The icing on the cake is that I do not have to lift a finger, and no dishes to wash afterwards. Always look on the bright side of life. 🙂 It’s not always that my peculiar senses fully embrace the eclectic and sometimes strange (to me) tastes, but having that executive function taken care of so completely is a relief, and that makes the smells and tastes all the better, even the dishes I am not as keen on.

Merci Beaucoup! ❤