Category Archives: Senses

The fewer the thoughts, the greater they weigh. It’s the nature of remembering & the autistic brain…

Moments aren’t for defining; they are to be put to song—

Instrumentals…

IMG_2445I was just lying there, stewing somewhat— having had a Shanghai of a day, cat in toe by my face most of it, swinging-low. She kept me working from the cave today but anywise.

I was flicking through some menus and films thinking; but at the same time, weighing things over and over quite involuntarily— things that weigh more, the fewer of them you have.

One of them was an idea I had some time ago for a clock, that would no doubt cause its owner endless torment with the perverse manner in which it kept time. But it’s in their nature: it just so happens to be what they do— because they’re secretive. It’s also the nature of remembrance, that the only function it serves is to remind us of other things— which is why, as we grow older— we tell each other stories in the hope they will remind us of other stories.

It’s as fitting an analogy as I am prepared to make to the autistic brain today, short of explaining the mechanisms of the clock. Remembrance is not an uncomplicated process. It’s a voluntary act dependant on a series of involuntary recalls. There may be a degree of summons, but like the cat this morning, there is a powerlessness to affect what happens next.

I’m reminded of an early Latin text— one of the earliest and funniest extant, as it were— written in or around the first century, so I wasn’t around at the time to comment as to the prevalence of what it describes. The truth is, I care only to recall but bits of it, and one of them concerns a water clock in a dining room, with a trumpeter, whose only function was to announce the time, so at any time, the clocks owner would know precisely how much of his life he had lost. Make a note, because I’ll be returning to this observation another time.

In turn, I was reminded of several observations made by friends over the years: that by and large I keep my thoughts about my person, and they are at times saddened I do not, cannot or wiln’t share them. I’ve been criticised for it a number of times; my thoughts it seems, are worth more than dust or my company— and regardless of the humour involved in such comments, they always leave me bound to a curiosity I either do not or cannot explain. You could argue then, that by doing so, you make a case for saying you can measure whatever life you’ve had, you’ve lost— by the measure of whatever life you’ve failed to share.

Rough notes as they are, capsulise the multiple ironies therein: life lost incorporates everything; it’s an imperious semantic field from which, not even thought can escape. It is for all intents and purposes infinite, but yet there was once a man with a leaky pot and a trumpet attempting to measure it; to share the thought: that I don’t readily share my thoughts is awkward to validate in as far as you must do one to do the other— and in order to remember it, I had to think of other things— while lying there— stewing somewhat.

It’s funny; it can take as long as an hour to capture the essence of a moment in order to share it. It’s not something I find displeasing— it just reinforces, on a personal note— how powerful the implications are of such generosity. Most people will never work it out; because it’s not in their nature; they are unfortunately, not enough like clocks.

So the next time you ask yourself, where it was you think that you last saw your glasses and are startled by the response— be sure to take another note, that it’s time to re-examine the events leading up to it. If however the response is along the lines of, I don’t know where they are but I heard them land a moment before catching a satisfied glimmer, only to see them perched exactly where you left them.

Ask yourself this:

What then was it you think, that you heard land?

*tick*

Safety in Number?

It is the lone worker who makes the first advance in a subject—

And there can be only one…

IMG_5572 800The girl who read expressions lessened her eyes to fingertips; closed hers and found his lips. She found them wanting she decided, but found hers dry. The girl who read movements loosened her shirt, her neck released, showed her heart still beats and found sweetly his within her hands. And with him inside little sounds, took him down, letting go the mouth she found and crowned— herself the girl who took a look aside the skin she tried to use to hide, was left there shaking, an aching-like play-thing made believe. She was not petrified…

Pleasure.

I can’t decide sometimes, whether or not my mother thinks she’s living in a sitcom…

The secret to humour is surprise.

Aristotle

27977_450287781040_191932_nA moot point perhaps, but oblivious in this case to the signifiers that make the ‘everyday’ flow seamlessly from one interaction to the other; if they weren’t, you’d find yourself hopping madly all day. Whatever it may be, obvious, deliberate, debatable, moot? A couple of years ago my mother discovered a reservoir of previously untapped ‘ridiculous’. It’d become, after a fractious few years— a pleasure spending time with her, if not for the first time— but the first time in a long time. She’d seemed to be a little more understanding and accepting of my foibles, and I of them, which makes all the difference in the world. It helps relieve a little of the ‘complicated’. The fact that my mother’d discovered comedy and was making me snort on a regular basis was merely a bonus.

But this is irrelevant, a long-winded introduction and steady build up leading to a crescendo of noise— which is not entirely bunkum as it happens. It’s a story involving balloons…

My nephew loves balloons, especially the kind that when released, fly around exulting a harrowing scream, flitter then drop excitedly with one good spasm before expiring. Louis and I had been synchronising the take-offs of them all morning, much to the delight of the little man and thought what a wonderful idea it would be to release even more. Amz was on her laptop, but my mother was hands-free…

So Louis and I filled some balloons, gave them to her and instructed her that under no circumstances was she to release them. Even now, I feel as though I should’ve added something.

Anyway, Louis and I expended what little breath we had left into the remaining balloons and poised at the ready. The scene was to be spectacular; six whirling tubes of shrill screech, dancing unpredictably towards an enthusiastic death-knell. However, I failed to entertain the one element of unpredictability.

‘Ready,’ I said, ‘on one . Three… two… one… release…release…release!’

Louis and I had a successful launches. But my mother held firm. Even upon the final release! Even though the room was filled with the sound of screaming babies Even though the launch command had become a desperate, personal plea for her to relinquish her grip…

‘Why the bloody hell didn’t you launch? We’ve just done this ten times … at what point did you not think I was talking to you?’ A reasonable question in the circumstances I thought.

‘Because,’ she said, ‘you told me that under no circumstances was I to release them.’

Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled…

Horace

Not unlike those sodding balloons!

Just a little background: noise & biography…

Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.

Bertolt Brecht

iuI read that and instinctly think cats. That’s biography.

I am fascinated by the heroic age of Antarctic expedition, history, education, great sex, openness, cats, cameras; the space race; sentence-structure, lexis, discourse conventions and phatic communication; cinema; the sounds of cricket and its numbers; golf swings, sortes, piropo, productivity, logical fallacies; fagottists— which leads to the double-o phoneme and coda-less syllables; falderals, nonsense; nanism— my fear of developing it and albino-clowns who already have. Ironing, long-sleeves, compound swearing, yellow pads, yoof-speak and linguistic representations— meh. Books, tea, science, feets, unnecessary plurals and corrugated-cardboard to name but a few.

It’s a pointless list because there isn’t much I’m not interested in. I like the feeling of insignificance in knowing how little I know; and how each little thing helps me know what I already know a little better.

And I still don’t know what this makes me, but it kind of works like this:

Perhaps it just makes me English since ‘England is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity … hobbies and humors.’1 Quite whether the world thinks we are small or great, but such is the context of opinion. Goethe wrote that, ‘people of uncommon abilities generally fall into eccentricities when their sphere of life is not adequate to their abilities.’ Well spheres be damned as, ‘No one can be profoundly original who does not avoid eccentricity.’2 But to what end is thought’d: ‘eccentricity in small things [is] crazy’3 and though it ‘destroys reason, [it does] not [the] wit?’4

All I’m really trying to do here is to show a little of what it’s like to be autistic— from the ground up I’ve taken my traits and applied them to certain functions within the texts: from word orders and word types, semantic variances, repetitions and rhetorical devices— even archaic syntax to the very deliberate structure I use to present things. It’s not always easy to read and it’s not meant to be, It’s supposed to be a little overwhelming at times and take the reader in circles— but it’s a desirable difficulty designed to stimulate a little over-processing, in the same way real life does to me. It’s the only way I know how to present what it’s like to me: to demonstrate it, not write about it— especially when there are a million people out there able to just describe it so much better.

I was going to just post the blueprint, but thought the meta-language would just make it pointless— like the list…

I’m not just a linguist or educator or golfer or cricket fanatic or autistic or anything for that matter—

I’m just curious…

And I guess lists should be conspiculous by its absense, but it’s really not…

1 George Santayana
2 André Maurois
3 Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
4 Nathaniel Emmons

Senses & Nonsenses…

One’s real life is so often the life one does not lead…

Oscar Wilde

IMG_0013Such are the senses, that we have more than five and fewer than six. Try tasting something without seeing it for instance; it almost always tastes like something other than what it’s supposed to and rarely anything other than chicken; listen to someone speak without seeing their mouths move or those unusual sounds that keep you awake at night when you’re trying to sleep that never turn out to be two thousand pound mice and you’ll forever be in that darkness— or even tasting something without smelling it and so on and so forth. Life is so much more than it appears to be, though it’s little more than it actually ever is. Unless of course, there is such a thing a two thousand pound mouse or you really were asked to shake and squeeze the band which gave King Tut its mildew…

My real life is far cry from the award winning, affluent, multi-faceted and admired jaunt and jolly through which my other self is no doubt enjoying somewhere where the senses are better understood and household pets and rodents are disproportionately large; but that’s not to say I’ll ever be to old to be everything I could have been-or too small for Autumn to call me sweetheart.

It puts me in mind somewhat rather of him— S; a splendid chap and so was his wife— K. At least she was when I knew her. She was smart too, in that sensible way that can get up the noses of people who try to sit down to quickly wearing tight pants, smoking whilst owning chest complaints and the intolerably foolish doing well, anything. She could and would point out the obvious with a style and punctuation, few of us would or could even dream about. I remember one such occasion at college, when she was trying to persuade S to disband one of his pro-radical movements— he liked to use meaningless compound phrases in those days— retro-activist-avist was his favourite— he said that it left dangling inferences suggesting guile and determination. K said it left an unpleasant odour in the air and a salty taste in her mouth whenever he said it. Her favourite saying on the other hand was, What’s with the finger E.T.? They were a charming bunch.

Anyway, he claimed the campus anti-everything lobby weren’t doing enough complaining about things that didn’t matter to anyone, so he founded the double A. E. B. The Anti-Anti-Everything Brigade, to which K merely pointed out that its tautology gave it ’all the noise of a harmless educational committee. Trying to point out the pointlessness of rebellion in the civilised world— is rather like an unwanted splinter’ she meant this quite literally; ‘a forgotten part of the Nation Union of Teachers perhaps’ she fancied, and besides, wasn’t it dishonest describing himself as a brigade, especially since he hadn‘t persuaded anyone else in actually joining him; that to disband an army of one was something that ‘reality just wouldn’t allow’ and perhaps he should try doing something useful instead like, drawing up a petition against himself and joining the N.U.T., ‘allergies allowing of course’, maintaining that she had read somewhere that ‘at least education had an ethos…’

S had missed the train again. It was the third time in as many days and he was starting to take the whole thing very personally. He wouldn’t have minded had it not been for the decrepit old fool in front of him who insisted on buying his ticket with an exact change he couldn’t really see; unless demonstrating the ability to distinguish the denomination of a coin by rubbing them against his eyeball counted as seeing.

As for me,I have a new cafeteria— reward for installing a utility next door, which brings me to my last point in a pointless exercise…

If you ask for and are expecting a cup of tea— but are given a mug of coffee instead…

It doesn’t taste well, and quite unlike either.