I’m talking about artistic process, here. Maybe this is a mis-characterization of my ‘brother project’, but I don’t really think so. In art, like science, the artist/scientist is trying to understand something. I am trying to understand my autistic brother.
Actions speak louder than words, but words  are necessary
My mother always told me that it is ok to think as many bad thoughts as I had, as long as I did not do bad things. Thank you, Mom, that is very good advice and has been helpful to me as a mechanism for refining my ideas. By definition, a self-imposed gag on a portion of one’s thoughts closes an avenue of thinking. If something makes a person angry, the person should let angry thoughts flow. This is an honest, perhaps reflex, reaction. If one doesn’t admit to an angry feeling, and ‘short circuits’ such a feeling into a ‘more acceptable’ thought, some honesty is lost. Taking action on a feeling is another matter. Certain actions are not acceptable.
Thoughts of a sibling
Thinking bad thoughts about a loved one can be particularly troubling. Especially, bad thoughts about a sibling who is beyond understanding. As honest as it may be, the sentimental among us would say, “But he’s your brother, how could you?” To that I say, “I’m a human being as well, and that is honestly what I think.”
The saying that liars must have excellent memories comes to mind here: If I’m faced with being told how I should feel, when I don’t feel that way, I would be lying to myself if I forced myself to feel differently. I’d have to have a good memory for what I should feel in different situations. Since I have a poor memory, or more likely, since I am too lazy to expend the effort in subverting my feelings, I acknowledge whatever bad feelings I have. I think this is a very important lesson to learn.
Problems with this approach
I’ve perfected the approach of being able to think whatever I like, while continuing to do good deeds. Long ago, I rejected the idea that negative energy is some kind of karma that radiates into the universe as a wave radiates away from a stone thrown into a lake. On the other hand, there is something to be said for trying to attain a positive mindset. My self-protective, ever-vigilant stance I assumed while growing up did protect me very well; it also insulated and isolated me. I think I neglected to allow myself to acknowledge many of the good feelings I had.
For me, good feelings come from figuring something out; by expressing something to the world that accurately portrays my inner state; by discovering how something works; by helping another person with his or her problem; by successfully explaining something to someone, thereby contributing to their ‘AHA!’ moment.
Below is a ‘thought sheet’ I put together, with many different ideas about my brother. Sketches like this are the underpinnings of my process.
 I would modify this by saying ‘language’ is necessary for communication; perhaps images, sounds or other components that embody ideas that can be strung together, in place of words, with some kind of syntax, is equivalent to language.
This is a profound task you have set yourself. The challenge of exploring your own reactions to your brother alone – in the face of society’s assumptions that you have to feel only love – is quite remarkable. I love the way you are using pieces of writing, imagery, and other material as part of the exploration.
Thank you again for your kind words, W.U.. For me, juxtaposition of images, words, drawings, and anything else I can think of, is a way to process. Sometimes, what I see provides visual feedback to my ‘language mind’, and sometimes it’s the other way around. It is really a trip re-visiting old writings. Some things change and some don’t. Interesting to investigate which is which, and ponder why.