Original and modified mission
I really don’t want my blog to turn into a diary of my daily life. I must keep reminding myself of my original mission, which was to address all aspects of autism and mental health; my personal experience with autism as a sibling of a low functioning, autistic individual; family relationships, and related issues.
In November of 2013, I had a shift in focus and have been concentrating on self expression, particularly visual self expression. The artist whose work and teachings inspire me the most is Paul Klee. One of his famous quotes addresses my own aspirations: “Art does not reproduce the visible, but rather makes visible.” I would love to be able to make visible what is inside me. Perhaps what is inside me is something that transcends language – even the language of my thoughts. Klee insists that there is a linkage between the mind and the artist’s hand that allows him or her to ‘make visible’ what is inside.
Current direction – family relationships
Having the entire family at our house has been really wonderful. It is a living, dynamic mix of interrelationships. It also feeds my inner self and supplies me with feelings (for lack of a better word) to make visible. However, I also welcome the visible, tangible interactions. For no matter what my inner thoughts and feelings are, my (or anyone else’s) influence is exerted by what I do.
For example, my interviews with Sidra were concrete ways to interact with her in a meaningful ways (Being a New Sibling, Six Months Later, One Year Followup). I influenced her partly by making her aware of the relationship she has with her brother as well as with her parents. I’m sure she felt as if I listened to her and her concerns.
Why do I find it necessary to express inner feelings if my actions are more important than my thoughts? One obvious reason is, actions don’t tell the whole story. There can be a mix of feelings that result in a positive action. Also, family interactions may not always be a bed of roses (even though I am a grandparent), so inner feelings could express a wish at odds with the existing situation. It can get complicated.
Family is only part of the equation
Family relationships can be a major generator of both emotional turmoil and peace and comfort. However they are not the only source. Major existential questions always seem to be under the surface for me. I am not unique in the desire to express thoughts about my relationship to the rest of the world and to the universe, as evidenced by the untold volumes of philosophical treatises that have been written over thousands of years.
The beautiful part of the visual arts is, the artist doesn’t have to prove things in the same way as a logician or philosopher does. The artist does have to strive to make his or her art is an honest expression of an internal truth. The viewer has the opportunity to decipher this truth and learn another’s view of the world.