Struggling to Understand an Over-Politicized Nation

Struggling to Understand an Over-Politicized Nation

Image
My grandfather holding the flag at the very first Flag Day. An Italian immigrant, he loved being an American.

I do not usually talk about politics, but I find myself in a precarious position today. Many issues we face as humans have somehow become political, when they are ethical, personal, or simply in regard to human survival. I believe these issues are; the arts, the environment, education, and health. We as a society seem to have lost the ability to discuss these particular topics, without a party slogan, and without thinking that there are only two sides to every issue – Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat. My feelings on human issues that have been politicized deepened today when an article dropped in my news box about the new open carry law in Georgia.  Though I am a pacifist, I have remained respectful that others do not see the world the same way I do, understanding that guns to some are essential to their way of life. I do not understand why the freedom to own was not enough and that we must have the freedom to be battle-ready at all times, in any place.  I feel this new law leaves the political arena, and imposes itself on the health and well-being of others (health being one of the issues I feel is a human issue).  My fear of co-existing in a state I have called home for 37 years has increased exponentially with this law, filling me with anxiety.  After a 10 year hiatus, I even experienced a night terror this week.

This feeling about the new gun law poked at my thoughts and feelings on the other issues that have been politicized.  Issues that have been tortured in the political arena, to the point that the issue itself is obscured by a party stance. It made me think about how politicization has perhaps suffocated the arts (especially in education), turned schools into testing labs, allowed us to blatantly pollute our world, and further restricted healthcare to poor Americans just to express ones opposition of the Affordable Healthcare Act. While many people are stepping onto the shores of anarchy, I ask: What is it you wish to accomplish? Are we really fighting to defend a way of life that allows all citizens to be created equal? Are we making history of which future generations will be proud?  Are we loving our neighbor?

It is in this moment that my autism stands like a stark, cold edifice in the center of my mind.  I get overrun with feelings that conflict with my logic – How is it I can love humanity so deeply while simultaneously being highly annoyed by people?  I cannot understand why society spends millions upon millions of dollars searching for a way to cure me, labeling me as lacking empathy, while they who cast this upon the ASD population are drowning in their own opposition to anything that does not benefit only them.  Is that not the very definition of apathy?

The world whispers to me in beautiful waves of sound.  The music of the human soul, and the music of the earth’s soul in harmonious counterpoint, express an amazing love for one another.  But people are growing increasingly deaf to this musical dance in exchange for the cacophony of human discord.  And to what end?  What we create here on earth we cannot take with us beyond the grave, so why only serve ourselves?  Besides, the only thing we can really do for ourselves is create memories of us in the minds of others.  We cannot control our death.  All else we do is for others – for humans, for animals, for trees, all life in and beyond our immediate scope – doing for them by way of generosity, love, and the types of innovation that leave a better world than was left by our ancestors. Perhaps I am being over analytical, and I do realize that my honesty here has made me a target for a lashing by those who oppose what I value.  I suppose I will have to just accept that.

I will keep my autism and carry it with me forever, as I would rather live this life misunderstood and tyrannized, than to waste my life pursuing an illusory need to be justified.  I will sing.  I will dance.  I will love others.  I just won’t be so quiet about it anymore.

The Perfect Life

The Perfect Life

Often I have been asked, by conference attendees who come to hear me speak, what I want out of life.  People are curious if my future includes people, independence, and decadence, or a scary isolated existence.  Not that there is anything wrong with living alone, but I do believe most people are shocked when I say “I prefer to live with someone.”

Money continues to be a large reason why I still am not where I want to be, only because we live in a society where access to money is necessary to live.  I’ve tried not to dwell on that too much, and instead try to enjoy each dollar to its furthest reach.  I don’t need millions, I just need enough.  Still, I think there is no harm in dreaming.  It helps us set goals, and is generated from that inner desire to see the word for all its good rather than the bad.  As I have said before, dreaming is the conceptual art of the inner self.

Assuming money is no object, and my life work blossomed just as I had hoped, then what is the perfect life for me?

I love the ocean.  I would want to be as close to the ocean as I could get, ideally in California, though any warm climate ocean town would be acceptable.  The beach at my back door, or at least in walking distance so I could view the waves anytime I needed to be calm.  My plot of land would be the smallest I could possibly have that would allow for my home to fit snugly.  My home would be a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian style home, possibly like the Jacob’s house or the Goetsch-Winckler Usonian house.  It would have to have three bedrooms, even after my kids move on, because I would want my children to always have a room to stay in anytime they wish to come home.  Being environmentally conscious, I would love to fit the home with solar panels, and use led lighting. The wonderful thing about FLW homes is all the natural light.  My studio would be in home, where I could record, write, and create on my own.

Image

I’d love to own a Jeep, though I’d love to convert it to a no emission vehicle.  Hopefully, my home would be located in a place where bicycle, walking, or public transit would be sufficient.  I would spend time in town people watching, meeting locals, and learning about the world in which we live.  I would be the owner of an arts school that uses a teaching approach comprised of unconditional love, open to people of all learning types, and offered the most open scholarship program in the US, making sure that even the poorest of students can learn to play an instrument.

Given that my dream means that my financial needs are covered, I would donate most of my free time to helping public and private schools create disability friendly schools with integrated classrooms.  I want the next generation to grow up believing they fit into this world just as much as anyone else.

My perfect life would also include a not-so-perfect someone to live and to share the beauty of life with.  He wouldn’t need to share my interests or be anything like me, just simply be my counterpoint.  You see, to me, love is not like harmony, but really is more like counterpoint.  In music, a harmony supports the melody but is usually secondary to it.  Counterpoint is when two equal melodies are played together to create a complex and intricate sound.  They sound good together, oscillating between supporting the other melody and leading it.  Sometimes the two melodies even argue, but they always resolve in the end.  To me, counterpoint is love.

My perfect life has no specific goals or ambitions for my children.  I would simply just support what ever goals and ambitions they have for themselves, even if I struggled to see it clearly.  Just because we are forever tied together by DNA and by unconditional love, doesn’t mean I have any right or entitlement to insert myself into my children’s picture of their own future.  I must be invited by my children, and continue to love them even if I am not invited.

Finally, my perfect life would leave behind a story that could inspire others, even if it is just one other.  Pain sometimes needs to be shared, so others do not feel alone in theirs.  Yet, beyond that we should freely give away parts of our triumph, not to our own detriment, but in healthy amounts so as to show others that it does in fact get better.  If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then be the spoonful of sugar.

There is not much more to a perfect life for me.  Seeing new places in the world is always welcome, and I do hope to travel as a speaker to places outside my home country.  It really is just that calm stability that comes with accomplishment that I seek.

Farewell Catarina, Farewell to Love

As I am a creature of patterns, though there is a vast difference between patterns and repetitious outcomes that slap me in the face. Despite my prodigious optimism, to see past persistant repetitious outcomes, I am mourning the reality that one particular area of my life may be settled into a pattern opposite of what I desire. The area of romantic love.

Despite my best efforts, it occurs to me that the universe has somehow thrust into me a desire to fall in love, but had been too busy to put me in love’s reach. The passion in me feels effervescent, pushing through to the surface, and translated into tender movements that none desire of me, at least not for any reason past their own selfish sensations. It’s as if I am a flower that some desire to watch bloom, but do not wish to wallow in the scent.

I am doused with confusion. Why is the world from which I hear such sweet melodies, filled with such paltry moments? When it comes to love, are people purposefully disguised as mirages?

I fear that my writings of my youth are all too insightful. Perhaps it was insight, not naivety, that led my pen to create Catarina, a girl who thought that her love for music was so great, she would never feel the arms of romantic love.

As I write this, I realize I have no clever quotes to give, or stories to tell. The pain is just to great. So, tonight I play the sounds of love’s departure from me. I suppose I was not built to share romantic love, I was built only to bottle it in song. Should you ever see a melody from me called Farewell Catarina, you will know it is my farewell to love.

A Song A City – Opening Thoughts

A Song A City – Opening Thoughts

For as long as I can remember, everything around me has a song.  My mind is linked with the universe through music, as if we all are laying on the same sound fabric.  I call these songs Shadow Songs, and the art of listening to them, Shadow Listening. Over the years, I have kept the songs to myself, fearing the reaction.  What if people didn’t like their song?  When I would visit a place, I would hear my song, and then search my ipod for other songs in the same key and mood.  This was all I was brave enough to share.Then, an opportunity came to me.  I was invited to play at an event in Macon, Ga.  The crowd seemed to enjoy my performance of classical pieces.  It struck me, afterwards, that the pieces I had selected were not pieces that the general public would consider ovation worthy.  These just weren’t hugely popular pieces.  So what was it that made the crowd so happy?Following the program, my daughter and I approached the guest speaker, Nancy Grace.  She really loved the music and invited us to play on her show in recognition of autism awareness month.  We were honored and excited.  Now, I just had to figure out what we were going to play.  I reflected deeply on the crowds reactions to my playing.  It occurred to me that my unusual view on music, led to unusual expression in my playing.  Maybe the world was interested in hearing my shadow songs.With a little over a week to prepare, I opened up garage band and recorded the violin part.  One by one, I layered in the other instruments, using a midi keyboard.  In two days, I had a complete song to present.  Once I was in touch with Ms. Grace’s show, I learned I had 2 minutes of air time.  I went back to the computer and cut down the song to 1 minute and 55 seconds.

Our time on the show went by quickly, but I was still very grateful for the exposure.  Fueled by the momentum, I uploaded the song, Stone Shadow, to iTunes.

The reception of Stone Shadow has been amazingly positive.  It seems listeners, fans and friends alike, enjoy my work.  It just seemed foolish to stop there.

A song a city is born

To write more shadow songs, I need to experience the shadows of more places.  I can only hear places I visit first hand.  To make that happen, I need the help of all my fans and friends.

Visit Indiegogo to learn all about the trip, and to be a part of making A Song A City a reality!

A Song A City

Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years!

Laura Nadine

No more can I dance with two hands

Too many roads
to lonely
paths unravel
neither of them mine.
How can I walk
if I am confined?
Don’t bottle me
aged, like fine wine.I cannot feel
these feet are used
garage un-sale special
in a box beneath the stairs.
How can I walk
an inch or a mile?
No more can I dance
I’ve only two hands.Deaf ears drawn
to desire
burns so bright
retinas to black.
How can I breathe
in the stench of sacrifice?
Silence so brutal
disguises me with waves.

No heart is
good for luggage
better off lost
on the wrong flight.
How can I breathe
an inch or a mile?
No more can I dance,
inside my box.

Love me with all
or hate me with everything
love can’t be served
luke warm and bandaged.
Love me with all
or hate me with everything
just count me off
or write me in
but please, please,
don’t keep me familiar.

-Laura Nadine

Am I Capable of Love?

Am I capable of love? The biblical definition of love says love in not selfish and does not seek itself.  Yet the people who ask me that question claim to have it – love, a great love, a deeper understanding of love and the open-mind necessary to comprehend love.
Am I capable of love?  What if I were to give you a gift right now? No matter who you are or what you have done, a gift with no expectations from you. Listen to my music, listen to me play my violin.  Do you hear it? I am giving you the gift of music.  My gift is not wrapped in a pretty wrapper or something you can display on a shelf – but it is a gift born of a labor of love.  It is the most I can give because it is the sum of all my parts.  Most say they cannot deny that I love music because they see it in me when I play.  They see love, that is.  So what makes one think I cannot see that in myself?  Is it a mistake? Do I know know what I do?  There are many things born of innocence, but intent is not one of them.  It is by my intent that I share love through music, not my innocence.
Am I capable of love?  When love has left me I have cried.  I cried with my violin, I cried with my soul and sometimes, I even cry with my eyes.  When love left, the pieces of me were so sopping wet with sadness that everything inside me was drained into shapeless, colorless, odorless pools from which the savages of depression did drink.  Yet no one questions if I am capable of pain or sadness or hurt.
Am I capable of love?  I hear a song in everything I see.  The songs of shadows sing to me in ways that people have sometimes forgotten,  Shadows do not wear social masks and are visible in even the lowest light.  And though the edges may sometime be blurry, the hope with which love is coupled still whispers its tune.  I hear love everywhere I hear music.
Am I capable of love?  Are you?
Laura Nadine