The Talk

Here are some things about me, too.

Just Stimming...

There’s a new person in my life, so we’re having the how-my-body-works talk.

It’s a conversation I don’t think nondisabled people have. It goes like this: this is my body. This is how it works. It moves this way. These parts of can feel, and these can’t. This will hurt me, and this won’t. I want you to know these things. This is my body, and this is me.

“We should have the conversation about physical contact, but I don’t know how it goes,” she said.

“Well, fortunately, I’m really good at this conversation,” I said. “I have it all the time.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kinds of intimacy my disability forces me into. Most people don’t have to brief half the people they meet on what they can and can’t see. But the truth is that my body works like yours right up until it doesn’t…

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I am what is known as a Gestalt Learner, so my brain works on things quietly in the background, keeping me mostly in the dark. This learning style is usually explained as having an “Aha!” moment, where everything suddenly becomes clear.

“Gestalt learners are right-brain dominant.  They are interested in how things work (mechanically), patterns, shapes, and sizes, and see a greater picture than just parts.   They have great imaginations and can have artistic talent.  Artists from Michelangelo to Rodin to Picasso and Escher exhibit gestalt principles in their work.

Michelangelo is famous for saying “I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”  Most of us look at a block of marble and see only a block of marble, not an angel.”

( This is an excerpt from a blog by VisuallyGifted)

When a Gestalt moment happens to me I find myself all alone in my thoughts, and for  a time my thoughts are held motionless. I sit and wait, I often have an empty idea. Holding on to the moment of just before for a moment longer here. Trying to understand it more deeply. I sit quietly focused on this center of me. I am in my place of long thoughts, I feel joy. I enjoy my inner universe completely. I am here. And then: as fast as the speed of light I am there, in the new and in the solved. And in the now. I understand completely.

I exist in a transitive state of all knowing after not knowing.  I know my vessel is always empty before it is filled.. I can initiate a flow of enthusiasm by preparing a place for it. I can create joy and passion by making room for them.  I begin with my center, and then I see myself going through each and every step I  perform to successfully complete any task perfectly. I understand this form of my existence. I give form in this instance to mean manifestation and not embodiment because there is no language here in this place of mine. There are not any words. There are no words, you must see it.

“The right-brain dominance of gestalt learners can be at the expense of left-brain activities.  This is why some very bright children can be late talkers.  Language comes, but at a delay and finding the words to express themselves can be difficult.” (VisuallyGifted)

What does it mean to be a Gestalt learner?

I think in pictures, too.

I Think In Pictures

The basic principle of being a gestalt learner is experiencing the whole as greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, the whole (a picture, a car) carries a different and altogether greater meaning than its individual components (paint, canvas, brush; or tire, paint, metal, respectively). In viewing the “whole,” a cognitive process takes place – the mind makes a leap from comprehending the parts to realizing the whole. We visually and psychologically attempt to make order out of chaos, to create harmony or structure from seemingly disconnected bits of information. The prominent founders of Gestalt theory (developed in the 1920s) are Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Koffka .

Gestalt learners are right-brain dominant.  They are interested in how things work (mechanically), patterns, shapes, and sizes, and see a greater picture than just parts.   They have great imaginations and can have artistic talent.  Artists from Michelangelo to…

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On Value and Being Seen

I want to tell my stories. I have a passionate creative place too. I feel jealous that her can write so many words without getting tired.
I can only keep exercizing my literary muscle and hope I can gain enough strength in writing to finish my ideas.

Paper Pencil Life

Tara Brach

Longtime reader Sarah asked in the comments on my post about Edith Pearlman if I could share my thoughts on how I skate the inevitable line of doing work for work sake and doing work to be seen.  To which I say:

Oh boy–how much time do you have?

Every artist I know struggles with this dynamic–don’t you?  Isn’t this at the very core of wanting a life in the arts?  You have something to say and don’t you want someone to hear it/see it?  This seems like a very simple idea, though we know it is not.  The minute someone DOES hear/see/notice your work is when things get really FUNKY.  

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Popularizing Linguistics Through Online Media

Since starting out on WordPress I have been introduced to so many writers who are of such a high caliber.
I really feel excited to be here learning. I have read many books about linguistics. My favourite is: You Just Don’t understand by Deborah Tannen.
I have a communication disability and I have spent many Years studying effective communication techniques in order to help me assure that my efforts at personal expression are understandable.
I will give you as an example, I have chosen the word assure in this instance because it means “tell someone something positively or confidently to dispel any doubts they may have.” instead of the more commonly used ensure, which I suggest means ” make (something) certain to happen. ”
Linquistic understanding has provided me witheffective communication tools assure that the meta-message of my communications is more immediately apparent.


Sometime last spring, I got an email from Doug Bigham, a linguist at San Diego State University who I’d met at LSA 2011. He wanted to put together a special session for the LSA 2015 conference that took place last weekend in Portland, Oregon. The theme would be “Popularizing Linguistics Through Online Media,” and he figured that I could talk about blogging; Gretchen McCulloch, about her All Things Linguistic Tumblr page; Arika Okrent, about her listicle pieces on Mental Floss and TheWeek; Michael Maune [maUni], about his #lingchat hashtag on Twitter; Ben Zimmer, about writing for the in-print but also online Wall Street Journal and other news outlets; and Michael Erard, about the new Schwa Fire online linguistics magazine. Doug himself would talk about his linguistics YouTube channel, and tying it all together would be the discussant, Anne Curzan of the University of Michigan, who did…

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