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Archive for the ‘Writings’ Category

Oh, Sorry…

The internet created a world where barriers went away.  Back and forth the conversations go not knowing what color, gender, politics, beliefs are present as words flowing past your eyes do not reveal anything about the above.

Words flow across the page and we become attached or repulsed by what the words say, how the phrases are strung together, and words coming at you pluck a certain string that resonates. Or push a certain button, perhaps call attention to a certain feeling,  even generate something meaningful that you have been waiting a long time to find.

Those words, each one, one after the other, seem to flow towards a positive realm of possibilities.  Hope springs awake and you think, maybe this time?

And then something happens. You or they trip over certain words-black, bi-, deaf, liberal, trans, and so goes the list.

Words then become frozen meanings related to a certain viewpoint that triggers a moment of surprise.  Then emerges other words starting with  ‘should’ or ‘must’ or ‘can’t’ and it all comes to a pause and then…

Oh, sorry…

I didn’t know…

This is awkward…

I should have known better.

And then, well, it was nice knowing you.  Have a good life.

Shouldn’t the words that once resonated within you simply, on their own, be sufficient?  Couldn’t you just trust that plucked string that resonated for one beautiful moment?

Because words come from a place that is beyond physical appearances, deeper than the superficial world of social conventions, more meaningful than what gender represents, and help us get past a lot of things that need to be unlearned.  Words come from what we may call soul, heart, a certain good vibration, a chakra, something that is beyond what the eyes can see or the ears hear.

Could it…might we not…should it be possible?

Or is it?

Oh, Sorry…

and then

that’s it.

 

 

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Stone Deaf?

Often when the world runs into a deaf person the first few questions are related to finding out if they are really deaf?  Initial questions tend to explore how do you communicate if you cannot hear and thus:  Can you lipread?  Is it hard being deaf?  Once those kinds of questions have been explored the next area is how deaf that person may be.  Thus begins an effort to label the experience of being deaf to the degree of loss that the deaf person may have and one of the potential misnomers is ‘stone deaf’.

It will be true, to some extent, that the deaf person has limited external access to sound. It may be helpful to equate the experience of not hearing as being stone deaf.  However, we are making the assumption that stone cannot ‘hear’ and is inanimate.  There are cultures and societies in the world that would strongly disagree with that assessment.

It is my opinion that regardless of how much external sound a person can access it is likely that all of us have access to a noisy inner life involving our consciousness.  Even in deep sleep, there are things going on internally that keep us consistently receiving stimulus of some sort via dreams and other internalized mental gymnastics. From this context, it would appear no one can make the claim they are stone deaf.

It may be possible in brief instances, in deeply religious followings or through meditation to gain a tenuous ability to detach from the self long enough to enter voids equivalent to being in total silence. Other than this all of us remain busy hearing ‘voices’ the entirety of our lives.

Perhaps when we meet others different from ourselves physically,, socially, and culturally, we might respond in a deeper way.  First,  by not comparing each other to what we can do.  It might work better to ask others what they feel, experience, see, and know, and how they respond to their lived experiences.  That may potentially offer a better way to understand each other through the experiences we have while living through those experiences.

Then, no one would be stone deaf.

 

 

 

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In a prior reflection, I wrote about my life experiences involving hearing aids.  After that, there was a period of years without hearing aids where I developed my skills at lip reading into a fine art. Then ten years ago after years of research, reflection, and inner struggle with the idea of doing it, I finally went through the medical procedure to acquire a cochlear implant.

There is one poem about that topic in the writings area which reflects on the quandary of being culturally Deaf and at the same time crossing the line to have a cochlear implant to become some kind of ‘borg’ in the world. I had low expectations as to what it would do for me and much to my surprise it has worked very well for me. I am able to get through days very well out in the world with it on and for all purposes, if I would choose to do so, pass as ‘normal’ in the world. This is an odd thing for me to say because the experience of being deaf is my normal as opposed to the majority who think it is what disables me as a person.

I find it to be positive that I can choose to hear or choose to go about my day in silence. Something that many of my hearing friends have wished they could do as well.  One of the ironies of the cochlear implant process is that the procedure itself destroys any residual hearing the person may have prior to the implant.  As a result, I am, from an audiological perspective, deafer than many deaf people who do not have cochlear implants. Yet, within the culture, I am now less Deaf than I was before the cochlear implant.

The argument goes these days something like this:  Does the implant make me less culturally deaf which appears to be the sentiment these days within the deaf community.  That is, for all purposes, the elephant in the living room for deaf culture. No one wants seems to want to address what it means to be culturally Deaf and at the same time have a cochlear implant as the two seem to be mutually exclusive. As a result, there is a very subtle type of shunning within the community. Or so it seems to me from my personal experiences.

Meanwhile, I go through the process of trying to figure out what all this leads to and how I can continue to have a meaningful life as a D/deaf person in spite of the perspectives of others. Since hearing aids are not much of an issue these days perhaps if they made the cochlear implants look more like hearing aids then everything would be hunky dory.

Or not?

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Internet Universe

Lately, I have been increasing the amount of writing I do on this blog and other sites.  As I do this kind of writing I have noticed how strange it is to send these thoughts, messages, and feelings out into this virtual space without any idea of where it is going and if anyone sees it at all.

This causes me to recall something I read years ago related to a comment by Stephen King that has stayed with me.  I do not recall if it was an interview or an article. In responding to a question related to why he is a prolific writer and what motivates him to continue to write part of his response was, “I write to those downstream”.  At the time I was struck by how beautiful an analogy that was to explain why writers write.

As a writer one can only hope that their writing will have an impact at some time and place far removed from when the writer first created the words in the first place.  All of this thinking leads to this short creative piece.

I begin to send a message yet,

my hand pauses as I ask,

Is it loneliness, curiosity, or longing?

Pressing the send key I wonder, who are you,

you who have never seen me nor I you?

Are you male-female-young-old-or in between?

Or is everything jumbled together for myriad reasons that neither sender nor receiver can explain?

Across the Internet, vast and mysterious, byte-by-byte, I journey light years in nano-seconds and yet wait…

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Silent Musings

Sometimes it startles me when I remove my cochlear implant.  The moment between sound and silence is jarring as if one just made a leap from one plane of existence to another.   No time to yell “Geronimo,” no apparatus to pull that will create some kind of parachute for the mind to adjust from the one experience to the other.  Sometimes the brain, in that moment of panic between sound and silence begins to rummage through its synapses files seeking some solace in what is remembered. Tossing out sounds like a homeless person rummaging through an alley garbage can. Pulling out whatever can be found that is of value.

As I thought about these kinds of experiences between sound and silence I recall that sometimes I  use the internet as a form of distraction while I wait for the brain to calm down. Over time this short creative piece has started to develop.

The day fades, the cochlear implant removed,

induces phantom sounds—

of a train horn—

the ringing of nothing—

the call of loons—

the barking of dogs—

and random white noise.

So I surf the net- hanging out-to distract myself,

a new face appears—

a tiny hint of a smile…

breathe, I said–

you got up, returned and the fan gently blew—

a few wisps of red hair—

‘Hot’ you said…and went away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Update

I have been neglectful about keeping my posts to this site up to date.  Since I have recently resolved to get back to writing again, I will resume posting on this site. Where in the past I have focused primarily on Deaf theatre, from this point on I will be posting various creative writing efforts along with anything new to comment about the genre of Deaf Theatre.  My plan is to get this site up to a more active level and add more content so it continues to be useful to anyone who happens to come by for a visit.

Stay tuned for more as I develop it over the next few months.

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March 25, 2017

Today I made a short presentation on Deaf Performers, comparing the pre-internet issues with the post-internet issues facing Deaf Performers in Theater and Film. The presentation was more focused on film as it was presented during the Rochester Deaf Film Festival activities and was part of an all day presentation process in the RIT Wallace Center located in the RIT ASL and Deaf Studies Community Center (RADSCC).

This presentation touches upon the topic and I will add the power point presentation to this post.  In subsequent post in this topic area I will expand more on the PP and explain/discuss my perspectives on the topic.  As always, these are my opinions, insights, and thoughts on performance art particularly related to live theater.  This and subsequent posts will take note of how multimedia, CGA, and special effects has permeated live performance work since the advent of the internet, social media and other types of hosting sites.  There has been a prolific infusion of performance material that contains a wide range of quality in regards to production values, performance, and fluency of delivery.

Two key take always to consider. First, the need for cross-over appeal and ‘hooks’ in today’s digital marketplace  access is greater, global in nature, however many people clamoring for the attention of everyone and it’s hard to win out.  Second, with these new ways of working and performing in digital/ virtual spaces how does one successfully market themselves so they actually earn income on the sites where they are parking their content and the fees they ask are not contested but accepted by those interested in the creative content being offered for your eyes to enjoy.

Theatre & Film-v2

 

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