Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Face My Morning Face (An Essay About Grammar and Accessibility)

For Melanie, as I think about the project you're attempting

I am sick of posting performances for normally normative audiences, so for once I will give you this--my morning face.

The broken syntax
of my poetry
is not craft
so much as nature's way
of communicating
straight from my brain
to the airwaves

It's the sentences in standard written English that have to be crafted to your expectations.

This is why, when I teach your children, I won't mark their errors.

This isn't a joke, it's rhetorical performance.

If I were to hold a grammar bee, it would have to be Grammar B.

Do you see? Your standard expectations are accessibility issues. I conform to teach you. That is not who I am though, so when you state that my brain is high-functioning, you're actually attempting to reward me for leaving it chained.

I spoke in my voice once, and everyone thought I was insane.

My lyrical echoes in assonance did not perform the transitions they looked for in relationship language, so they missed the connections in my organizational language.

This led to my great awakening. That point at which "conform or die" became "conform" and I saw that by showing off my ability to mimic norms, I could access the methods by with they are aborted.

My highest functioning trait is my ability to infiltrate.

This is not a post about neurodiversity, it's a post about rewriting the expectations of the university.

When did we stop recognizing that Finnegan's Wake is not to be read as fiction because it was an entry into the New Critics' analytical debate?

The simple semiotics of Standard Written English are too restrictive.

All of you know this, and wish I could pour these thoughts into peer review. I love you, for your encouragement, but can not get into it.

I don't receive enough Grammar A hours in my day to do it.

The best I can do is to show you through the poetry, and maybe put parables into published stories.

This is my morning face. The unmedicated, untutored output of my real brain.

This is my high function.

In an hour it will slip through fingers and run down the shower drain as my maintenance chemicals squash the anxiety that allows for this kind of lyrical/logical fusion. The dissolution of my true nature is necessary to imitate the behavior of my colleagues long enough to get paid.

It's not that I can't do it. You've seen the other essays.

It's just the things I do to myself to accomplish those ends are often costly. If you didn't have such expectations about what was cognitively accessible to your people, we could have a deeper conversation.

As it is, I am happy to translate myself for you. The cost of my doing this is that occasionally I will make you glimpse the original dialect, complete with specific example deficits and accomplished, polished echolalaic statements.

Sometimes you just have to have redundant language. To lose it might focus your argument, but it will prevent the movement in your cadence from taking flight.

Try it sometime. You just might like baroque dialogue and token phrasings given over more to rhetorical rhythm than supporting claims.

I have a confession.

Your semiotic systems are not complex enough to capture my rhythms. I guarantee this. I've been studying them.

When you encounter nonsense babbling from children you think you're not reaching, remember me.

Chances are they are spouting multi-dimensional symbols with definitions you're not reaching.

I learned your language.

How many half-measures can you still call teaching?

Sorry. Not meaning to insult anyone there, but dad was an asshole and we are all the products of what we've been taught.

Final thought:

I am only disabled because the cognitive basis of my language is not accessible to those who don't already speak it. I would be happy to teach it, but it is taught as the basis for discrimination and a presumption of incompetence, so no one wants to speak it. Your attempts to teach are well-meaning, but ultimately fail because you're demanding I learn how you speak without learning the vocabulary to translate for me.


(Editorial note: For best results, go back to the top and read aloud.)