Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This Is The Game That Moves As You Play

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I came a day early to work on the lecture- I built it into the trip. A fortunately busy few months have occupied me with all sorts of projects, and I kind of was fearing this lecture.

When you have a project and it is new, you are an evangelist for this project. You are it's advocate. You are discovering and learning about it every time you discuss it. Right now in 2013, Eli is 11. Far, far away from the kid of ECHOLILIA years, ages 5-8. The world keeps on turning, no question.

But this lecture, it needs to deliver. It's more fun for everyone if you are a little off base, a little unsure, and learning something as you deliver it. That tension keeps everyone engaged. The sense of discovery sometimes helps the speaker and the audience.

Now this whole idea of connecting with your kid...the photos and stories in ECHOLILIA. This is a happy ending, uplifting thing, right? I's in Reader's Digest this month...please. Well no, it's not. It's real life: things get better, things get worse. You change one thing and another thing shifts. This is, again, the game that moves as you play. It always has been.

A casual conversation with a friend this weekend suddenly rings true as if it's points were etched in stone. I tried to write it down as soon as we hung up, but it went like this:

A: All along you have always been cryptic about this project you did after ECHO. It's got both kids but lots of your youngest son. You thought it was about the end of a long term relationship or some such nonsense. Look at those images again, with this distance. This is about your youngest son- his role in the family and his challenges with this hand of cards life has dealt him.  He’s supposed to be the easy one. Well it doesn’t look easy to be living with autistic sibling. You have NASA’s greatest minds cracking the code of your eldest son, the best drugs money can buy, and all these professionals steering the ship. Knowing how to connect with him now is second nature. But your other son, he’s still an enigma, isn’t he?

Q: Totally.

A: Look at those images again. You’ve got an audience this weekend and you need to give this a jolt of adrenaline- you can’t just phone this in. Something happens in a family and it resonates through everyone….no one is isolated and un-affected. Once you start to think that something or someone is easy, that something is on auto pilot, well that’s when you lose it.

Q: You think that should be the lecture?

A: Yes. You’ve been shooting it and wrestling with it. You’ve heard the saying “write what you know? This is universal, and you have the images to back it up. The holes, the broken fence, the turning off of the world. These are the coping tools and you have them in these images. Now go forth and write this thing.

Q: OK.

Baton Rouge Autism Speaker Series
6pm, Saturday April 13, 2013
An Evening With Timothy Archibald
The Manship Theatre at The Shaw Center for the Arts
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Rebecca Horne said...

Love these. Especially the last one.

Cyd said...

Fellow autism parent and aspiring photographer here...looking forward to hearing you speak tomorrow. :)

Timothy Archibald said...

Hiya Cyd-
Great photograph of yours in the show! Please come and say hello...its ur opening! All the work looks super together...I think you will like it. See you soon-