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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Monday, February 26, 2007


Joy from John

The other evening, I managed to watch a few minutes of TV. I love the show The Actor's Studio when I can watch it. John Travolta was on the other night and this is what he has to say about joy and sorrow taken from a written interview following the show:

In 1992, on a trip to Maine with Preston and their infant son, Travolta had an inspiration. He wanted to write a story about a bright, sensitive young boy who loved airplanes and all the romance and dreams they symbolized. Through that little boy, Travolta wanted to express his own feelings about life and to share those feelings with the people he loved. The result was Propeller One-Way Night Coach, a delightful fable that was published in 1997 by Warner Books. The story, with drawings by Travolta, runs only 42 pages, but Travolta says it contains the essence of his philosophy of life:

Always focus on the positive.
[bold mine] Never give in to negativity and darkness. Count your blessings, not your laments. [bold mine] Stay as warm and open and receptive as a child. Dare to go your own way, dare to be free. And in good times or bad, never be afraid to lead with your heart.

"In the little book, the kid really does that," says Travolta. "He looks sorrow right in the eye.[bold mine] He sees the front-page story of an airline crash and thinks, 'That must be awful. But I can't think about that now.' He doesn't ignore that, he acknowledges it, realizes it's awful, but in order to survive, he moves on to something that's going to get him through. [bold mine] I think I've done that my whole life. I've tried to make my life an ascent, as opposed to a descent. [bold mine] The character in the book is real, but he always looks on the bright side of life. [bold mine] He looks at the glass as half full.

"If we can't think of life as something potentially joyful, life isn't worth living. [bold mine] That's why when actors speak of wallowing in the darkness, I think there is enough darkness, there's enough tragedy. [bold mine] If you look around you, there's a war in Bosnia. There are people being murdered. There are enough crashes. There's man's inhumanity to man. There's abuses. It's all there, very evident. It's much more difficult to look at the brighter side of it. [bold mine] I would almost like to see people challenge young artists to look on the brighter side, rather than indulge in the evident. Because right there you've got all the darkness and sadness you'd ever want. At a moment's glance. So the real challenge in life is to look for ways to handle the upset--and to always look forward towards something to live for." *
[bold mine]

Listening to this over and over again from philosophers, thinkers, and now from John gives a whole new meaning to the term applied to autistics like Adam -- when he jumps and flaps his hands -- "happy dance." (If you've never tried it, you should. It is quite liberating).


Blogger mcewen said...

Yup, I try and counterbalance the 'rain dances' with the 'happy dance' and slowly, slowly, the ratio improves.
Best wishes

5:47 PM  
Blogger Peggy Lou Morgan said...

It amazes me the different perceptions of the "happy dance". It touches the lives of so many people who see our children's dance/actions and others are critical.

I have so tried to catch Billy Ray doing it especially in church during the singing. He claps, bounces up and down and dances even to songs that aren't normally clapped during. Most people love it but I have never been able to catch a picture that shows the true him. I can get his smile but or part of the clapping but not the full deal. Guess I will have to video.

You seem to have done a better job at catching Adam's happiness. He is adoreable. His eyes tell a lot about him.

Best regards,

8:32 PM  
Blogger jypsy said...

I read this right after posting this on Kev's blog. I could just as well have put it as a comment here :)

6:59 AM  

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