Artist/Autist: IS There Anybody Out There?

[Note: this was written before I noticed comment from “Picky the Elf” at last post]


I lie awake and the lack of response to my last post eats away at me. Not a single donation, comment,  or even “like.” How is it even possible? It’s as if there’s no one out there at all?

Maybe there isn’t?

Supporting Mitch’s Kickstarter campaign wasn’t entirely altruistic. He owes me money and the sooner he gets set up the sooner I can get it back. But even so, I meant what I wrote. I am taking a chance by participating in something that has tangible real-world consequences and asking my readers to support it and, implicitly, to support me (morally at least).

A dozen posts asking me what the hell I am doing would be preferable to nothing! The total absence of any indication of that support, or even interest, is more than a slap in the face, it’s a kick in the stomach.

Reaching out to “the world” and receiving no visible response is my own recurring nightmare of personal history. It goes back to infancy, I am sure, to pre-verbal, pre-memory existence. [The proof being that, even when there was a response, I didn’t register or “approve” it –  so Picky the Elf’s comment was lost for several days in blog limbo!] Autists are trapped inside a perceptual world which they can’t communicate from, or about, surrounded by seeming indifference which much of the time is actually incomprehension. If my signals aren’t getting through then I have to change what I’m doing, either that or stop doing anything.

People are telling me all the time how much they get from what I write or say, how valuable and meaningful it is to them. But it doesn’t seem to translate into the sort of response I want when I want it to.

I am writing this late at night (typing it up now, the next morning), in bed, because I can’t sleep. I am only writing it at all because I want to help Mitch with the last push of the final days of his campaign (he is only $600 short of the target). That’s my motivation, and my reason for venting my disappointment, frustration, and disgust, now, while, absurdly, asking the same, silent-invisible audience that I am railing against to show some substance, to prove to me you exist, tell me what I am doing wrong, or why this isn’t worth supporting or even responding to, anything but stupid, useless silence!

GIVE ME WHAT YOU’VE GOT! (Better yet, give Mitch)

30 thoughts on “Artist/Autist: IS There Anybody Out There?

  1. It’s just a bit annoying, the whole thing. White, male subject of the evil empire goes to help poor impoverished women of third world country by updating their culture with his creativity?


    It feels pretty pointless to respond when I feel that way about something.

  2. You should also consider that it might not be the best timing for everyone. We just finished the holidays, and most people are pretty tapped out at this point. Personally, I might have to pay the courts $1K next week, on top of my normal poverty-inducing expenses. I also often would rather not respond to these kinds of things at all than respond without donating, it just seems a little tacky. And, kind of like Sinple, I also find these kinds of stories to be a little off-putting, and at least as predictable as you find Sinples response. It seems like very few people are willing to engage the natives on their own level. Very few people are willing to donate when it is just them asking for basic support. I’m not surprised that very few people will donate when a western dude asks on his/their behalf, and for an art project, when there are probably more immediate deficiencies that have gone largely ignored as well. Not to say I don’t support it (in thought) just chiming in to say that maybe it’s not you!

    • Thanks Michael

      when you say “It seems like very few people are willing to engage the natives on their own level” you’re referring to who/what exactly?

      My experience is that’s just what Mitch does – and ironically he doesn’t even speak much Spanish.

      This isn’t pretending to be a charity, it’s a collaboration.

      When I said predicable I guess i meant “kneejerk.” I don’t see the actual logic behind S’s comments; it seems to be assigning a general condition to a specific set of circumstances and assuming it’s the same.

  3. “who/what exactly?”

    The Mayans, and most indigenous peoples, really. And I agree that what Mitch does seems like direct engagement on their level, I’m not criticizing him at all. I don’t know where the money is going, exactly, but that’s most likely because I didn’t closely read every paragraph.

    I do think the comment was a bit kneejerk, which is why I can’t align myself with it fully, but I THINK I understand the motivation. The internet presents you with hundreds of donation/crowd-sourcing opportunities on a weekly basis, and you’re right, Sinples comment does appear to be “assigning a general condition to a specific set of circumstances and assuming it’s the same” but when you’re saturated with this sort of thing, you tend to assume that the next thing that comes along that looks similar to the last one is more of the same.

    I wish I could contribute! (see, that’s what I don’t like about commenting when I know I can’t afford to, it even makes me feel disingenuous!)

    • I mean who or what isn’t willing to engage with natives, if not Mitch; but I think you cleared it up, it;s part of the assumption, that most people aren’t willing or able and so they assume that when they see something like this, it’s not able to either.

      I lived in Guatemala for years and tho I do speak Spanish I never felt like i could really engage with the natives; that’s not because they’re “other,” tho, I feel that way wherever I am (austistic)! Mitch on the other hand does have a way with people and he always left the Mayans he interacted with laughing, as far as i could see, with genuine affection. That’s why I don’t have any misgivings about promoting his work, regardless of the so-called sociopolitical “implications.”

      As for contributing or not, to my mind you are just by engaging with the process, and a $5 or $10 donation (which I think anyone can afford) is less important than a feeling of good will. Some people just don’t feel right about donating even when they support whatever it is, it doesn’t mean they are mean. Money’s a complicated issue for everyone.

      Having a dialogue is what counts for the most, I think.

  4. Quite.

    The logic isn’t the point. The surface is like lot’s of similar looking stuff, it resonates a certain way. The substance is moot. The substance is in Guatemala and nowhere I can get to it so I have no idea about that. The post that lacked response, you said you wanted a response even if it’s “what the hell is that about?”. Now the response is too predictable. Your a tricky sausage, Mr H.

    • I didn’t say “too predicable” but only “predictable,” and I meant it literally – I was able to predict it.

      Then I added “kneejerk” for the reasons stated. I could also add “superficial.” None of this means it’s not valid or worth hearing – or even wrong. Only the Mayan ladies can really say for sure, right?

  5. Ive been stuck in a timeloop or something.

    Hope the last ~350 dollars gets in before times run out.

    Best of luck, and dont let silence bring you down!

  6. Mitch has gotten plenty of my money … out of the taxes in my Oregon paychecks over the years ! It has afforded him to stay at home (and travel) and do the artwork that he does, which is great, and I have thought about this before and felt good about it — being a “working stiff” with my blue collar — and knowing that some of my hard-earned money goes to folks like Mitch. This is why I won’t be donating. I’ve been working for him for a long time, already !

  7. I really wish that the final date was after Friday. If I find out on Friday that have to pay what I think I will have to pay I will be thoroughly in the red, so I actually don’t know if I can afford $5-10 at the moment. That’s racial profiling for you…yay, America!

  8. I was just thinking about that and went to my email account for the link to the kickstarter and I got the email confirming my little donation went through. Just a few minutes before I decided to check. Congrats!

  9. Replying Jasun to your email saying, paraphrasing the idea I took from it, “Hey! What happened? Nobody replied. Nobody donated. Nobody bought anything”. I don’t want to seem elite here in what I claim is enforced frugality but I don’t donate. Rarely. Last time was $6 to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Or was it $3? I’d be inclined to buy a few refined things such as items photograped. if the money was there to spare. Who is on fixed inome? I liked to say that, fixed income. Stops expectations. Course a fixed income could be whatever a trust fund provides a rich baby. Mine is Social Security, moderate, and a wee but appreciated Union pension, Screen Actor’s Guild. I looked at these Mayan derivations first time you posted about them, showed pictures of the extraordinary work, lovely.

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