Asperger, Tourette and Art - Tightrope Walking Beneath Heaven

Composer Flint Juventino Beppe wrote to HELLO STAGE hoping to publish a very unique and personal story - "a description of my life as a composer and how it relates to having Asperger’s and Tourette’s syndrome. I believe it might shed some light on how these syndromes might affect a life. I wish to be open about this, and perhaps some of your readers might find it rewarding to read about. Asperger’s and Tourette’s are still rather enigmatic syndromes, yet they are touching many people’s lives on a daily basis. One might deal with these syndromes on personal level, as family members, as a teacher or a friend. Maybe it would be fruitful to gain unique insight into a composer’s mind?"
Here is Flint's honest account of how he lives and creates as a composer with both of these conditions - thank you so much for sharing your experience with the HELLO STAGE community!

It might sound strange, but every title of the works I have created through the years seems to fit my life to a tee; so does «Tightrope walking beneath heaven» – a symphonic poem from 1993.

The titles have become self-fulfilling premonitions. I can see this very clearly and I realize I am the titles of what I create: I walk the tightrope through life beneath the heavens. I can't help this situation, but I have to fix my eyes on an external, faraway point to prevent myself from falling off the rope, in a world that is conventional. There are but two exceptions from this rope and having to look far ahead not to fall: when I am alone in nature I can lower my eyes; and alone with art I can lower my eyes.

To me, one day equals a lifetime. Not a single hour passes without my brain working full speed; automatically, inexhaustibly and incessantly creative. There is never a recess. My brain is like a sensor receiving impressions all the time. I have always been this way. I haven't developed in any direction since I was a child. I have always had the same thoughts, always seen the same things, always heard the same sounds and felt the same emotions. I can see and hear "everything", but it is a daily struggle. This enriches my life immensely but it also makes my existence very dynamic because neurotypical people have a tendency to flock around what I see as conformist lifelies or illusions. To me that equals breathing in a vacuum; I cannot harbor life-lies. I cannot accept a world run by religion and moralizing politics, which gives the state unsubstantiated power over the individual.

Finding a way to turn my creativity into a living is an imperative. This is indeed very challenging and almost unnatural, because it often demands my being social and present in conventional settings. I cannot go through with this without risking psychological "meltdowns" trailing behind. I am an autodidact; I am completely without a formal music education. Not because I don't acknowledge or respect schooling. Asperger's syndrome has made it very difficult for me to cope with what others perceive as mundane and trivial. That is why I cannot manage having a conventional job.

I am born without a «filter» and that forces me to act with caution, being very selective in my choices and how I interact. Everything I do is carried out in an alternative way: without a safety net. I have ended up outside the conventional world on a parallel pathway, and I exist in my own orbit circling around the Earth.

I experience euphoria and despair; unlimited elation and bottomless pits. But I do not feel manic in any way. There are many things I cannot do in this life, but I do make art continuously. I see that there are a striking number of people carrying autistic traits that have made incredible art; the painting you admire, fantastic inventions or the music you cannot stop listening to. I believe that there is a "third eye" in play here, an extra dimension making the rich experience even richer for the audience; someone seeing on behalf of others; someone carrying the intellectual and philosophical strain. There are, and always have been, other artists with Asperger's syndrome; I am not exclusive in this respect. I want to contribute to the task of giving Asperger's syndrome and Tourette's syndrome a human face, even if I walk the tightrope alone.

As far back as I can remember I have perceived my work as a breathing situation: inhaling impressions and exhaling music. Without breathing you cannot live. Knowing that I can leave a lasting fingerprint on the world renders my life manageable and un-pathetic.

"For me music has always been as clear and plain as looking at a tree. I just close my eyes and the music is there as clearly as the memory of the tree. The creation of music might happen on a subconscious level: that the music comes from impressions. Whether this is an analytical aspect or not, I cannot answer." You can follow composer Flint Juventino Beppe on HELLO STAGE! and on his website http://www.fjbfingerprint.com/.
Author: Flint Juventino Beppe /edited by Nina HELLO STAGE
Comments [1]
Marianne Dumas - 2015-04-22 13:54
Thank you for sharing
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