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Nathan first realized that his perception was skewed as a child, and he remained aware and even overwhelmed as he continued to develop. It was not until a ...
Nathan first realized that his perception was skewed as a child, and he remained aware and even overwhelmed as he continued to develop. It was not until a moment of spiritual awakening on the side of the highway in Indianapolis, Indiana, that he finally transcended the limitations of his diagnosis; for the first time in his life, he saw the world for its beauty and simplicity. Sometime later, as the vision faded, Nathan knew he needed the experience again. He also knew he must share his insight with the world.
Nathan reminds us of our own individuality. For now, we live in a strange world with even stranger people. We call this earth, and it is our home. Remembering our home, we do not seem that strange after all.
Throughout my day, I am entranced by closeness to stimuli. Breaking into my head, cars 50 feet away drive through my ear canal. With puzzle-like connection to my anatomy, smells stab my whole brow. I am connected to my senses. Even visual targets encapsulate my whole view. Sensations of touch can be so uncomfortable, I wear the same clothes for weeks at a time until either my wife or parents say something about it.
I have broken through many of these barriers with something I picked up while watching my grandmother in her garden, tending to her strawberries. As the universe held us, watching her was my first indication of a state beyond the realm of my senses. Suspending me there, I got to watch her. She watched me too. This day I understood my grandma had her own things to do. Seemingly troubled when he would come home to her house I also figured out that something was not okay when my father was away at work. On this very day, I had developed a sense of other people.
In the garden I started to dig a hole. I wanted that hole to go to China so I could bring the Chinese to my grandmother's farm. I wanted them to play with me. I had been watching moving pictures of Chinese children on Reading Rainbow, a television program we picked up through the antenna. Waving at me through the fuzzy box, I knew they wanted to come over and have fun in the garden. Only three feet deep, my development of the new route was stifled. The pit left me stifled and filled with exhaustion. So, there I rested in it, thinking there must be other ways to reach the other side of the earth. This was another fact I picked up from the antenna. Though I had a little globe I enjoyed spinning, I was too entranced by its motion to gather what it was teaching me about the facts. I felt the coldness of the earth in my garden hole, contemplating my next move. Instead I gave up, resting inside with strawberries.
One day, out with my mother, we visited a camera shop in Kokomo, IN. Things were plain and ordinary, another day at four years of age. I followed mommy, held her hand when we got out of her red two-door Jimmy, the two of us walking through stores. I stood there while she talked to the people. The clerk's fuzzy brown beard standing out to me, I realized something very different about this trip. This guy wasn't my Dad. He was a stranger. Mommy felt like a stranger too.
Fixated upon a glass panel separating myself from a camouflage camera lens, a rather large object in the display case. Since the glass stopped me from touching it, I looked left to the main store window. And I saw the sun in the sky. But there was the glass window, staying really still. As light spanned through the pane, I suddenly became consumed by a reaching-quality of the light, feeling a distance from the sun to the earth. I gathered a sense of very immense space between the light and the glass. There was room for both. And I knew this. But the sun's light took on a far-reaching dimension. I could not know its extent. As it stood so still, I knew the window was unaffected. This was the happiest I had ever felt. Mother alerted me,
"It's time for your Dad to pick you up."
Father worked for an automotive factory. After the house was finished down the lane from grandma, he would come home to his obsessive hobbies, mostly alone and to himself. He was building high-powered rockets in his concrete underground fortress. The lights buzzed and whirred with Dad's steady hands manipulating tools, his body hunched over the project. At his house, Dad didn't have people over like mom would. After all, he was bent on something very important. He was about to complete another great project.
After we had moved out of the shanty house where Connie, dad's new wife lived, we stayed with grandma. And on the farm, Dad started to build another house. Dad was very busy. Having no brothers or sisters, I was alone and free to walk from the house up to the farm making toys out of sticks. There were a few occasions when Dad would emerge from his steadiness in the fortress, playing with a pink baseball. He threw it to me. But I found it hard to catch. Then he taught me how to throw a basketball in the yard. Less interesting was learning to use a computer. Dad showed me how certain numbers make sounds. I loved when Dad showed me things. But I could not place importance in things. Not even my family interested me. Though I belonged to the family, I wasn't expected around until Dad and Connie had dinnertime or needed to talk about the Bible.
I became most excited on long car rides to school. Father talked at length about scientific principals: nuclear science, computer-programming language, rocket launching techniques, and far-out mathematical assemblages. He could spell out anything in his careful language. Word for word, father could even repeat things I needed to hear again. But frustrating to me were huge pauses between his words. I was enticed by his words even if not always understanding every sentence. I would find myself signaling him back. Sometimes, yet suddenly, he would lash out with bouts of loud yelling. They were intermittent periods, mostly when I did something wrong on a paper at school. Scaring me most was not content, but the volume at which his voice could reach. Shaking the windows and my eardrums, father could yell with a force most otherworldly. If he wasn't talking about his interests or both of us weren't quiet, I found myself melting in tears, not knowing the source of the pain. I must have brought too many offenses toward him. There, in the car seat, I had found a great loneliness. I knew no one would help me when I cried.
Different than at mom's, I had trouble finding pens and pencils at father's house, spending most of my time alone longing to draw things. But even crayons were on short supply. With cornfields and a power-substation adjacent, our house rested in a crescent of woods. My room had white walls, light blue carpet, and two windows. Other than the occasional air sifting through the ventilation shafts, I couldn't hear too many noises there. I had a little clock radio. So, I listened to it at night but could not figure out how to change the radio station. I couldn't figure out how to ask to change it either. While love songs from the 70's and 80's would play through the crackling speaker, I was alone and awake, considering the depth of the stars I could see toward the East. Dad said they were like big suns. I would imagine being pulled out into the night-air through a fantastic tunnel running right up the middle of my body taking me there. I saw a separation of myself from my body.
Hallucinatory dreams and fevers plague my memories of this period in my childhood. I recall the terror of not being able to stop screaming at my fathers' face in the midst of these events. While my eyes were open, I would see white horses and riders bounding around the room. I would vomit onto father's lap or onto the new carpet. There was a feeling of being shaken from the inside of my body. Sweating, dizziness, colossal headaches, and the inability to get comfortable in my bed accompanied my attempts to get the sleep I knew I needed. Despite my cries being too loud for him, dad's anger subsided during these bouts. But he still tried to get me to just stop screaming.
"Wake up Nathan. You are okay. Just stop screaming."
The day the glove was presented for O.J. to try on during his trial was the last of these terrible hallucinations. As if density were an entity, the fear took the form of rocks smashing down upon me, crushing my body. I was walking on a tightrope, density falling all around me. I could feel the space forming into matter, only to crush the space within my mind, the area where my thoughts and sense of self were being suspended on the tightrope. This weighty matter came from nowhere. Its source from nothingness was something I knew. And I was trapped. A lot of other things were not making sense. I knew at least the illness was invading me from the inside. Having only the sight of this terror available to me so far, the radio blared Magic 95.1. It brought me the sound of the room boiling. There upon me came the house of death.
But I was not prepared to leave. I wanted to play outside. Thoughts were terrible, fast-paced, and vivid. Then, I heard the sound of my father's voice. I thought, who could grasp my fear but him? My mind-soup was boiling. I had no choice but to watch it happen. Though even his words hurt my whole body, I knew I had discovered a faith and trust in my father. The names for these things coming later, I became consumed by the intensity again and again. But he kept letting me know things, reminding me I was going to be okay. I knew he grasped my fear. More frightening was realizing I sensed his own. I had to survive this. But only part of me did.
Through the following weeks, months, and even years after these fevers, I had a general sense of dread about living at my father's. Unable to stop the repetition of thoughts surrounding my dreams, preoccupation with them was cognitively split from my intervening choice in the matter; to put my mind there, I had no other choice but to do so. Laying awake with anxiety the dreams may reoccur at any moment, I had no choice but to consider these dreams implied. Yet conclusions eluded me, unable to trust what I believed. Was it something I did wrong to deserve this? I knew I trusted my father could tell me. But I could not trust myself after having caused the illness in the first place. I had concluded these events were my entire fault.
Like a little ticking clock in rhythm, my thoughts were very mechanical early in childhood. Some were plainly unimaginative. Dullness preoccupied my days. I was told stories of my Aunt Sally, my Dad's sister, fearing the worst was yet to come. She had endured sickness from hay fever at an early age. But Sally suffered permanent brain damage. Her intelligence never developing beyond two years of age, she was confined to a group home on 6th street in my mom's hometown. In me, something was missing in the way I was cognizing thought. Noticing black spots in my memory, I imagined they were faint phantoms; limbs of perception I was twisting but could not get to act. Even after I had cleared the illness, I was still in a death struggle. But everyone around me believed I was fine. I thought it my duty to believe the same.
There was a definite emotional distance from my thoughtsall of them. With tiredness in my head, I sensed a loss of some thing inside this part of my body I knew was confined there. But I could not quite fully engage the faint trail left over by the thoughts, at least for long enough to see where they went. I was mortified. To end this all, I thought about suffocating myself under pillows. But once my face became tingly, this body of mine came up for air. I knew I needed something else. Body was causing this, I thought. Body needed to go.
The next week, I discovered I could smack two pencils against the wooden chair in my room, making music like I heard on the radio. To my amazement, I could reproduce songs exactly. This made me happy and excited. But not everyone was happy.
"Stop drumming! Stop drumming now!" I could hear from the kitchen. I was afraid while father was yelling all the way downstairs, further away from the side of the house adjacent to the living room. It must have been Friday, I thought. I knew what I did wrong. Being very strict seventh-day Adventists, dad and Connie celebrated the Sabbath on Saturdays without any noise of a TV or radio. Indulgent activities were restricted from Friday eve to Saturday until around seven p.m. Without the noise of much else than Bible recitation happening downstairs, I was sure my musical gesture was heard loud and clear. But there was little room for what I really wanted to communicate to be heard.
Growing up a bit and reading a lot more, I found my literary sources were restricted to biblically oriented literature, or none at all. When I didn't want to look at the new electronic bible dad got for Connie, I took the opportunity to catch glimpses of strange things in dad's bathroom: computer magazines and books filled with electrical switches, lights, and circuit boards. In the bathroom, I caught glimpses of the world out there. But I also knew if you smashed the little parts I saw in the pictures, sounds would be created. Looking at dad's scientific magazines, I wanted to make music.
In accordance with Old Testament law, our family would not stand for such atrocities as eating pigs or certain fish. Ingesting the foul sin of the earth was not our duty as Christians. I had gathered this much. However, I could not understand why water was not allowed. I was supposed to set the table each time: fork here; spoon there, napkin beneath them. Dad and I got the big forks while providing Connie with the salad fork, as her hands were tiny. Dad had told me women are sometimes just physically weaker when doing things. As ours were a little heavier I thought it appropriate to give her the small fork. But I was still the runt of the family, the smallest member. Something did not make sense. After all, I had to act in accordance with the Law of the Bible. Before attacking meals with my big fork, we had to say grace:
"God, thank you for this food that we are about to receive. And thank you for all of our blessings. In 'Jesus-es' name we pray, Amen."
Glares from Connie let me know it was not good enough. So, sometimes I would try to make it longer. That I had failed at the prayer was at least true for me. I really never felt any connection to the words. I just wanted to eat Connie's great food. But just after prayer ceased, I watched father shovel food into his mouth at an enormous pace. When I tried to do the same, Connie yelled at me. I was hungry like dad. I wanted to be just like him. And I found a lot of things were stopping me from attaining to his likeness. After all, dad and Connie's was Monday through Wednesday, until every-other Wednesday, staying with mom every remaining Wednesday until Friday. In accordance with joint custody, Mom and Dad alternated weekends. In these complicated shifts, some rather obvious lifestyle conflicts started arising within me.
At my mother's I was learning Sumerian mythology and ritual. Dated somewhere around 5000 b.c., I tried to learn their alphabet. But the stone tablets on the Internet were too indecipherable. Making up for my inability to decode the truths, I learned about Aleister Crowley's Magick practice. Quickening my other three-or-so days lost, I coupled this study with Druidic Candle Magic. Next, I learned to make altars to the gods Marduk and Isthar, particularly how to summon them through charms. I moved on to banishing spirits using crystals, curses, hand-modes, and enjoyed the wonderful world of wands. In no way did these things seem weird or demonic to me; they were fun.
My best rituals happening during the eve, the soft dusk of the afternoon illuminated my altar space. Mom's house was a place of constant revelation and color around every corner. There, I loved the whole world. But with my juvenile understanding of magick, mere appreciation for the world wasn't enough: I wanted to control a few things. I had known at Dad's that barely anything was in my control: Dad was in control. Connie and the Bible were in control. Yet, something about my own life was not yet tamed. And it was my destiny.
The religion at Dad's had been too dry, strict, and bitter. I laughed at Connie occasionally, especially when she would tell me some story about people crossing the desert. I had never seen a desert. I thought the bible was a fairytale Dad and Connie just took very seriously. I knew it was also responsible for what we could not eat, what sounds I could not make, and what I was not allowed to talk about. So one evening, in preparation for a summoning ritual, I had constructed an altar to Marduk.
Excerpted from The Eyes of an Autistic Yogi by NATHAN H. FOX Copyright © 2012 by Nathan H. Fox. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted March 3, 2012
Odd book. You can tell it's a self-publish, but it's not bad by any means. It's too bad he went with iUniverse. I looked them up and found all this nastiness. He seems to have infuriated some people in the Philippines, which I think is hilarious. I also found iUniverse outsources a lot of their labor there? Weird. Anyway, if you are conservative religiously, you will hate this and want to burn it. I give it 4 stars for honesty. He's honest - I'm honest. Seems like iUniverse could have done better on the printing of the cover? It looks a little grey and pixelated.
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Posted March 5, 2012
Check this book out...it's well written and interesting reading. A lot of different ideas that might make you think.....excellent for this writer's first book.....I'm sure there will be more.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 5, 2012
I love the book! I'm a Christian and really didn't find it that bad. And my version wasn't grey (previous reviewer). I'm relieved to know stories and minds like these are out there. Belief differences aside, this is a young man who's written a very different book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.