More Andrew Solomon Love, no matter what

Jim Sinclair, a prominent Autism activist said, “When parents say, ‘I wish my child did not have Autism’ what they’re really saying is ‘I wish the child I have did not exist, and I had a different, non-Autistic child instead.

 

Read that again. This is what we hear when you mourn over our existence, this is what we hear when you pray for a cure, that your fondest wish for us is that someday we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.”

This project is a very emotional one for me. The above quote from Andrew Solomon’s TED Talk “Love, no matter what” reminds me of the struggle I’ve had with my parents and sisters.

A lot of time people who have these conditions are very angry because they feel as though their parents don’t love them, when what actually has happened is that their parents don’t accept them. Love is something that ideally is there unconditionally throughout the relationship between a parent and a child, but acceptance is something that takes time. It always takes time.

 

As I post this I have just finished watching this TED Talk a second time, and grateful tears stream down my face. I have spent so long grieving for the things that Jenny may never experience, the things that I may never experience. I have spent so long angry at the world for seeing us as the Other. It has taken me this long to realize that it is our Otherness that makes us who we are. We are not broken. We are special.

My sisters and me

My sisters and me

 

About Me

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Ex'pression College for Digital Arts. Photo by Tiffany Lo.

Ex’pression College for Digital Arts. Photo by Tiffany Lo.

My name is Katie Atkinson. I’m a digital film student at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville. I decided to go to Ex’pression because it has state of the art facilities including a motion-capture studio, a green-screen studo, and industry-standard audio and video recording suites. This is only my third term here, and I’ve met some amazing and talented people. I’m humbled by how much creative ability there is here at Ex’pression, and I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with people in the digital film program, as well as aspiring sound engineers, animators, and graphic designers.

A fraction of my writing resources

A fraction of my writing resources

I’ve been telling stories since I was a small child. I initially wanted to be a fiction writer, but as soon as I was exposed to movies I was struck by how much more visceral stories are when told in the medium of moving pictures and sound.

On a more personal note, my little sister was born with cerebral palsy. She can’t walk or talk and she primarily experiences the world via movies, television, and music.

My little sister Jenny rocking a fedora

My little sister Jenny rocking a fedora

I’m excited by how much she is able to experience second-hand via 3d films like Avatar and Hugo. Jenny has a terrific sense of humor and as one of her caretakers (I fill in when we can’t get nursing for her so that my parents can go to work and socialize) I’ve learned the value of humor both in life and from a storytelling perspective. I also think humor can be a great tool for educating people.

In ten years from now, I’d love to be writing for a TV show (preferably a comedy, but I also have a bit of a morbid fascination with more macabre television shows like Hannibal and American Horror Story.) In the realm of personal aspirations not necessarily related to a career, I’d love to get back into doing some stand-up comedy and improvisational theater.

Gorgeous sunset taken from my backyard

Gorgeous sunset taken from my backyard

I also hope to do freelance photography and possibly create some kind of funny sketch-comedy show to be distributed online via Youtube or Vimeo. As I already said, I really love comedy, be it sketch or stand-up. I’m clinically depressed and if it weren’t for a multitude of writers and comedians, I don’t know how well I would weather some of my more difficult stretches.

I’m particularly in awe of Maria Bamford. She uses her comedy as a platform to raise some awareness about Bipolar-II disorder. Margaret Cho has touched on her eating disorder and substance abuse issues in her stand-up. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are both incredibly funny and talented women I admire. As polarizing as she is, Lena Dunham is proof that a person can find success telling a story that matters to them (even if it might seem incredibly self-indulgent to people who can’t relate to her experience.)

Books by the brilliantly dark Chuck Palhaniuk

Books by the brilliantly dark Chuck Palhaniuk

Two fiction writers I really enjoy and strive to emulate are Amy Hempel and Chuck Palahniuk, both of whom studied Dangerous Writing with Tom Spanbauer. I’m fascinated with their sparse but evocative prose. David Fincher is one of my favorite directors and his attention to detail (in all his films, but particularly Zodiac) are something to be emulated.

I come at filmmaking with a focus on story. I’ve written everything from poetry to plays. I’ve dabbled in screenwriting I hope to do more here at Ex’pression. I love photography. I started taking photos at Giants games when I was a kid. I’ve done some stand-up performance and I’d love to do more comedy writing. I just got Apple Motion and I’m hoping to try my hand at some kinetic typography.