I am among the neurotypicals, travelling through places stuffed with hidden mistakes and layered with inconceivable hurts that would be true elsewhere.

Selves are created by environments. It’s even worse when it’s the other way around.

Everywhere, there are nonsense nations, bordered by bald, leafless paths, beaches of quicksand and crocodiles. I swim with terminated wraths, wreathing wraiths, roaring raging moralities about how values are not what they used to be. 

The Gate to the Neo Nazis’ Club House on the Pirna-Sonnenstein Euthanasia Site in Saxony

There are anomalies.


They lurk

In forgotten prison cages, floating in cranial coffins. On the red chalk banks, where jolly gallows stand, surrounded by swirling flocks of angels that are not there. 

They call:




The sacred of some nowhere in their refrigerated morgues.

The stars of all true romance, where greetings are ritualistic, with kisses and slaps.

I am not yet on the maps, you dear armchair gorillas!

  • I am still ill and squeaking,
  • working the infinitely empty room
  • using languages you don’t speak,
  • a mic that mutes,
  • and doing the shuffle dance, once again,
  • upside down and hanging.

Because neurotypicals believe in a concept called time, I have drawn this little map to illustrate reality more clearly, as a point of reference. Ed.

I am snowed in under brown smoke. Buried on a communal farm. Sawed-off, armed to clamped yellow teeth with a taped pipe bomb for the attack.

The man is horse-haired and triple-gunned, a mad planning ape, pacing the floor, now rehearsing the last slogan of the attack to the Cambridge wards in refined rain, his foot in pain while knocking on doors, down endless streets of identical gates,

A map of Richard’s journey, which he left crumpled on the floor. Ed.

He is greeted by insane, false-toothed smiles, some with ratty hair under tweed hats, begging to be allowed to vote Liberal Democrat again.

Sign off on your wills!

Poets Have Failed to Explicate Creation!

And the street artists of the nightly street wars in the old communist East.

But laboratory “assistants” have.

Minds and Brains persons are constantly changing the DSM towards best descriptions and categories of disorders, presentations and assumed material, brain malfunctions, acronyms from case stories of varieties of social demons, while economists have their own turgid and invisible wild creatures, whose hidden movements, rising and falling, are actualized in symbolic materials and dancing lights. 

Dear Reader,

what Richard means at moments like this is that the self is a mask doubling as a virus, that you can pick up down at the corner store, or, if luck will have it, at your local cigarette kiosk, run by your apartment block warden, and, come on, you have one, you know you do. Here’s a whole collection of dress up parts for Richard, I stumbled upon at an identity kiosk in Erfurt (formerly it had served cheap East German cigarettes), in the hope of finding someone to put them on someday. Richard had obviously torn them off and run off without any disguise at all.

And so we search on. Ed.

Back to Richard in his labyrinth:

“They are both daddied by Marx, the almost poet, and the bad boyfriend, Keynes, the pacifist looser of investments and inducer of crashing frights. Politics, I’m saying, has pathologies: promises, accusations, bribes, tax-funded vacations, martyrdoms, massacres, crap kingdoms, wars, Clausewitzes, Sun Tzu, bleeders, bores, backstabbing and heroic betrayal and (redacted) ‘whatever’. Here’s some of that ‘whatever’.”

Richard catching some voltage at the old East German Border Station at Point Alpha, where an entire transmission line was redirected into a fence, and, as you can see by the levitation, into a Richard with a burner phone in his pocket and a pacemaker in his knee.

The hunt goes on.

But, poets!

  • God, what is a virtue?
  • What is vile?
  • What to weep for?
  • Why smile?

Love dying as dust.

Ladies and Gentlemanners, so you can be maps of this journey as well, here is the hunter’s ditty that Richard sang under his breath as he prowled the halls in search of a self, any self at all, to sit with. A vain hope, I know, but one does get nostalgic in one’s terror. Ed.

Dirty doves and divine lust: every mystery of human strength and fragility mystified improperly. Huge egos cracked like reptile eggs. Supposedly immortal princes pouting: dying dregs, like me.

Happier Days: Richard Flogging His Books to an Attentive Audience in the Fulda Gap

The long and short of it is how on Earth does one keep the proverbial chin up when the world is a grave, celebrated far and wide as the apocalyptic film of the year, screened on every retina:

Oy vey!

As the screenings in our minds become seamless in my theatre seat with the sticky spilled Orange Crush under my feet, literally glued to the spot, I watch, aghast.

Who will I be screened as today? Who you?

Another Day in a Refurbished Jewish Department Store in The Fulda Gap

The question has taken on a certain urgency. The last of my three personal enemies has died. As soon as I heard, I found myself cast in a new film, viz:

I do not mourn.

Real enemies, that’s what I’m talkling about Not the surreal social ones I spent a career fighting:

  • Mugabe,
  • Nixon,
  • all sorts of South Africans who have no names,
  • those who had done nothing to me.
  • one a development aide posturing as a benighted fraud,
  • one a thief who, in being exposed, was hidden, officially, and then ruined my family,
  • one a political charlatan, a police agent or equivalent,
  • a provocateur,
  • a vacuum for mincing idealists,

I say nothing here about continuous painful memory.

Welcome to Fulda, the city in the Fulda Gap, which was supposed to be the site of World War III. It was all planned. There was even a cathedral there to stop the Russian tanks in their tracks. Ed.

Meanwhile, back in the labyrinth: One of Canada’s initial trolls, a predator entranced with selfies, a posturing parasitic hollower-out and self-groupie, a small part of why a culture never was, even before e-intellect (sic) webbed us, made another family into a passed wind, like Russian dolls but backwards…

…a small void within a larger one, all within the never and the nowhere.

After each death, I became a different person, only to reflect, again, my self:


Do not forget. I am among the neurotypicals. I am giving them a report from the world. I do not know how they will read it, but then, I do not know how they will read you. Until next time, watch out for snakes. Remember what you can if you can.

Canadian Culture in Lesotho

The new book by Rathwell and Rhenisch, the wake for the precursor to AI, Robin Blaser, a kind of American intervention into the Coast Mountains of the Northeast Pacific shore, Don’t Expect the Sun to Shine…

… is itself a remake of Lindsay Anderson’s sheepish film, O Lucky Man!

… which was less a film than the stage for a soundtrack by Alan Price …

… with Alan playing many of the parts between gigs.

When I saw it in a small mountain town in British Columbia in 1974, the theatre manager was so confused by it that he refunded our tickets. Richard had already left British Columbia. Not long after, he received his education in how little Canadian culture could do at that time, when exported to Africa. The experience is included in his visual novel Ultreye. He went as a Canadian. He finished his NGO experience as a being with two minds.

Ultreye is a post-individual viewpoint that saw the Western self as two selves, from the viewpoint of a non-Western third personality. Neurotypical literature and psychology would eagerly point out that this third personality is self awareness, as indeed it is. As a neurodivergent artist, Richard was discovering how

Neurodivergent literature employs the humour of masks, puppetry, buffoonery, and play. It seeks intrusions of objects bearing projections of selves aware of their fictional nature to turn both selves and fictions into dramatic stages. It then bows and departs. 

As Richard learned from two decades of poking at literature as protest (and the police beatings that followed), this literature can be real action in a material world. It doesn’t have to be penned within the thorn hedge of a book. A Canadian abroad doesn’t have to follow the time-honoured model of embedded English writers, such as Sir Richard Burton…

… who “explored” Kenya like this:

Burton “exploring” Africa.

Richard Rathwell learned just how much literature and imagery can be euphemisms for silence and silencing, even at the same time that they are voice. The colony of Basutoland has been the independent African state of Lesotho since 1966, with the British Crown occasionally making it a protectorate due to the mangling of any ability at administration out of the Cape Colony.

In the end, Queen Elizabeth II became less a symbol of colonialism but of an invitation to modernity and independence:

Queen Elizabeth II inspecting the Territorial Police

With a purse!

This learning experience led to Richard’s fraught return to Canada thirty years later, documented in Don’t Expect the Sun to Shine. As Richard laid it down, colonialism remained very individual in Lesotho, and always contrary to expectations. What looked like good deeds and foreign aid support remained as ridiculous as Capetown’s experience with demilitarization on a model learned from the Highland Clearances in Scotland and foreign aid workers seemed to remain as stuck in inappropriate imagery as these oblate fathers moving a heavy imagery of the Boer exodus into Basutoland a century before:

A colonial initiative that continues to succeed in places like Nepal, the giving of goats as the foundation of an economy, ran right up against another aid initiative that seems obvious to any Canadian’s heart, the planting of trees. What in British Columbia, might have looked like this…

Tree Planting in British Columbia in 1973

Note the US Army Surplus T-Shirt

… but which was really a heavy-handed conflict with Indigenous land use…

… became an environmental and social disaster in Lesotho. To be effective in a global context, a Canadian first has to learn what Canada’s culture is in a global context and integrate it, not the other way around. As Richard documents:

A still from Ultreye


After that, Richard devoted himself exclusively to world literature, arguing that Canadian Literature does have a place there, albeit a neurodivergent one. That is, it could support divergence rather than convergence. Or independence rather than integration. Or literacy in images rather than to the authority of words. Watch how Richard’s intelligence became a field of interest, played from many points, instead of as an individual.

For those of you not from Britain’s old Black and Métis colony on the Northeastern Pacific, British Columbia, here is Horsefly:

Here’s how the American ranching culture that settled in Horsefly in 1864 (just as Blaser’s incursion in 1966) worked out in Lesotho:

Richard was learning that the neurodivergence that made his participation at university in Vancouver more of a protest than a partnership, had strengths in the world. Three lessons he learned are:

Neurodivergent worlds are diverse and alive and have diverse agencies.

Neurodivergent literature moves through them all.

Instead of abstraction and cultural traditions as foundations, it employs multiplicity of views and selves in flux.

These selves in flux led to the stop screen motion of the screen book, Don’t Expect the Sun to Shine. There, the wake, a celebration of academic literary connection goes awry when the city speaks…

It became a feast, but not for Blaser’s descendants. But then…

Life is like that.

Do check out Don’t Expect the Sun to Shine. You can order your copy from your bookstore or from Eighth House Publishing in Montreal.


Neurodiverse Writing with Rathwell & Rhenisch

We have a new book of writing that steps away from literary narratives to talk straight about narratives told from within neurodiversity. It is also a wake for the city of Vancouver and its totemic poet Robin Blaser.

It is on the presses as we speak.

This is important stuff. In a world that is growing to embrace diversity, one great unifying diversity is often overlooked, even as humans display a wide range of abilities at finding narrative in the world.

Here’s a sample of our approach, using a book as a series of video screens and reading itself as a projector.

Does that sound odd? It’s everyday stuff to us. And it’s rather easy to follow, don’t worry. Here is a sample from the book to demonstrate. Just let your eye follow where it will. It knows:

You’ve been watching Richard describe how his neurodiversity creates reality as a series of alternatives, which leap from one to the next. It is a kind of unfolding, not a sequence of plot points. One of the salient characteristics of neurodiverse literature is that

instead of metaphor, neurodiverse literature changes perspective. This can include change of self or personality.

What happens when this type of personality is measure by neurotypical long-term personalities that change plots instead of selves is the subject of this example from the book. Richard describes a study he once had to endure:

What I am displaying with my choreography for Richard’s memoir is another principle that guides the book in its opening:

Neurodivergent literature is a tapestry.

Unlike linear narrative, such as the novels of, say, Salman Rushdie or Margaret Atwood, to name just two, which are tied from strings of interconnected action and consequence driven by projection and recollection of emotional memories, it is woven from the multiple dimensions of bodies in space, which it bends to set them moving. Touch is important here. Richard continues. As you read on, notice how images and words are diverging. The narrative is being given over to imagery. The words become used more in the manner of images than texts.

Did you see how several realities are starting to be held up at the same time? That transformation includes reading as an act that is entering the world of the study itself. This kind of multi-layered approach is common in neurodivergent literature and thought.

Instead of plot and character, neurodivergent literature employs tricks, riddles, jests, correspondences, transformations, pattern, sudden detail, irony, sarcasm, quoting, changes of scale and increasing intensity in place. It creates magnetic fields and auroras, freeways and subway grids. It rides them.

Richard and I continue this dance, as the thought unfolds, and then break it as the self it has created starts to morph into a new one. It is important to return narratives (and books) to a human scale. The machines are watching. We need to be able to step aside now and then and breathe.

This notion that writing would make one feel real is common for neurodivergent thinkers, who struggle as much to understand the exotic thinking patterns of neurotypical people as they are of neurotypical ones. What we are trying to do in this book is to place us all into a common language. After all…

Neurodivergent literature is an intervention, an interjection, an exclamation, and even an insubordination, but never a kidnapping. It does not rely on the social authority of an author.  It turns the social authority of books into playgrounds and landscapes of strangeness and wonder and it doesn’t tell stories. It walks through them to initiate conversations and create collaborations.

That’s what we’ve done here. We love to laugh. We hope you do, too. This is, after all, a wake. Sláinte!

We have a lot to share. Please join us in this book as we set to rest Robin Blaser and the world of writing entombed in books.


The Dream of an Uncommon Language: Part 1

In restless sleep, I will dream of virtuous government.

Now that literacy has eroded, words are visual artefacts again. Visual literacy is back!
A Floodlight for the new world.

With merciless policies clearing the nests of poets and narrators. Of moral exactness and shaming psychological illuminations by sudden floodlight.

Commit Your Memory to Memory

I will dream of a literature which evades beauty with duplicitous integrity.

Freed from Buchenwald, the Comrades Enter the Bronze Age

The good have none of the best weapons. They do not have the best lines. Their images are tattered.

Protest erases guilt. Or affirms it. Quick! Choose!

The others have the fire. They triumph before the rain tumbles over us and batters with what’s left of the good.

You cannot leave Buchenwald. That’s the thing. Or can you?

I spent a lifetime as a body, preparing to have these reams now approaching a reader and the way the reading, especially the process of challenging assumptions and expectations, is managed.

As a body, I travelled with death and pain, with malpractice, have been battered with corruption and betrayal almost constantly for at least a decade, with impossible love and dreamless sleep…

That’s a poetry book in the child’s hand.

…twisting and shouting with nightmares.

The barbarism is that Adorno both did and did not say this.

If you don’t arm yourself against fiction right now, you are click bait.