I, Noam Paco Gaster, was a 45 year old Seattle-based human when I created this site. My ongoing life mission seems to involve being at peace with myself, the universe, and the interaction between the 2.
I seem to be making some progress with at least the foundational leg of that journey-- cultivating some peace with myself. A big part of that seems to involve allowing loving acceptance for the seemingly "non-normative" trajectory through which my "body-mind" wants to travel through existence.
The expressive arts seem to provide a vital piece in that process of allowing loving acceptance.
About 4 or 5 years ago, during a period of pretty intense emotional, psychological, and spiritual agitation, I happened across a performance by Neil Marcus and Petra Kuppers entitled Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. It was a viscerally powerful experience for many reasons.
I remember Neil talking about his fears that his physical access needs would not be met on his airplane flight. I remember the multiple options for interactive engagement that Neil and Petra offered to the audience. I remember having the opportunity to become a physical support for Neil in an unexpected contact improvisation that allowed him to have moments of deep sustained eye-gazing intimacy with each of the audience members, one by one. I remember feeling a sense of communion, a sense of satisfying human connection, that I hadn't experienced in quite a long time. I remember thinking that if only I could find a way to move to the bay area and receive livelihood while working with Neil, then I could come free from the psychic knots in my being and find a tolerable way of being in the world.
I didn't end up moving to the bay area; apparently I've had more psychic knots to untangle from up here (in the pacific northwest) before such a move is possible or desirable. I did, however, think about my encounter with Neil and Petra years later, when I took an Introduction to Disability class with Joanne Woiak here at UW-- Seattle.
The class gave me an opportunity to hear multiple voices coming from disability rights and/or disability justice perspectives. It also invited me to identify my own place upon the disability spectrum. I began realizing that mental and emotional realities of mine had, at times, been disabling. I began getting more and more curious about the possibility of being part of a disability arts community.