Beyond Penis Island

I often talk about my tics as springboards for creativity. I share them on the site for people to make art from and I work with musicians, performers and writers to produce tic-inspired content.

But recently it’s started to work the other way round, with illustrations prompting tics. A few weeks ago I came home to discover a magical new land drawn in chalk on the castle wall.

In the absence of a title for the drawing, my tics dubbed it ‘Penis Island’, and decided it was about ‘desert island dicks’!

It didn’t bother me at all that it was there, particularly as it was only done in chalk. Unsurprisingly it didn’t last long, and life at the castle soon returned to normal.

Until today! To my delight, when I left for work this morning I discovered this:

And this:

And this:

What struck me particularly about this one was the slogan.

“Self control is a lack of soul”

This had a particularly personal poignancy for me. Having Tourettes means I can’t control my body or impulses in the way most neuro-typical people can. For ages I saw this as a problem, as my failing. But through conversations, creative encounters and Touretteshero I’ve come to see my tics as my power because they give me access to a spontaneous creativity that’s totally un-self-conscious.

Although my tics aren’t thoughts or ideas I can control, it often feels like they have an imprint of me within them – my character, my experiences, my sense of humour. The picture on the wall got me thinking about them as evidence of my soul.

Who’s responsible for this sudden spate of creativity on the castle wall is a mystery. Could it be the ghost of Arms back after several years, trying to impart some important message? Whoever it is, my tics have been coming up with titles for their drawings.

So far we’ve had ‘Just a Storm in a Wine Glass’ and ‘Rabbit Limb’, but because, like ‘Penis Island’, the drawings are in chalk, I don’t imagine they’ll be around for very long. For now my tics and I are just going to enjoy them while they’re there.

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