Silence Is a Four-Letter Word: On Art & Deafness
The Tenth Anniversary Edition
What follows is a hodgepodge of notes on being a deaf artist, or what I hope to be as an artist. I had been prompted because I kept thinking of how much time I could’ve saved if I’d read such notes when I was younger, worrying about my future as a deaf gay writer. I didn’t know where to go then, except to go to college, and I knew I desperately needed guidance. I needed reassurance that being very different as a writer was indeed all right. I remembered all these feelings when I saw the shining hopeful faces of young deaf writers I’d given a speech to before the winners of the 1998 MacDougall Creative Writing and Evans Journalism Awards at Gallaudet University were announced. What little they knew, and how much they knew! I wanted somehow to say, Here is what I’ve learned so far.
This book, I hope, will guide deaf people—actually, anyone who feels different for whatever reason—who feel themselves blessed with the impulse to create. Each artist grows and matures, so some advice and opinions dispensed here and there may not be appropriate for you—yet. The bottom line is to get you thinking about what art means to you, and how it could enrich your life. If art should challenge, as it should, I hope you will feel provoked by what I have to say in the pages ahead. Things I once believed in, I sometimes find, may not apply anymore, but the greatest gift in being an artist is the never-ending process of changing and evolving and rediscovering, and leaving behind a record of lessons learned. This is such a record.
That said, take from these pages what moves you now. And do come back when you’re older and wiser; take the rest of what moves you then. Only in disagreeing thoughtfully and passionately can you find a sudden agreement within yourself and your art.
“Written in the form of quick bursts of opinion arrived at over his many years as a poet, playwright, and filmmaker, Luczak seeks to shake deaf artists out of the cages built by the hearing world . . . There are plenty of opinions to argue with in this volume. Yet Luczak calls us to ask important questions of ourselves.” - Emily Drabinski, Out
“A penetrating account of the artist and his muse.”- Harlan Lane, author of When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf