Isaac McCaslin , Treasure Trove , Acrylic on canvas, 32 x 40 in, 2012

Isaac McCaslin, Boardwalk Loading, Charcoal on paper on 3 panels, 48x96 in, 2012

Isaac McCaslin, Spurious Amalgamation, Oil on canvas, 48 x 96 in, 2012

Isaac McCaslin, Ludic Fallacy, oil on 3 canvases, 44 x 102 in, 2012

On view at The Porch Friday November 2, 2012 will be “Cherchez La Vérité” an exhibition of multimedia work of six seniors from the fine arts department of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The artwork explores divergent perspectives that comprise an underlying vision dealing with truth as it relates to sociopolitical, natural, and universal forces. 
Alexandra Olivier is working with industrial materials, clay and video installations to convey a fundamental spiritual connection to truth. Candace Whittemore paints with traditional media and fibers to reflect on intimacy, interpersonal relationships and cultural interactions. Isaac McCaslin Paintings convey a philosophical nervousness toward the acceptance or rejection of technology and simulations in light of a deteriorating environment. Lacey Fuquea paints and works with video installation to spark a dialogue about suppression, expression, and censorship. Rhett Scott fills his drawings, and paintings with mixed media and complex imagery that invite the viewer to question the instability of the human condition. And, Xavier Robles de Medina’s work exhibits spatial deconstruction through line and circuitry.
“Cherchez La Vérité” will take place November 2, 2012 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at The Porch on 31st and Drayton St. Savannah, Georgia.

For more Information or images contact:
Isaac McCaslin (985) 630-8674
Alexandra Olivier 504.812.1259
Candace Whittemore (912)659-0780
Xavier Robles de Medina

Palestinians are Collateral Damage in American Foreign Policy

Interestingly, the third Presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney, which centered of foreign policy, failed to mention the Palestinian situation. The only time the word "Palestinians" was mentioned, it was by Romney, who accused Obama of not making progress in reaching a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. (Yes, the same Romney who just few months ago said that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Look who is talking!!). Needless to say, Israel was at the centre of the debate, with both candidates competing on who between them is a better friend to Israel.

The fact that we were not mentioned is still a major upgrade from the Republican debate earlier this year, when we were called "invented", and when it was said that our text books teach how to kill Jews, that we Palestinians do not want a two state solution, and that we want to eliminate the state of Israel. 

This makes me wonder whether Palestinians have become collateral damage when it comes to America's foreign policy. It seems that American Politicians, like the Israelis, are now content to keep things as is they are for the next few years. The occupation is becoming the norm. In fact Romney explicitly said this in his infamous-behind-close-doors fund raiser in May. Obama, on the other hand, and as Romney said, has done nothing towards bringing the Palestinians their right, as evident from his opposition to the UN Palestinian Statehood bid, and he has done virtually nothing to oppose Israel's continual settlement policy.

Meanwhile, Israelis seem to be content with the situation as is, and with Israel being labeled as an apartheid state, as evident from a recent poll that was just published. The poll indicates that most Israeli Jews would support an apartheid regime in Israel. "A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank." 

In a debate where both candidates claimed that they want to see freedom and equality in the Arab world, and where they seemed very concerned and alarmed about the fate of the revolutions in Egypt, Syria and Libya, it is ironic that nothing was mentioned about the fate of the Palestinians. How long can the occupation go on without being challenged? How long can USA and Israel deceive themselves and their peoples by continually ignoring the rights of Palestinians for self determination? Israel and USA continue to oppose the Palestinian bid for statehood, claiming that this constitutes a barrier to peace, or even “diplomatic terror.” Yet as Hanan Ashrawi eloquently argued, "the idea that we are supposed to get permission from our oppressor to obtain our freedom is simply absurd." 

Both Obama and Romney are guilty of double standards in their continual neglect of the Palestinians, simply because we do not serve their interest. When both were asked in the debate about America's role in the world - I wondered how people in the Arab world view America's involvement in the world.  For us the answer is simple. America is interested mainly in advancing America's own interest, whether it is through power or through diplomacy. We are not buying into this "we want to bring you freedom and democracy business". So please, STOP using this rhetoric, because it only reveals your hypocrisy.

Does Isaac need to be flexible for yoga?

In the year before diagnosis, appointments with a plethora of professionals came thick and fast. But any revealing results were slow in coming and thin on the ground. The only real discovery we made was that one of us taking Isaac was better than both. A distraught child can elicit antagonism between the most harmonious of couples. With screaming and scratching focused on whoever was closest, the other parent becomes as helpless as the advice they are trying to give. A negative vortex of emotions ensue.

My wife did the lion’s share of these trips that were always met with a roar of disapproval from Isaac. Each one a nightmare with everything stacked up clumsily against him. His specific traits that we knew little of then were being completely compromised and this contaminated his mood and sensibility severely. His strict, systemised mind had to deal with variable waiting times, confined spaces, no entry zones, toys he wasn’t used to, toys he was, and toys he had to stop playing with. And his intense sensory seeking was bombarded with bright lights, beeping sounds, buttons, flashes, people milling about and more. (All this was probably even more disorientating to him than the actual therapy, blood tests, occasional scans, lights shone in his eyes, and people testing – or simply misreading - him.)

Isaac would surface from these gruelling sessions puffy eyed, exhausted and sad. This disgruntlement with the world left him out of sync and out of action for the rest of the day. The same can be said for my wife, and on the occasions I took him, me too. At least one of us had been spared, knowing that our presence would have made things worse.
My perceived clarity of these events benefits from hindsight of course. Was it that bad? Most probably. Knowing now what I didn’t then makes it all crystal clear. It also provides something very instructive – that the contrast to the visits to professionals where the environments accommodate him as opposed to alienate him is stark.

We still split activities between the two of us, as much for reasons of time efficiency as damage limitation. And Yoga is an activity my wife has been taking Isaac to that he simply adores. Now it was my turn. I would be taking him to this appointment with a professional on my own.

The instructions from my wife were, as always, deep and detailed. Isaac’s daily schedules need to be carried out to the letter - surprises spell disaster more often than not. That much we know. I absorbed the instructions, fully preparing to apply them consciously. But then I had a thought. And it came from the comparable anxiety and dread I used to experience - when I would at some point physically drag this boy into and out of meetings; him screeching, disapproving people everywhere. What’s the polar opposite of deliberately and forcefully having to navigate Isaac around when he least expects it? Letting him lead the way is.
Something he does with mummy, he knows daddy is taking him this week - why not let him apply his exacting daily schedule to this event he so enjoys. Put him in a position of control. I’d be the flexible one for the yoga trip. Ambitious and daring maybe. But, as I say, the contrast to where we were brings things into focus.

From the moment we pulled up at the yoga centre – that I’d never been to before – Isaac started to orchestrate proceedings in his (currently) clipped tones and precise manner. “Daddy, stop the car please! This is Charlotte’s house! We are going to do yoga now. Daddy can you stay outside, please. Isaac kisses knee. Now we are going up in lift. Okay??” His commentary style of speaking means that right now he resembles a 1950s TV football reporter. With a slightly higher voice. There’s a purpose and momentum to all his discourse. “Isaac, where are we going?” I asked, genuinely baffled by the different doors, stairs and alley ways. “This way, please. Through the door, daddy. To Charlotte, OK”, he said skipping adeptly through a door and up some stairs.
Inside this predictably tranquil and composed centre, Isaac ran into the arms of Charlotte. There was a shared happiness and appreciation that something extraordinarily brilliant and fun was about to happen between them. He took his shoes off in a swift way that I’d barely seen, and slotted them neatly in a box in a way I’d never seen. And then together, Charlotte and Isaac skipped into a room and closed the door. The smoothness and speed of everything left me surprised but as serene as the surroundings.

When, pre-diagnosis, Isaac was being examined or having therapy - or whatever –waiting to hear the next scream was heart in the mouth stuff. Conversely, there’s nothing more heart warming than hearing the giggles and elation of your at-peace son emanating from a room where he’s being stimulated, developed and understood.
After twenty minutes, the door opened and Isaac, with a sublime smile, eyes wide, delighted and fixed on mine, sprinted into my arms. We hugged and I held him tightly, overcome. A five year old running into a parents arms may be an everyday occurrence; probably not when the child has autism though. And whilst Isaac is hugely affectionate (with ‘learned’ cuddles the latest addition to his evolving physical language) this run and hug had a more profound feel – and felt amazing. He ran because he was desperate to tell me about what happened and I sensed that gorgeous anticipation, the connection which was so constrained in his early years. I saw it in his eyes. Charlotte read the situation immaculately, teasing out little questions for Isaac to answer and sow together a little narrative from his session: “What did you kiss Isaac?” “I kissed my knee” “What did you say?” “I said Isaac om..” “How do you feel Isaac?” “I feel fantastic!”

Isaac took me to the big, clunky lift (I remembered that going up in the stairs and down in the lift was the routine) and we waved goodbye to Charlotte. Then barely keeping up with him, we went to the car. And as we drove off, I reminded myself of the disgruntled, out of sorts, sad boy of pre-diagnosis, and then looked at this now calm and collected boy. He was content, I imagine, as much from the yoga as from knowing that his specific plans had been executed with the precision he yearns.

But as with all things autism, I made a note to appreciate the moment and not look too far ahead. A trip to the opticians with all its discomfort, unpredictability and need for Isaac to be flexible is on the horizon.

My desk is starting to feel like...

Spending a lot of time sitting at this...
But I wish I was sitting in this....

Car Concept Design Print

Behold One of my first prints that will be available at CTN next month! And for the first time I managed to capture some WIP shots. I have more detailed ones with technique and design instructions that I will add later on. Hope you enjoy!


Some designs for the vampire who appears in my unofficial treehouse of horror comic.

Halloween cut out friend things

Sketch Dump

Some More Sketches

Home, Sweet Home!

We finally made it home! Isaac is doing great with transitioning.  Below is our first picture as a family of 5...walking through the airport. We were welcomed with a party of family and friends.  We are so loved and blessed with wonderful people in our lives. 

Following the airport we went straight to Frisch's for some vegetable soup! Yummo! Isaac and the girls enjoyed suckers after dinner, of course!

The next day we loaded up early and went to watch Georgia play volleyball. Boy how we've missed our kiddos and everyday life!!

Monday morning we loaded up, dropped G off to school, E off to her mamaw's, and took Isaac to Children's International clinic for his first checkup.  He did spectacular!  Two shots, TB test, and 10 viles of blood drawn didn't make him too happy...but he still did way better than we had anticipated! 

We have been blessed with such a loving family and group of friends.  God has blessed us beyond measure and owe everything we have to Him!

God bless,


The most common question people ask me about Warm Bodies is, "When is the sequel?" I've been hearing that question for over two years now, and it's a strange one. Why would people assume I'm writing a sequel? The vast majority of books don't have sequels. Do they figure that because I wrote a book about zombies, I must be a crass commercialist who wants to stretch out his one hit as long as possible? Cash in and milk the teat dry? I thought about all the writers who have influenced me--people like Cormac McCarthy, Douglas Coupland, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Dave Eggers, Joseph Heller, J.D Salinger, Charlie Kaufman, Jeanette Winterson, Jonathan Lethem, Chris Adrian, Stephen King--and noted that King is the only one who ever wrote a sequel. And even he only did it twice in a 50-book career.

Clearly, there is something uncool about writing sequels. None of the writers whose careers I hope to emulate have done it--in serious literary circles, it just isn't done.

The thing is, I am writing a sequel.

I can see the reactions now: some smiles, some furrowed brows, some eye-rolls. People have urged me not get stuck in a rut, to move on and explore new territory, because as the above-mentioned Jeanette Winterson put it, "Sequels are for when a writer runs out of ideas."

I have not run out of ideas. I have more ideas than I'll ever be able to write, three of which already have their first chapter written. But as much as I'm pawing the ground to dive into those stories, here's why I'm staying in R and Julie's world a little longer: their story isn't finished.

I wrote Warm Bodies having only the faintest hope that it would ever see publication. I never dreamed that I'd have the opportunity to continue the story in another book, so I tried to make it self-contained. But in my head, I still went ahead and created a big, complex world full of history and mystery and people and monsters and strange things in-between, all moving toward something only hinted at in Warm Bodies' brisk 256 pages. Those pages end with hope on the horizon, but the world that R, Julie, M, Nora, Rosso, and Perry inhabit is still very dark, very wild, and not even close to "saved."

I love that world. I love those people, and I want to show you what happens to them. So I'm writing another book about them. Another book-and-a-half, actually...but I'll explain that later. For now, just trust that I have a story to tell and a reason to tell it, and I'll try my best not to ruin everything.

I love you people. Thanks for being alive.


Value Studies

Made a lot of art this weekend! But I wont be sharing all of it so I have some new stuff to share at CTN. You'll have to stop by the booth to see the rest! Or if you can't wait, subscribe to my Facebook page for more art updates.


When is Jack in the Box going to delve into the nature and origins of the creature they call “Jack”? His wife is human, but his son is…like him. So whatever Jack is, we know he can pass on his traits to his offspring, which would make him a biological life form. But the improbability of that head—no functional mouth or sensory organs—combined with the way his voice is distant and muffled suggests a man locked inside a giant plastic helmet, ala The Man in the Iron Mask. And his son? Could Jack have inflicted the same imprisonment on his son at birth as some kind of twisted stamp of paternity, knowing it's the only way he'll ever find another human being who can relate with him? What about his wife? Is she his prisoner too? Or is he hers?

Headed Home!! Ky Bound!!

We are in the airport, about to go through our gate! Yeah....we made it!!! We owe a huge thank you to the following two gGodly men, Deo & Brian.  They made sure we made it everywhere exactly when we were supposed to be!  They have started a ministry of spreading God's word called, Be A Blessing...that's what they want to do...bless others the way God has blessed them! We loved having them around!!

To help kill some time we are letting Mr. Isaac enjoy his first (of many more) Twix bar! 

Can't wait to see you all! Love you guys!


Hanging Out Time!

While in Africa I have missed my girlies at home soooo bad!  I know they were and are well taken care of and have had a blast.  Below is a pic of my girls ready for church! You don't realize just how much you love your church and church family until you can't go there (at least for the time being). Of course after church they were continuing to be spoiled at Chuck-E-Cheese (of course, my favorite spot...not)!


Since we have had some idle time with Isaac...he's had quite a bit of fun!  He enjoys playing with his new sunglasses, as well as trying on different hats! 

We also had a mini-celebration can see the cake below.  It was so yummy!!! Homemade from scratch...even the icing! :)

Last, but not least, we were able to enjoy a wonderful dinner out. Isaac did great and sat in his high chair the entire meal. There were even fireworks as we finished eating (celebrating Ug*nda's independence)...and Isaac just kept saying...awww at each one! 

Hopefully we will be back in the states by the time you read the next post! Continued prayers are greatly appreciated still!


October sketchbook stuff

Book Signings Begin Again on Friday

Well, I feel like I am getting ready to get back in the saddle. Costco has invited me to do four book signings this month, the first of which is on Friday, October 12, at the Murray Costco from 2-5pm.
 Next week on October 18th, I will be at the SLC Costco from 2-5pm and October 19th at the Bountiful Costco from 2-5. October 26th, I will be a the Sandy Costco from 2-5.
I will not have my new book with me at that time as layout and design for Borrowing Fire has begun, but the book will not be complete and available until Dec 1. These book signings are only for the first three books in the Niederbipp Trilogy. If you need an extra copy for gifts for Christmas, come to Costco. Or if you just want to stop by and graze on the free samples, I would be happy to see you.
I came out to studio a two weeks ago and started my work in the clay again after some weeks of spending all my time writing. For several weeks I had been thinking about what I thought would be my next book, but on the day I began working in the studio again, another idea for a book opened in my head and I had to get a notebook and write down the new ideas that came to me. After trying to avoid it because of the work I need to get done in the the studio, I am beginning today with my the new book. The title will likely be "The Ten Jewels." I won't say what it is about or when to expect it, but today will be the first day to work on it. I hope after Christmas to be able to dedicate a lot of time to the project.
I am working on developing more faith. I am trying to remember to consider the lilies. Looking back on my life, I see the hand of God over and over again as answers have come and my needs and wants have been provided for. But sometimes, at the crossroads, it is hard for me to let go and believe. I have learned again and again that God rarely wants what we're naturally willing to give Him. He wants our best—the best of who and what we are. He doesn't want our weaknesses; He wants our strengths, our talents, our desires, our very best. It would be so much easier to give Him something other than my talent and time with pottery. Pottery, after all, has been my passion. It has provided for me and my family for more than seventeen years. It is the best of who I am and what I have chosen to do with my time. It is hard to imagine giving up that passion when it's what I know the best, especially when I am making the best work of my life. But I know I cannot dedicate my time to writing the books I feel compelled to write and continue to make pottery like I have in the past and like I have been trying very recently to do again. I have so many ideas I may never get to in pottery. I will likely lose all sorts of potential sales to galleries and individuals—I suppose I already have, but somehow it will be worth it. I have been reminded that I need to leave my nets and do something more. And when I remember the lilies, I know I have nothing to fear. God has always taken care of my and my family, even when I couldn't see how it would happen. Sorry about the personal thoughts, but I didn't know where else to write it and it needed to come out somewhere where I would be accountable for it.
I will write again soon. For now, I need to get writing.


Ride along street cleaner and something mean looking?

Welcome. I'm going to Talk about Autism.

This blog will try to be truthful. There will be painful episodes. That are tinged with regret and envy, frustration and the need to forget. Equally posts will talk of promise and potential. My wonder at the workings of my son's brain. The many triumphs that autism brings. The positive tears.

Because what I want to share is the everyday role autism plays in my life. When it takes centre stage, like the end of term school play with all its associated anxieties. Or when the parts played by a supporting cast of family, friends and professionals inspire, impact or irritate.
And as if to demonstrate the non-linear, ever changing nature of autism, I may flit from the current to any time since diagnosis, in January 2011, and back again. Themes may be revisited. In the colourful world of autism, discipline is never black and white, and always something to discuss, evaluate and discuss some more. Likewise learning and language. Not to mention denial. What about what ifs? They exist and will be personally examined for sure.

My first post is about the organisation, Ambitious about Autism, and more specifically their online resource, Talk About Autism, who’ve kindly agreed to promote the blog within their community and beyond:

When I first heard Ambitious about Autism, I thought ‘what an alluring alliteration’. But this was before autism affected me in any way. The advertising agency I’d previously worked at had done the charity’s branding, and I’d always kept an eye out for their work. I liked what I’d seen. Marketing wise.

So when my son, Isaac, was diagnosed in early 2011, and we emerged from the paediatrician’s meeting drained and drowning in a sea of information, that alluring alliteration rose to my mind’s surface and proceeded to be a lifeboat of sorts.

Eighteen months on and my wife and I are fully immersed in the organisation as Parent Patrons. And it’s Talk about Autism (TAA), the vibrant online community within Ambitious about Autism that has perhaps been most critical to helping us come to terms with Isaac’s autism.
In its most basic form, TAA is a forum (ever so gently) moderated by the brilliantly enthusiastic Mike. Where questions are posed and answered, conversations launched and new people nurtured with the help of the community champions. It’s actually a lot more than that. It’s a safe haven from the everyday assault course of discrimination, generalisations, judgements, ignorance and, well, exhaustion and difficulties, that parents of children with autism battle with (to varying degrees) day in, day out.

The sense of isolation that we feel having a son with autism is quite subtle. Friends and families are accepting and alert. But we can’t expect them to appreciate or even understand the intricacies that can be so defining yet, if handled wrongly, debilitating. Rigid routine, peculiar diet and sensory stimulation are on the face of it easy concepts to digest, right? Wrong.
There’s the Isaac who people see as grumpy, bad tempered, and badly behaved – and therefore unable to sit and interact at a birthday party. Then there’s the real Isaac who we know is disorientated because the room looks radically different to when he was last there, over stimulated by bright lights, noise and a plethora of unknown people – and therefore unable to sit and interact at a birthday party.

In the TAA community, everyone knows that we are living the latter; and that reassurance literally gives us strength. It can also give us answers. Pushing scooters the wrong way, flapping flannels, licking, microwave obsessions, repeating words, requesting that I smile many times a day to confirm I’m happy (because in his specific mind, if I’m not smiling I’m not happy), Isaac’s autism changes from month to month. Someone in the community will always be able to explain or empathise or both.
TAA stretches beyond the forum of course. It acts as a diligent and discerning curator of the multitude of autism information online. A measured number of relevant stories are posted that help us to continue our understanding. Only recently Mike posted a piece that articulated succinctly the difficulty people with autism have with discriminating stimuli. How they struggle to ignore what may be irrelevant because they are visually bombarded by lots and lots of stuff all the time.

This helped me understand – and explain - why Isaac might find himself focussing on a book on a crowded bookshelf as opposed to the big and loud children’s entertainer performing in front of the barely noticeable bookshelf (let alone book). It’s his way of making sense of his environment at that point in time.
And one last point to make about TAA, is that it puts people with autism’s well-being at the heart of everything – by enabling healthy debate. People have different views and experiences. Which will happen with this complex, life-long condition. By listening to other’s advice and choosing to agree or disagree, discount or discuss, we are all moving in the right direction towards a better life for the whole autism community.

It's Almost time

Only a little over a month until CTN expo! I will be there exhibiting for the first time this year, please drop by and say hello! Also..some big news on the way within the next month. Stay tuned for a lot of art!

One Happy Boy

Good news!!!  We are one step closer to heading home!
We will know more for sure on Friday :)
Isaac enjoying a swing for his first time ... NOT a fan
at first, but now likes it.
We introduced him to PaPa's iPod.  Now PaPa will have to share.  This boy LOVES music and will be dancing in the livingroom with Grandma.
Wearing Daddy's UK hat.
Daddy went to buy Isaac a soccer ball and he is sooo happy!  It was precious!!  They are playing outside now. 
Little Miss Georgia has started playing volleyball
and we will miss her first 3 games. 
Here she is playing just Fan-tabulous!

Waiting...waiting...something I'm not too good at...yet!

So, obviously we did not receive Isaac's passport today.  We did receive contact from the US Embassy that they were expecting us and wanted to check on the passport.  Unfortunately, Chad sat in a person's office all day waiting for the passport paper to be signed the last time required before printing Isaac's passport.  Well, he didn't sign the paper today, so maybe tomorrow we will get it signed.  The US Embassy only works until about noon on Fridays, so I'm thinking we won't get to complete our interview and paperwork there until the beginning of next week.  This means that we will not be arriving back in the USA until next week! :(

Right now we are in need of prayer for patience!  Chad and I are trying our best to keep it together and not take out our stress on one another, but this is easier said than done! We all know how I like to jump right in and get things done....I'm not the best at sitting around and waiting, waiting, waiting, and waiting some more!  God is certainly teaching us to rely fully on Him and not on our time and schedules.  But, then again, like I am a planner or a list maker anyway!?!? I most definitley did not and do not have a calendar drawn on the back of an envelope with expected dates and an agenda or a list of things still needed to be completed on the opposite side with check marks and intended dates! :) So, my memory verse for quite a while is and will be~ "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phillipians 4:6


Design Begins Tonight

After a long month of editing and making artwork for the book, the layout and design is finally starting. My buddy, Bert Compton, who designed my other books is working on this one as well. The new book is called,
Borrowing Fire: 
Rewriting the Eulogy For a Boy Named Wolf. 

If all goes as we plan, it will be available on December 1.
I am excited about this one. Everyone who has read it likes this one even more than the Niederbipp Trilogy. I am really happy about that. It is hard to start something new after so many of you have expressed strong feelings about the Isaac books. It is nice to be moving on to the next story, and I have already begun working on the next book after this one. This is hard for me to believe as I never in a million years imagined I would write even one book. I will be writing more about it in the coming months as we prepare for its release, but it is exciting to be moving on to the next step.
I should mention that I received word last week that Costco will be selling the Niederbipp Trilogy again starting this month in Utah. I am not sure if they will be in all of the stores, but I know for sure at the Bountiful, Murray, Sandy and Lehi stores. I will be signing a few times this month and next and will post those dates tomorrow or the next day. If you want to spread Niederbipp this Christmas season, you are always welcome to come and pick them up from me at the studio, or if it's more convenient, your local Costco might have them too. Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope to see you on or after Dec 1 to show off the next book!