Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

ARTISM blog – art work of the month – Feb 09 “The Gadoodleborger”


The Gadoodleborger by Donna Williams This month’s art work is The Gadoodleborger.

In  Nobody Nowhere I had thought of the world as having ‘The Worlders’, which were those who were ego driven and geared for appearances and ‘My Worlders’ who were those who valued ‘beingness’, had and valued a world of their own, and for whom image, ego and appearances were only secondary.

Then, in   Somebody Somewhere, in 1994, I first wrote of another category of humans; Gadoodleborgers.   Gadoodleborgers weren’t ‘The Worlders’, nor were they people necessarily on the autism spectrum.  But what was special about Gadoodleborgers was that they were natural translators, bridgekeepers able to cross between worlds, diplomats, anthropologists interested in the wonderment of social difference and diversity.  I wrote a fable about them best captured in the poem, The Gadoodleborger:

GADOODLEBORGER, copyright, Donna Williams, Aug 2008

He spied her in a magic wood, a sensing creature in need of none

And dreamed of how he’d join her there, his partner she would soon become

He lured her back to the place he knew, a world of hierarchy and of power

And there she then began to die, as surely as a wilting flower

His heart began to break inside, he knew only one thing to give

Return her to her sensing world, that she might find the will to live

And there as she began to bloom, she saw something he’d never seen

That he was not of that world either, a Gadoodleborger, he had been.

That he walked between two worlds, he now had finally understood

And so they made their home in neither world, at the edges of the magic wood.

So for me, The Gadoodleborger is a source of faith in humanity, a reason to shun opportunities for reverse prejudice against non-spectrum people, a reason to believe that neurodiversity exists amidst human beings in general and in not reserved for those with diagnostic labels.  I have found Gadoodleborgers in the non-spectrum and autism spectrum populations and many many people in those populations are not Gadoodleborgonian, but I think I just may be rather Gadoodleborgonian and so I share this something with all other Gadoodleborgers throughout human kind, a something which defines me beyond being ‘an autistic’ and something which connects me to personhood more than labels.

The painting, The Gadoodleborger, was painted in Woolongong in 2002, the year my Gadoodleborgonian husband, Chris Samuel (who features in the book Everyday Heaven ), migrated to Australia from his UK homeland, allowing this homesick Aussie to return to live in Australia after almost 13 years away.   In this sense, it is our marriage, that of an autie with an Aspergerian Gadoodleborger, which is captured in this painting, something of the essence of Chris’ inquisitive interpretive mind and world of meaning, and mine as a place of sensing in the reality of someone partially meaning deaf, meaning blind and face blind.

The butterflies in the painting were originally rosella parrots, indicative of the return to Australia.  But they were turned into butterflies a few years later, symbols of change, transition, adaptation, perhaps just as I was changing, transitioning, adapting from a world of autism into a world of ARTism.

The painting was done in acrylics on stretched canvas and the grass is full of rainbows.  The colors capture the summer of Australia, and yet the lush dark green foliage across the water is perhaps the characters memories of the climate of the UK.

I hope you like the painting and feel free to visit my many other paintings in my online gallery at my website.


Donna Williams,

author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.