Self Portrait

I could be an ink on paper where the ink soaked through to where we meet

Nora Bateson
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readJul 2, 2022


Washi — Eriko Horiki. Photo courtesy of the author.

If I were a mathematical formula I would be a chalkboard full of symbols and arrows. No. I would be many such chalkboards.

Or maybe just a crayon writing 1+1=

With no answer. Wondering.

Perhaps as a song I would be a combining of something that resonates in thunderous bass tones with a lightness on top, and a thumping beat… there would be a chorus of punk rock. As well a clear ping ping of water on a ceramic bowl. Dancing.

Or as a meal I could be, on some days a handmade feast of carefully overlapping tastes, textures, and temperatures. Salty, and sweet, spicy and bitter. Singe your tongue in one bite, cool drink of bubbly in the next. Other days I am reheated leftovers, soaked in yesterday’s flavors. Reminding.

As a weaving I might have threads of moss, and my beloved’s hair, the purple plastic tassel from my bike when I was nine, the silk of longing, and itchy wool — (because life is many things but not comfortable). I would be an elfish cloak that allows for air, and magically keeps out the cold. Wrapping you in love and ideas and giving you gumption to explore. Tending.

I could be a painting, with thick chunks of color and contrasts, broad shapes that say BANG! Or the tiniest daintiest filigree of small brush strokes, a blade of grass arching in a breath of wind. An ink on paper where the ink soaked through to where we meet. Reaching.

I could be a poem, like water that reflects the me that you see, and changes each time you read it. Crafted in language so open that I remain able to move and change within the words. In that case I might not make sense. Learning.

I could be a forest, a meadow, or a tide pool. A desert or a tundra. I could be a puddle of muck that is just forming into moist possibility. I could be a mushroom holding the communication between trees. Living.

In each of these I am described in a set of messages that explain and confirm one another. Messages that sing to each other. A coherence is happening.



Nora Bateson
Human Parts

Filmmaker, writer, educator, lecturer, President of the International Bateson Institute. Books: Small Arcs of Larger Circles 2016, Warm Data *upcoming 2019