The Words He Cannot Say
October 19-November 21
Leo Bird (b. 1991, Ames, Iowa) was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. Unlike other people with autism, in his early teens Leo overcame alienation and bullying through the patient help of his classmates and becoming aware of his flaws and had a more successful job search. Leo also felt alienated in college but overcame it in a summer internship the summer before senior year. After graduating college, Leo learned that some of his classmates and teachers enjoyed his company. During an interview in the summer between his junior and senior year in 2013, the interviewer suggested he could teach people about autism, and he thought he could do that by using the true storytelling techniques he learned in his Writing Short Stories Class. When he shared his stories with readers, he learned that neurotypicals faced the same challenges fitting in as he did, so he made the target audience to include neurotypicals and allowed it to lose the autism theme.
He writes and draws to support a cause, not out of a fan of any actor; his work is life becoming art instead of art imitating life. He hopes that his stories in his project The Words He Cannot Say will inspire audiences to be kind, self aware, courageous, and adventurous and debunk myths audiences believe. In 2019, there was a weekly open mic competition, and he won second place three times with sets about what patience is, posts that are appropriate for Facebook, and playing with kids who are alone. On August 21, he made his debut at the Funny Bone at Clash of the Comics.
His self portrait was displayed at the Iowa State Fair. Two of his drawings were displayed in the 2021 Momentum Art Exhibition. He has been featured on the podcasts Nothing’s Too Weird, They Came From the Underground, and 900 Views. He lives by himself in Des Moines, Iowa.