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Think About What You’re Going to Say Before You Say It

I stuttered as a kid and my grandpa used to say that which was infuriating because it is orthogonal to helpful — I knew exactly what I was going to say, I just couldn’t say it. My vocal cords rebelled.

In fact I wonder whether if I DIDN’T stutter if I would be as adept or forced to think about what I was going to say before I said it. Because instead I would just say it. (“Only the impeded stream that sings.”) Like — you don’t think about what you’re going to breathe before you breathe it. It just happens. Maybe if you are in a place with noxious fumes or you just got into a cold cold stream and your diaphragm is temporarily paralyzed you do. But not normally.

And I wonder whether that stutter — gremlin on the vocal cords — is a species of a larger genus — times when the will to expression road has a pothole in it. The pothole could be anywhere I suppose — between the desire to express a thought and coming up with the right word — the tip of the tongue phenomenon, between the need to stand up against the foe and finding the courage in one’s arm and fist and shoulder. These blockages.

And in each case they give us the opportunity to have rising water behind the dam and generate more power when the blockage is released. But also, obviously they frustrate. We want to be free! Who wants these gremlins, goblins and sprites on the wires?

And yet the human being who was a simple reflex arc — from the jab at the party to the perfect phrase perfectly expressed flowing unconsciously — would that being even be aware it was a being? Or would it just be something like a ripple in a stream, or a dragonfly snapping at a mosquito without awareness?

D-d-d-on’t ask me!

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