Do you know, the only people I can have a conversation with are the Jews? At least when they quote scripture at you they are not merely repeating something some priest has babbled in their ear. They have the great merit of disagreeing with nearly everything I say. In fact, they disagree with almost everything they say themselves. And most importantly, they don't think that shouting strengthens their argument.
That's how Ptolemy imagined the disposition of his memories, his thoughts: they were still his, still in the range of his thinking, but they were, many and most of them, locked on the other side a closed door that he's lost the key for. So his memory became like secrets held away from his own mind. But these secrets were noisy things; they babbled and muttered behind the door, and so if he listened closely he might catch a snatch of something he once knew well.
The au pair was bug-eyed. "What happened back there?" "It's not our fault!" Dan babbled. "Those guys are crazy! They're like mini-Darth Vaders without the mask!" "They're Benedictine monks!" Nellie exclaimed. "They're men of peace! Most of them are under vows of silence!" "Yeah, well, not anymore," Dan told her. "They cursed us out pretty good. I don't know the language, but some things you don't have to translate.
A little later, the Apollo mission was consummated and there were Americans on the moon. I remember distinctly looking up from the quad on what was quite a moon-flooded night, and thinking about it. They made it! The Stars and Stripes are finally flown on another orb! Also, English becomes the first and only language spoken on a neighboring rock! Who could forbear to cheer? Still, the experience was poisoned for me by having to watch Richard Nixon smirking as he babbled to the lunar-nauts by some closed-circuit link. Was even the silvery orb to be tainted by the base, earthbound reality of imperialism?
When I first met Cara, she was twelve and angry at the world. Her parents had split up, her brother was gone, and her mom was infatuated with some guy who was missing vowels in his unpronounceable last name. So I did what any other man in that situation would do: I came armed with gifts. I bought her things that I thought a twelve-year-old would love: a poster of Taylor Lautner, a Miley Cyrus CD, nail polish that glowed in the dark. "I can't wait for the next Twilight movie, " I babbled, when I presented her with the gifts in front of Georgie. "My favorite song on the CD is 'If We Were a Movie.' And I almost went with glitter nail polish, but the salesperson said this is much cooler, especially with Halloween coming up." Cara looked at her mother and said, without any judgment, "I think your boyfriend is gay.
Words. I'm surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions. Cathedral. Mayonnaise. Pomegranate. Mississippi. Neapolitan. Hippopotamus. Silky. Terrifying. Iridescent. Tickle. Sneeze. Wish. Worry. Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes-each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands. Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts. Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas. Clever expressions. Jokes. Love songs. From the time I was really little-maybe just a few months old-words were like sweet, liquid gifts, and I drank them like lemonade. I could almost taste them. They made my jumbled thoughts and feelings have substance. My parents have always blanketed me with conversation. They chattered and babbled. They verbalized and vocalized. My father sang to me. My mother whispered her strength into my ear. Every word my parents spoke to me or about me I absorbed and kept and remembered. All of them. I have no idea how I untangled the complicated process of words and thought, but it happened quickly and naturally. By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings. But only in my head. I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.
Sharon M. Draper
He is a Londoner, too, in his writings. In his familiar letters he displays a rambling urban vivacity, a tendency to to veer off the point and to muddle his syntax. He had a brilliantly eclectic mind, picking up words and images while at the same time forging them in new and unexpected combinations. He conceived several ideas all at once, and sometimes forgot to separate them into their component parts. This was true of his lectures, too, in which brilliant perceptions were scattered in a wilderness of words. As he wrote on another occasion, "The lake babbled not less, and the wind murmured not, nor the little fishes leaped for joy that their tormentor was not." This strangely contorted and convoluted style also characterizes his verses, most of which were appended as commentaries upon his paintings. Like Blake, whose prophetic books bring words and images in exalted combination, Turner wished to make a complete statement. Like Blake, he seemed to consider the poet's role as being in part prophetic. His was a voice calling in the wilderness, and, perhaps secretly, he had an elevated sense of his status and his vocation. And like Blake, too, he was often considered to be mad. He lacked, however, the poetic genius of Blake - compensated perhaps by the fact that by general agreement he is the greater artist.