Tag Archives: Talking

Marginalia, no.276

Talking is one of the creative arts, for by it you build up things that have, until talked about, no existence, such as scandals, secrets, quarrels, literary and artistic standards, all kinds of points of view about persons and things.

~ Rose Macaulay, Crewe Train

One of the things I admire most in others is a gift for conversation. I’m an awful talker. Like a bad lover who takes and never gives, I consume, by ear and eye, probably five thousand words for every one that I produce. And the less I have to say, the harder it is for me to say it. I need a blank piece of paper, a day of mental digestion, or a stiff drink to show me what I think. Then we’ll talk.

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Marginalia, no.177

There is no exit from the dictionary.

~ Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club

Words beget and are begotten by other words in endless circular succession. There’s certainly no lack of them in our house. My son, for one, never shuts up except when he’s got his face in a book. Even then, I swear, the unspoken syllables float around the living room like ghosts of the unborn. The other day at dinner I convinced everyone to sit perfectly still and say nothing, just for ten seconds. It was the loudest ten seconds of my life: the unnaturally prolonged thunderclap of a twenty-pound dictionary being slammed shut.

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