The battle with speech impediment can equip persons like Darcey Steinke with fascinating insights into language.
It was around this time [in elementary school] that I started separating the alphabet into good letters, V as well as M, and bad letters, S, F and T, plus the terrible vowel sounds, open and mysterious and nearly impossible to wrangle. Each letter had a degree of difficulty that changed depending upon its position in the sentence.
Her article includes description of her experience recording the audio edition for her forthcoming book “Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life.”
As I started to read… I had no control over my vocal cords, adrift on waves of unpredictable sound… The young sound engineer was patient. His voice in my earphones was gentle and his expression open and empathetic… I explained that in the classroom as I teach and at my readings, my stutter brought intimacy to my listeners. He nodded. “They can hear your vulnerability…”
Steinke is the author of five novels and two memoirs.
The central irony of my life remains that my stutter, which at times caused so much suffering, is also responsible for my obsession with language. Without it I would not have been driven to write, to create rhythmic sentences easier to speak and to read…
(Darcey Steinke, “My Stutter Made Me a Better Writer,” NYTimes, 6-6-19)
(c) 2019 JMN