Mum’s the word

It can be a torture living inside of myself, but no more so than when I’m monitoring every word that comes out of my mouth. And it’s not just the words themselves that get the once over. I can become easily annoyed with every um and uh that exits.

This all started decades ago, when Marvin Mudrick, an English professor with an asp for a tongue, told me mine was a nice speaking voice but for all the you knows that polluted it. After that, I became a peep-mouse of a thing in his creative writing class, as you can imagine. 

It’s like and it’s a sort of have become my bull’s eyes, too, but, actually, these equivocators are pretty interesting to ponder. The former has been lampooned by comedians far and wide, so I have nothing new to add to that conversation. I haven’t heard anyone talk about the latter, though, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’ve noticed that it’s a sort of is to the intelligentsia what it’s like was, in its heyday, to the so-called Valley Girl. As in “it’s a sort of exquisite double helix of DNA in biology” or “Derrida was a sort of deconstructionist.” For all of the hot air circulating about the Academy, though, there seems, maybe, a sort of uneasiness with the efficacy of one’s ideas, like “I have this brilliant thought, but, if you don’t agree, perhaps I’m not as married to it as you might think.” Or “I have this brilliant thought, but I don’t want you to know that I think it’s brilliant because God won’t let a braggart inherit the earth.”

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2 comments

  1. very funny and VERY true…the French are so well off with their “alors”…in that sexy accent…even though it means absolutely zilch and is just there to give the speaker time to think…I’m glad we don’t all speak like robots, little speach patterns or peculiarities make us who and what we are…damn that silly professor of yours, silly Holzkopf. It gives us writers an angle by which to hang our characters…which, had your professor been a good writer, he/she would have known:)

    1. Yes, you’re so right. Those little habits of speech do make us who we are, and I guess I can say that my professor contributed to who I am today–for better or for worse. He didn’t toughen me up, but he certainly made me even more sensitive to others’ feelings than I was, particularly to the feelings of other writers.

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