I have been doing this all my life as an adult. And I still survive as a language-user – speaking, listening, reading, writing – over the past two years. Or, rather, I survive in fluctuating ways....Ah! The decline! But it is not the saddest decline — this painless fade-out. If this happened to me, I believe — I hope — I would write my way through to the end, like this. Would you not embrace the end of life as a writer and crumple, visibly, into the diminishment of your powers?
I'm no longer fluent. I've forgotten how to do it. I can't do it automatically. I can't hear whether a word that I say has come out right or not. It's as if it's not me that's speaking, but some kind of inefficient proxy forming the words. It's like there is a time-delay between speaking and hearing your own words, or if you were speaking a language whose phonetics and semantics you don't properly know. And when I speak or write, the words do sometimes come out wrong, slightly nonsensically.
November 9, 2010
"The tumour that will destroy me is in the proximity of my speech area. But I am also a word-earner."
Says the art critic Tom Lubbock: