Monday, May 16, 2016

Two Wallanders; Speech Revelation


This morning I watched a video about James Earl Jones because in it, one of the most famous voices of all time talks about being a stutterer; he is impressive in every way. Then I watched the video above that enchanted me.

Last night I watched Kenneth Branagh in the BBC's TV series, Wallander. I have also been watching Mankell's Wallander, another series based on the same books by Henning Mankell that is made in Sweden. For me there is no comparison between the two. The BBC series is dreadful compared to the Swedish-made series. The Swedish version is fabulous. The angst of the BBC series is forced and the characters are clich√©d; the writing sucks. In the Swedish series the characters are complex and feel far more authentic.

Another week, another three therapy sessions. It's the same again next week but next week one will be my first speech therapy session. I have no idea what I am in for. I am most curious about the process. I wonder if I get more than one session, and if I do if it will it be weekly like my other therapies or occasional.

This morning, I did something I often do. I decide to try and say two words that are often difficult for me; the words are "Saturday" and "eleven." I close my eyes, take a breath and then I stutter no matter how hard I try not to. But this morning was a revelation.

I've long understood that there's a connection between "commencing" speech and stuttering. I've often told people, "I have trouble getting started." In terms of both a sentence and a conversation, I get better as each progresses. My revelation this morning was realizing that my intake of breath triggers spasm in my diaphragm and that makes me stutter. If I take in all my breaths very slowly, I don't stutter.

The only problem with this insight is its impracticality. It's impossibly difficult to do when engaged in a conversation. I believe, however, that all my speech practicing to date and this self-discovered awareness of the breath/stutter connection will impress my speech therapist, Dr. Ramage. (I've always wanted to impress my teachers.)

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