Teaching the body English

Summs was a very young man by certain measures, but back when he was an even younger man, thirty and forty years ago, he had had ideas about “becoming a writer”, about which he’d had all kinds of vain egoistic delusions. That was all pride and ego, he had realized fairly quickly, when he got past the desire to be remembered through the generations, when he got past the idea of being taught about in schools and colleges, when he got past the idea of giving lectures for large stipends with all expenses paid, when he got past the idea of having his mere intuitions appreciated as deep wisdoms … when he got beyond the desire for all those mere worldly things, which perhaps merely reflected his sorrow for not having been more popular in highschool, and for not having a friend with whom to discuss his philosophical ideas, what did he find was left of his desire to write, what was on the other side?

In the old days, he would write out the entirety of the alphabet, but in more recent times he tended to concentrate on the latter half and particularly R, S, and T. Not only was this activity calming, not only was it the primary cause of his truly gorgeous handwriting, much remarked upon by everyone who encountered it, but in his opinion, it was a form of mental exercise which sharpened his capacity for what he called mental writing, really emblazoning these letters on the brain itself, as if with a cattle prod, teaching his own brain English and the alphabet, trying to give his body the tools both to speak with him and understand what he was saying to it. Once Summs had managed to teach his body English, he reasoned, he could tell it to lose weight, for example, and it would, or his body could tell him to stop eating, and he would. It was because his body hadn’t learned English was why it sometimes didn’t do what he commanded it to or why he himself sometimes made the wrong decisions.

True to say, part of what made Summs capable of looking past the idea and desire for fame as a writer was his total incapacity to write or otherwise communicate, which made him look on the practice with awesome reverence. It was both in one and not in one to write, he believed — for on the one hand, he clearly he had not gift for writing, no one understood him; but on the other, all those great things he saw written, didn’t he always read these things with a delight of recognition, as things already written in him by his own soul? And so that was another reason one must teach the brain to write… Another interesting aspect to Summs with respect to reading and writing was his penchant for underlining which, almost literally, if he was reading something he was underlining it, it all seemed so important, though these days he read only newsletters and the occasional alternative medicine bulletin.

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