Stammering was re weaknesses of Nine lived Enchanters and re A Sinister Subject

Ven ven at
Wed Apr 4 21:30:12 EDT 2001

Nat wrote
> I have a speech impediment that can get pretty bad. I can sing no 
> problem though, and I can also act on stage without a hitch. It's 
> when I have to improvise I get into trouble, although speaking in the 
> voice of some exotic over-the-top character seems to make it go away. 
> When I have a really awful pun/shaggy dog joke it's at its worse. It 
> has something to do with anticipation for me: I'm looking for a 
> reaction and worried about it at the same time as I'm trying to 
> trigger it.

The only time I began to stammer on stage was when I foolishly 
went "out of character" because I was thinking about something I 
had to do in the interval. Luckily I was onstage with someone who 
could be relied on to improvise me out of trouble, so I didn't panic 
and we got through it. I'm definitely worse when there is no choice 
about what has to be said  -- which was the problem with reading 
aloud in class or saying my name (the original one, Ven is easy). 

> Sometimes when I'm really frustrated I give myself a tap on the head 
> to knock the words loose :-)

I make a whisht sound , which seems to do the trick, at one point I 
used to click my tongue, which sounded more peculiar. My friend 
Martin thumps his chest.

Sally was writing about a child whose stammer was transitory. 
That is the good news, most do recover spontaneously. Oddly 
there are  more male stammerers than female. Does anyone know 
if that supports the idea of a genetic cause? So far as I can tell 
from my own experience and what I have read these are some 
helpful things: Give someone who stammers time to express 
themselves, be a patient listener. Although you should talk about it 
sometimes, don't continually draw attention to it or offer advice 
during a conversation on some other subject. Try to ask open 
rather than closed questions ie "had a good day?" rather than 
"what did you do this morning" so there's a wide choice of ways to 
answer. Some people who stammer are said to hate having people 
finish sentences or words for them -- I just let people know when I'd 
like them to. Finally when it came to living with my own stammer 
things got better from the day I decided I would just have to crash 
through the speech barriers and keep talking.

You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
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