Archive for July 10th, 2006

Off the Deep End

As we re-broadcast my interview with underwater explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau (tonight at 7:30; repeated on Friday night at 10:30), I find myself far from the ocean -- up, in fact, in the mountains of Utah. I just arrived this morning at the Sundance Theatre Lab, where for three weeks my theatrical collaborator, David Dower, and I will work together on my next monologue. The new piece will be about democracy, so I think three weeks of development should just about handle it, don't you?

Just kidding ...

Actually, I'm terrified -- as I always am, when beginning a project. But I must say that, as I continue to read some amazing books about democracy (especially the American version), I'm getting more and more excited about connecting with our country's founding political principles -- about trying to become a more active citizen.

Isn't there a Jackson Browne lyric that goes something like, "How long have I been sleeping? ..." I keep thinking of that phrase as I feel myself rising out of an extended period of personal political passivity (a period that seems to have coincided with my having watched lots of sports on TV, by the way).

At this moment, however, I think I'm going to dive into a nice cold bottle of water, in my continuing effort to stave off altitude sickness (which may account for my excessive alliteration in that last sentence). ...

July 10th, 2006

How Deep Need Can Lead to Increased Language Complexity

At our big family gathering near Boston last week, one of my nieces -- around four years old -- had this conversation with another of my little nieces (almost two):

Older Niece (excitedly): "Can I feed you?"

Younger Niece (firmly): "No."

A beat, while Older Niece absorbs this rebuff. (All day she's been looking forward to feeding her little cousin, whom she seems to regard as the most amazing, feature-packed doll in the world.) Then:

Older Niece (tentatively): "Can I feed you?"

Younger Niece: "No!"

A long pause, as Older Niece stares plaintively at her tiny relative. Finally:

Older Niece (passionately): "I want you to want me to feed you!"

2 comments July 10th, 2006


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