Monday, July 7, 2008

His name was Robert Paulson...

(If you're a fan of the movie Fight Club, the headline will make sense.)

Ulysses's relationship to language continues to evolve. His interest in words and naming and syntax has become more directed, more active and intent.

Sometimes he repeats our phrases in a whisper, as if studying them for meaning. As if meditating on them, opening himself to receive their secrets.

Last weekend I offered him an apple and he accepted, following me to the kitchen -- the "cooking room," as he calls it these days. I fetched an apple from the refrigerator crisper, saying, "This is a Pink Lady."

He frowned, looking at the apple. "That's not Pink Lady," he said, correcting me. "That's a apple."

"Yes," I said, washing it under the faucet. "This is an apple. It's a Pink Lady apple."

He watched as I brought out the corer, a sharp, serrated cylinder of stainless steel on a bright red handle with a picture of red apples set into it, and drove it into the apple.

"That apple not pink," he said. "That apple red."

I looked at the apple. True enough. You could call it pink as far as apples go, but as far as pink goes, it was red.

"Yes, this apple is red," I said. "This apple's name is Pink Lady."

Ulysses whispered: "This apple's name is Pink Lady. This apple is red. This apple's name is Pink Lady. This apple is red. This apple's name is Pink Lady."

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