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All of the activities I have described, and which I have called compensations for my stuttering, have been quite definite and concrete. They are activities which the casual observer might have noted. That I studied, played, wrote, that I was jovial, might have been plainly apparent to anybody; and in explaining the pertinent significance of those things, I had only to point them out and discuss them from my point of view.

But when I say that I have been a dreamer, that I have created a beautiful world of fancy, in which it has been possible for me to exist a goodly share of the time and in a very real sense -- I shall have to ask you to take my word for it. As to my word, it shall be only a genuine statement concerning the relationship which this Utopia bears to my speech defect. I shall trust that whether or not the reader agrees with me in this statement, he will not forget that this is a stutterer's analysis of his own case and that truth, after all, consists simply in what the stutterer says; at least, everything he says has meaning


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pertinent at the moment. That what I say does or does not support some other person's views is quite unimportant. This fact is to be borne in mind throughout this study. I am speaking always from the point of view of one who stutters, and I am referring constantly to my own experiences or to whatever those experiences have led me to consider. After all, this study constitutes an analysis which the competent reader will himself analyze.

As a child I found it altogether easy to indulge in fantasy. It appears to me now that when I was a child I did not know exactly what was possible and what impossible. No doubt it was quite as easy to imagine the unreal as it was clearly to perceive the real. Then, I began to realize that I stuttered -- and to dream after a certain fashion.

If you have read the foregoing pages you probably suspect more or less accurately what the title of this chapter implies. You are quite ready, it may be, to guess beforehand what my Utopia consisted of. In Utopia, you think, I did not stutter, I was a brilliant scholar, a superb athlete, a noted writer, and a person whom others liked wonderfully well; perhaps you are clever enough to suspect that in Utopia I was in love, and not at all lonely. If that is what you think, to that degree you are right.

You are also ready to insist, I suppose, that such



dreaming seems perfectly normal and of no clinical importance. Every normal child, it would appear, is guilty of the same sort of dreaming -- if the element of stuttering is left out. To draft this phase of my life, for the purpose of explaining my stuttering and what stuttering means to me, may seem to you a bit forced.

Now, the arguments which you may want to propose do not invite me. I am engaged simply in setting down a genuine human document. The fact that I dreamed, made Utopia, is, of course, of little importance in this study. But the fact that I regarded that Utopia in a certain light; the fact that particular things went into the building of it; the fact that Utopia grew out of my experiences as a stutterer, rather than my experiences as a child merely; and the fact that I used Utopia for particular purposes -- these facts matter considerably. The point is not that I dreamed, but that I dreamed much and definitely.

In Utopia I did not stutter. This came first. Always I have had a great hope. It was a hope in which there might be distinguished a considerable faith in the magical. For in spite of the fact that wherever I turned for relief from my stuttering, I turned to either the quack or the uninformed -- in spite of this, I hoped and really believed that some



day I would find some one willing and able to help me obtain fluent speech. This is not unusual. On every hand we mark a tremendous faith exhibited by the oppressed; the less one has, it seems, the more faith and hope one clings to. The more one is driven to despair, the harder one rebounds to that desperate credulity which men have called a confidence in the justice of things. So, in Utopia, some day I would not stutter!

In fact, I was an unusually fluent speaker -- in my dream world. Often I have carried on long conversations, in my day-dreaming, in which I contributed the greater and the more interesting share. There, in that world within myself, I have harangued before huge audiences, and rendered them spellbound by oratory of unbelievable charm! Sweet thoughts. Sweet compensation for a stumbling tongue! And the more real I could make Utopia, the more like adequate revenge it all seemed to me.

It is true, also, that in Utopia I was increditably adept at all those things around which I had woven my earthly ambitions. Every child, I suppose, dreams of doing great things, and dreams most of doing those things which have in reality been most enjoyable. So, I thought of myself as a professional ball player, eclipsing the glory of Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson and all the rest. I was a scholar



characterized by nothing short of genius. My books were read everywhere, they were bought by the hundred thousand, and called masterpieces; and through them I acquired tremendous wealth. In Utopia, everybody liked me, admired me, praised me; and, in turn, I was kind to everybody and benevolent, and, of course, deserving of their most ardent praise. Such conceit! Whether conceit or not, it was certainly self-defense and a subtle kind of self-assertion. And it all betrayed a craving for superiority. I recall one day-dream in particular in which I set sail from a vaguely located island. As I recall, I was alone on the boat, and I stood with my feet wide apart at the helm. The craft sailed on from the east, in the general direction toward Canada. As I sailed, the boat became larger, I became larger, until both the boat and I reached absolutely enormous proportions. Evening came, and I chose to rest for the night. I anchored my ship to the earth itself! Whatever else that day-dream meant, it seems to me to have revealed a desire for a superiority unchallengeable, a superiority that could stalk the earth.

And, one night, having just enacted a gurgling prejudice against the Eighteenth Amendment, I dashed off what I hesitate to call a poem, but which is relevant at this point:



Whatever that may mean to any one else, it means to me that somewhere in me, however deeply concealed from casual eyes, there was an inordinate longing for power. It was an unreasonable longing. I wanted more power than I needed to get along in the world. The point is that I wanted more than merely to get along. I wanted to get even with whatever force had made me a stutterer, and with that world in the eyes of which stuttering made me inferior. So -- "Let me be a maker of beds, oh god of the grave-diggers!"

But you will note that I did not bluntly declare, even when under the influence of liquor, that I wanted to stalk the earth, that I wanted revenge, and that I cared to make no bones about it. I said it vaguely, indirectly. I said it so vaguely that not a few will deny that I said it at all, will insist that I said something else. I knew from long experience



that the greatest power, after all, lay in kindness on my part. However much I wanted to pillage the earth, I knew very well I could never do it in the guise of a buccaneer armed to the teeth. Long before, I had rejected the technique of Napoleon. It were wiser to go about the task in the innocent gray robe of benevolence! It were wiser to win my ends by seeming to deserve them. The usurper is acclaimed for a day; the saint is immortal.

These are not pleasant things to tell! I tell them solely because they throw some light on the nature of stuttering and the meaning of stuttering to one who suffers from it. Moreover, by these confessions I am not made unique; I only manifest frankness. I was surprised indeed to discover these things in myself, far within the wilderness of myself, but having discovered them, I knew much more than I formerly did about my neighbors. Also, these characteristics belonged to myself as a stutterer far more than to myself as a man. And the fact that rarely is there a man, who is not for practical purposes a lame man or a blind man, a Jew or a Democrat, leads me to the comforting (from my point of view) conclusion that most men dream of stalking the earth with their supreme arrogance. Men live largely to show the world how important they are. It is essential to their health and their posterity that they succeed in



that up to a reasonable extent; but it is essential to their ultimate well-being that they hold in check considerably or sublimate somehow those selfish ambitions. Because that is true, the kind and gracious man is the acme of wisdom.

In everyday life, I have said, I was very lonely. In Utopia, I was never lonely. I was surrounded by admiring friends. And I was even loved with devotion -- by one woman, who remained for the most part rather vague. For no one woman loved me with the devotion I dreamed of; I had to create the woman out of the stuff that dreams are made of. In Utopia, there was a beautiful house, a home of great happiness, of connubial bliss. I lived there with a devoted companion, wrote my books, read much, and lived in comfort -- though not in idleness. The point is that I was not lonely.

Wealth, as I have hinted, abounded in this dream estate. The chief source of this wealth was the books I wrote. I wanted money for the pleasures -- travel, study, possession of desired things -- it would make possible. I wanted it in order to exercise philanthropy. Philanthropy is magnified kindliness, and of that I have said quite enough. That philanthropy might also be an element of conceit, a symptom of that longing for superiority, may be an unpleasant thought, but none the less a thought that



is more or less justified. At any rate, the power of money to lend one distinction was not lost upon me, and accordingly its capacity to serve as a compensation for my speech defect is apparent. The significant thing is that I wanted more money than I should need, and to ascribe that want to vanity is only a part of the analysis.

This Utopia will appear more as a part of myself when I declare that I actually indulged in its pleasures a considerable share of the time. From about my twelfth to my twenty-second year, Utopia flourished and became richer almost day by day. Day-dreaming was for me a rather important part of the day's routine; it constantly interrupted my work; it was no small part of my play. In the rock-batting games, the tiddledywinks, the can-rubber dramatizations, something like fantasy was evident. Almost always when I attempted the reading of a book, I would imagine the glory of writing books of my own; when I set about the writing of a story, I immediately thought of it as already written and generally acclaimed, making me famous, bringing me wealth. As I rode the cultivator or the plow through my father's fields, my mind reached forward to Some Day, and I lived in Utopia, while the stubbed dust rose to surround me with the most drab reality. When I looked at the surrounding skyline, I saw



beyond it to distant and future glories. As I sat in silence in the midst of more garrulous companions, I created myself in fancy as a charming conversationalist. Sweet compensations! Honeyed antidotes for an ill too earthly! Upon going to bed at night, I found it difficult to sleep. It almost amounted to insomnia. I wove romances of grandeur. Had my pillow been parchment and my mind a pen, there might have been preserved a romantic verve to rank alongside the novels of Bandello and of Sir Walter Scott. I literally imagined myself into contentment.

Above all, my Utopia stood in contrast to my real world, and represented a revolt against it and escape from it. This revolt against my real world, against society, grew out of my inability to adjust myself adequately to that society; the escape into Utopia represented a gesture partly of defeat and partly of disgust and resentment. The person noting my genial exterior probably would not have suspected the existence of this deeper dissatisfaction and disgust -- until possibly after my nineteenth year, when it came near enough to the surface of myself to become almost an evident characteristic. But for the most part I laughed, in spite of the discontent which lay more deeply than my mirth. It was a way I had of enduring the unpleasantries of a stumbling tongue.


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