Chatty Cathy

chatty-cathy-by-webspace-webringdotcom…was a doll who talked. I talk a lot too. I use most punctuation very sparingly. When I write I slap it all out in one spewing current. Then I go back and try to imagine where normal people might feel the need to breathe, to take a little break. I make an exception for exclamation points. It is extremely challenging for me to write more than a few sentences without using at least one. I prefer three. I am an easily excitable person,  prone to being more or less incredulous, exasperated, scandalized. At times horrified, often overjoyed.  Rarely angry or indignant. I am shocked all the time by the beauty of a falling leaf or the cruelty of an angry bus driver.

I never really had my own Chatty Cathy Doll. My grandmother had one at her house that all of us grandchildren shared. She was a really big doll, about the size of a real four-year old. If I remember right her hair would grow if you pulled it. Her vocabulary was rather limited but she did speak, nonetheless. She would say, “I am hungry,”  “I’m tired,” or “I love you.” Funny how what is the most basic level of language skills is also the most intimate. Twenty years later when I was seriously learning French, not just to be glamorous but because I really intended to speak it in everyday situations, I was struck with the same realization. The base of a language conveys intimate physical needs, basic desires, life-sustaining messages. The mastery of a language is perhaps found in how skillfully you can conceal what is natural, how cleverly you can disguise all that is close to primal necessity.

Maybe how well-versed we are can be measured in the distance between what we are saying and what we really need.


  1. truth003

    I took your last paragraph ironically, as it was intended I believe. I have been learning the importance of asking for what I need. But, first I had to learn to be ok with needing in general.

    • pivoine68

      The thing is….I guess we cannot expect to get what we need if we don’t express our wishes to others. I’ve gotten much better at doing this but I still don’t get what I need, I almost wish that I had never made my desires public. Do you know what I mean?

      Besoin Bisous,

  2. Fatal

    You claim not to be so much… but how articulate you are, my darling. I marvel at these statements you’ve made. I am foolish, but you are not.


    • pivoine68

      I always find myself really inarticulate when I comment other people..I usually want to say, “I LOVE THAT!” or something equally enthusiastic and simple . Or “Great!” Then I remember that I have a full vocabulary to work with!

      I’m thrilled to have caused you to marvel! You are never foolish to me My Love.

      Mille baisers,

  3. sexuallifeofawife

    Well, I love the way you write – so I’m sure I’d like the way you talk…
    Exclamation marks are good! Hard to resist… ‘My’ three little dots are absolutely essential as well!

    • pivoine68

      I really love points of suspension as well…my second favorite after exclamation points. (!!!) I’m trying to slow down my exaggerated usage a little but it’s tough!

      Bisous to you Sophia,

  4. Theo Black

    “The mastery of a language is perhaps found in how skillfully you can conceal what is natural, ” I think you’re right. That’s why it’s so refreshing to talk to children sometimes, even if what they say is something like, “You smell funny, don’t you?”

    • pivoine68

      (so long as you are alone with the child! They can be so embarrassing at times!) I had more to say about this subject…I really do drink too much wine, it robs me of time I could be writing or taking pictures (or doing it, for that matter!!!)

      Bisous My Favorite Théo Ever in History,

  5. AR

    Cathy is rather terrifying, isn’t she? I never liked toys that could talk, preferring quieter companions. As someone that has learned a second language, you are completely correct about the “masters” merely clouding up the language of our basic needs. Though I never thought about it that way…thanks for making me think so early in the morning.

    • pivoine68

      Dolls are scary in general! The language learning deal is kind of the same as traveling to foreign lands…breaks you down to elementary levels of existence. We may very well be the happiest in those waters. Thanks for reading me with your coffee, it’s like being neighbors that way!


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