Rudy's Blog

Buy Rudy's books! Click covers for info.                 Blog text and images copyright (C) Rudy Rucker 2017.


Emotive Interjections

This morning I was working on amassing photos to accompany Nested Scrolls. I only have digital photos going back to 2004. So I’m hauling out some of our old photo albums and scanning pictures out of them. The process is very nostalgic for me, here on the brink of old age.


[I saw a UFO today. Sorry for the poor image quality!]

Nested Scrolls and Jim and the Flims are done, and I feel really good about that. I can kick back and write journal notes for six months or so. There are slight differences between journal notes, travel notes, and writing notes. The journal notes aren’t necessarily about anything significant in the outer world. They’re more like the free play of thought—and a way of finding out what I think and feel.

Today I went to yoga class. Still in my sweats, I’m typing in my laptop journal here in the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting shop. Daily life seems so precious. The cafe around me feels like a lovely reef in shallow water. We’re anemones, we patrons, mollusks, crustaceans, fish—splashes of life and color in the eddying and all-pervading fluid of the air. And our innards are aglow from the luminiferous aether, yas. I like the sounds and colors, and the shapes and voices of people. The ambient music sets up sympathetic vibrations in my nerves.


[The Canon S90 brings out the full gnarl of your favorite subjects!]

Two attractive forty or fifty year old women are sitting at the table in front of me, engaged in an animated conversation in Japanese. I like the way that foreign languages include expressive sounds that are different than ours. I’m talking about sounds that might play a role like our “uh, oops, hmmm, yuck, huh, aha, eek, heh, grrr, yum, ugh, er, yay, whee,” and so on. Of course I can’t be totally sure, but I feel like I can recognize the interjections because they’re inflected in a special way. Maybe “interjection” isn’t quite the right word—I’m looking for the technical linguistic phrase that means “a vocalization that carries emotive meaning even though it is not a dictionary word.”

When I was a grad student at Rutgers, I attended a seminar at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study with a Japanese math professor, Gaisi Takeuti, who helped me with my thesis work in set theory. We became friends and I had lunch with him every week. I loved listening to him. He had this way of interspersing his somewhat rickety English with these great, deeply informative sounds, Japanese versions of emotive interjections.

2 Responses to “Emotive Interjections”

  1. Mark Dow Says:

    “Interjection” is correct, but include many standard words. “Ejaculation” is closer but slightly archaic due to the frequency of use of its other meanings. Ejaculations are sometimes interjections too.

  2. Jeffrey Kegler Says:

    I rest in awe of Rudy’s ability to describe. The coffee shop: “like a lovely reef in shallow water. We’re anemones, we patrons, mollusks, crustaceans, fish—splashes of life and color in the eddying and all-pervading fluid of the air. And our innards are aglow from the luminiferous aether, yas. I like the sounds and colors, and the shapes and voices of people. The ambient music sets up sympathetic vibrations in my nerves.”

    Perfectly captures the coffee shop of our dreams, and when things go right, of our reality.


Rudy's Blog is powered by WordPress