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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Words Apart: Novel in Progress

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/23/2024
Page Views: 5822
Topics: #AmericanSignLanguage #ChimpanzeeLanguage
Work in Progress: 'Words Apart', in which a deaf lawyer and a signing chimp challenge the establishment over the question of what makes us human.

Work In Progress

Words Apart

Words Apart, a novel of language and of what makes us human, by renowned technical author Paul S. Cilwa.


By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2640
Cover and front pages of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Change your language and you change your thoughts. Karl Albrecht

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Words Apart: Forward

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 2/12/2010
Page Views: 2687
Topics: #WordsApart #Writing #AmericanSignLanguage
How I came to write Words Apart.

Writing a novel constitutes a lot of hard work. Starting a novel is even tougher, because the writer anticipates all that work coming up ahead. It can be even more difficult if the previous novel hasn't yet sold. Still…a writer must write, and I've had a story I've been waiting to tell for the last 14 years. It's about a Deaf lawyer and a chimp that have learned sign language, and how the two of them together come to learn the true meaning of humanity.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2579
Working outline for Words Apart

1: Credit Where It's Due Decker Goodman and Barry Brandt are in court, defending a deaf client (and son of a Congressman) from a car theft charge. Decker is deaf; Barry is his translator. Although Decker is successful in obtaining an acquittal, it's Barry who gets the credit.

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1: Credit Where It's Due

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2544
Chapter 1 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Decker Goodman's thoughts moved almost faster than he could control. For some people, he knew, that meant blurting out something stupid. Decker, however, put that extra brain power to good use, choosing what he would say two or three or four sentences in advance, from an impressive mental library of stock phrases he'd amassed through the years. It also gave him time to look over the faces of the members of the jury, to see who was buying his bullshit and who wasn't. And it also meant he could, out of the corner of his eye, monitor his interpreter, the man who actually voiced his words and, more importantly, his emotions, to the jury on Decker's behalf. Because, for all the power wielded by his Mensa-class brain, the fact was that Decker could neither speak aloud, nor hear.

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2: Office Visit

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2658
Chapter 2 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Decker's K Street office was only a couple miles from the District Courthouse, but Washington was always so dense with traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, that the trip took nearly twenty minutes. Decker could drive, of course; but when Barry was with him Decker generally gave him the wheel so he could sit in back and stretch out and get a little work done on his netbook. He had a USB dongle that connected it, via cell phone signal, to the Internet, allowing him to check and answer email and actually get a surprising amount of work done.

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3: Animals

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2712
Chapter 3 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Decker hurried out of his office building through the revolving door. The August glare and heat hit him like a bucket of hot water. K Street at 1 PM was a busy place, as crowded and full of smells as any amusement park. Vendors lined the sidewalk selling pizza-by-the-slice, egg rolls, hot dogs. People combined lunch and exercise by walking from vendor to vendor, eating a little from each one. The Post called it "grazing"; Decker called it foolishness. The food was full of fat and the four lanes of cars, cabs and buses spewed enough fumes to make deep breathing a matter of more risk than benefit.

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4: Greetings

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2937
Chapter 4 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

The heavens finally opened just as Decker and his family had returned to the main walkway through the Zoo. Decker led the way into the nearest building, which happened to be the Great Ape House. As they stood in the doorway, Carole futilely swiping at her wet clothes as if she could squeegee the water off that way, the children stood in awe at the entrance to the main room.

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5: Examination

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2650
Chapter 5 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Decker's head throbbed and he was nauseated. His neck ached and it hurt to sign. Making matters worse, it was now rush hour and the subway car was packed. River could only express her concern by sitting on his lap, which didn't make him feel any better, though in a way it did. Forrest stood gravely at his side. Even Carole was solicitous, in her way.

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6: Washoe and Koko

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2769
Chapter 6 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Decker arrived at his office the next morning in a foul mood. He should have been happy that the MRI came out clean; but there was still no explanation for his fainting episode, or his hallucination that the apes had been signing. Plus, he'd been in the emergency room until after midnight; and then when he finally got home and into bed his dreams were nightmarish repetitions of his hallucination, in which all the Zoo animals chased him through the park signing at him.

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7: The Old Folks At Home

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2895
Chapter 7 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Gilmer's Garden was nestled in the foothills of the Shenandoahs. It was composed of a series of Victorian-style buildings, looking more like the campus of a private college than a home for the elderly.

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8: Alone In A Crowd

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2522
Chapter 8 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Of course, after receiving the "clue" from Mrs. Stone's doctor, Decker expected to find that Gilmer's Garden was owned by Stone's religious conglomerate, Hands of Jesus, Inc. It wasn't. But it took almost the entire two hours for Decker to get through the myriad companies that were completely or partially owned by Hands of Jesus to be sure of this fact. Gilmer's Garden was, in fact, owned by Gilmer's Garden, Inc., which was in turn a family corporation owned by Vincent and Edna Gilmer of Warrenton, Virginia. They were also listed on Gilmer's web page as being the CEO and Head of Nursing, respectively. There was nothing to suggest that the place was anything other than what it appeared to be, a small, family-owned nursing facility whose owners would probably someday be patients.

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9: Frieda's Story

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2622
Chapter 9 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

"My very earliest memory?" Frieda pondered. "I remember being in my crib, and Mommy bringing me my bottle. And I remember one time when I climbed to the top of the bedroom door, and Mommy had to beg and threaten me to come down. And I remember when Bobby was born. He was so red and wrinkled, I had no idea what he was! Mommy made me promise to treat him very gently. He was a baby, you see. A human baby, not a Bonobo baby like me. It was a long time before I realized that Mommy and Daddy were also humans, and Bobby was their real baby, not their adopted baby. Later there was Sara, their baby girl. I was always very gentle, and they let me hold the babies sometimes.

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10: Zookeepers

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2626
Chapter 10 of 'Words Apart': A Novel of Language and what makes us human.

Decker concluded his conversation with Frieda, reiterating his promise to try to find the remains of her family, the mother who "no longer recognized" her, and the sister who had apparently given her to the zoo.

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