Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We call it banter—

a mad whirl of thought, preceding a volley of conversation wherein it is expected you will stuff in your two cents, with no regard for the usual polite pause and slight raise of brow to indicate the floor is now yours, no, this is grab and run—true industrial strength banter is a dizzying revolution of listening noises, flourishing amidst the hundred ways we can finish each others sentences and still agree, or not, punctuating radical turns of direction with YES and AMEN, or WHOA WHOA WHOA, one word tripping over its precision, while others drip and wheeze, being almost what we mean, but not quite. The one I kill you breathe back to life.

No one really knows where it goes. But we are the explorers; we don't want to miss a thing.

Banter approaches the holy like shepherds dragging each other headlong into the Bethlehem, toward the rumor, the mystery, the fright, with all the wit that can be mustered, sometimes marshalling no more than wild gestures and noise. Banter is one mind baring itself to the others, regardless of how small a thread we hand off. Truth is, we all know that we don’t know. But we love the speculation; we adore the push-pull of intellect. We crave how it fills and enlarges the heart.

PS Banter is not debate. It is not commentators failing to listen, bullying their point of view into first place. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with my instrument over yours, it is the song: melody and chorus, lilting descant wrapping it all together.


Craig and Bethany said...

Yes! Like the banter of heart muscles that pulse, contract, release, pump-pump-pump our blood. A symphony of muscle.

Anonymous said...

banter is an improvisational game with a ball. whereas debate is like a game of doge ball where one is pummeled into submission, banter is a dance of "hot potato" juggling the thought until it gets passed to the next. the joy is in the dance itself with no real expectation of resolutions, but punctuated by moments of serendipity that are causes for celebration.