[Novelist and husband of Diane Ackerman] Paul West was also driven by similar [linguistic] pleasures, devoting sprawling acres of neural real estate to his vocabulary. Ultimately this meant that, devastating as the stroke was, there were many preserved pockets left to be unearthed. Oddly, it was often the most obscure words that were easiest to recover. He struggled with words like blanket or bed, or his wife’s name Diane, words that you would think over time should have seeped into his genes. Nevertheless, he could recruit words like postillion or tardigrades to get an idea across. This led to some counter-productive interactions with a speech therapist. Since aphasics often produce nonsense words without realizing that they aren’t real words, one of the goals of therapy is to give the patient feedback on which words are real. But West would often produce bona fide words that were unknown to the therapist. For example, when shown Raphael’s familiar painting of two baby angels propping their heads on their chubby arms, he offered “chair-roo-beem.” To which the therapist patiently responded: “No. These are angels, AINGELS.” Ackerman had to intervene, explaining that cherubim was a real word.