Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
Volume 0396
Mirrored at
Tarzan and the Lost Empire by Frank Frazetta
Chattering with Nkima
How the Series Came About


Navigation Guide 
to all the 
David Adams Features

"Nkima scolded and chattered from the safety of his master's shoulder ..."  (Invincible)

David Arthur Adams is one of the preeminent ERB scholar-writers of the present age.  He has published over 125 articles in fan magazines and on the internet, which boasts 86 of these sterling works.  Adams brings a unique blend of scholarship and poetic telling to his articles that make them both valuable pieces of research and engaging tales in their own right.  He often goes beyond the “facts” of the matter and engages in a brand of Burroughsian hermaneutics that is always interesting and entertaining to experts and novices alike.  Adams has been a fan of the Tarzan stories since he was twelve-years-old, and he is rapidly approaching his sixtieth birthday.  His internet persona and nom de plume is Nkima after Tarzan’s monkey companion featured in ERB’s novels and the Tarzan comics.

      after Borges:
One day Nkima was lost in a deep, dark forest.
Suddenly, a voice came out of a cave saying,
“Thou shalt write!”

Nkima was not frightened by the voice.
Perhaps he should have been.

At once he took a stick and wrote upon the ground.
He wrote for hours and hours and days and days,
but nothing he wrote made any sense.

This situation went on for months and months
and years and years.

Finally, upon a fine day in the clearest of mornings,
Nkima stopped writing.
He had finished his task,
for the entire earth was covered with his scratchings.

If one knew me well, they might say that I was obsessed with the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs because I think about them all the time.  This judgment may be true.

after Borges:

A child was born in distant days when ten cents could buy a comic book.  One day he traded all the comics he owned for Tarzan comics, and bought some more for ten cents.  That child did a lot of things that still influences my life today.  It’s strange that he knew I would someday become enamored with the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

after Kafka:

There are many ways of looking at the world:

Once upon a time a young boy was taught that there was only one way of seeing things.  For him, this didn’t seem to fit.

Everything he was taught seemed to fit into holes of nothing.  Everything seemed like a game.

For this boy, the rules of the game didn’t make sense because he could see that all the pieces of many games had been put into one box and shaken up.  It seemed to him that people who put the pieces on the board, saying, “here are the rules,” were mistaken about the game.

He knew it was best to play the pieces of the game another way.  He shook out the box and made up his own rules as he went along.

The boy’s father and mother were appalled.  They said to him, “This is not the way the game is played.”  The boy replied, “I will be different.”  His parents said, “Just wait until you grow up; you’ll see,”  but the boy couldn’t see.

The boy played and played his game for many years, moving the pieces around on the board every which way he liked, but he could find no one else to play this game with him.  Everyone else seemed to need rules to play the game.

Finally, the boy decided that he had been alone long enough, so he picked up a book of rules and learned the proper way to play the game. Now he had many friends who could understand his moves, but the boy always knew that this was only a single game.

When the boy grew into manhood he had been playing the game with other people for many years.  He had forgotten that the rules were an artifice.

Near the end of his life, the boy put all the pieces back into the box, and he shook it with fury.

I am a poet turned essayist.  Since 1995 I have written many articles based upon the life and works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Of these over 100 have been published in various places:

81 on the Internet
21 in ERB-Apa
11 in the Burroughs Bulletin
7 in other ERB based magazines

Even after this concerted effort I seem to be going as strong as ever. My interest in Burroughs has not flagged over the years, in fact it has increased with each new article I compose.

The word “compose” is carefully chosen (as is word of a poet) since I have been a musician and a teacher all of my working life.  I have taught instrumental and vocal music for 33 years in the public school systems, 30 years in a single small town in Minnesota.

My teaching career is somewhat of a mask since it has been for me largely a way to earn an income to support my family.  My real love since early childhood has been writing, and for nearly 30 years I studied and wrote poetry for small press magazines throughout the country.  My output was much greater than my success in publication, and I gradually turned to writing for the local newspaper at which I am presently nearing my 100th feature article.  This may not seem like much since I have been contributing to this newspaper for 10 years, but like all of my work it brings absolutely no money into the Adams’ household. For me, writing is a labor of love.

My two children are grown-up and away from home now, and my wife is a long-suffering soul to have put up with my “hobby” during all of our 30 years of marriage.  She, like most ERB widows, tolerates my aberration for Burroughs, but has never read anything I have written about the man or his works.  My library is confined to my den where I work almost daily on one project or another that has something to do with The Master of Adventure.

As you can see from my summary of publications above, I am a writer for whom the internet came as a blessing.  I now have an outlet for my ramblings and “Chatterings,” as I call them when writing for Bill Hillman, that gives me a reason to continue my labors.

I turn out as many good essays on Burroughs and his writings as I am able, and I hope to be healthy enough to continue this work for many years to come.  I expect that my retirement after another year of teaching will serve to increase my production, but who knows, I may turn to drawing and painting exclusively since these endeavors seem to fulfill something in me in a way that writing cannot.

After all of my years of teaching music, my enjoyment for this art has largely left me, leaving only my piano as a source of meditation.  I never listen to recorded music anymore.

Poetry still comes to me in fits and starts.  I still try my hand at a poem of a few lines, but the art has been largely distilled into my prose.  Words still sing for me, yet I wonder if they too will someday reach the zone of silence.

Perhaps someday I will only fill the whiteness of the page with the aid of a brush filled with liquid colors.  If this happens, it happens.   I know I will have no choice in the matter.

Until then, my song goes on, singing the praises of the Ape-man and the far off warriors of many worlds created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

My “Chattering from the Shoulder” articles came about from a suggestion from Bill Hillman that I try to write an article a week for his internet site.  Bill did not suggest that I try to do anything extensive or go to any great depth of research, but it seems that this is where these articles have gone in the first dozen pieces I have produced for him.

I have written many other more personal pieces for Hillman, including my “Icons and ERB” series that came to me one evening in that state of half-dreaming, half-waking that seems to be the area where poets often find their best ideas.  Perhaps this is where my “Chattering” series will go next, yet this area of dream work is one that comes -- it cannot be forced.  Only scholarly work can fit a deadline, and so I take this easier route most of the time, fitting in the poetry where I can -- lines given to the work at hand by the fickle muse.

My students often read my newspaper articles, and sometimes they tell my that my lucid prose is beyond their understanding.  Of course, I think I am always being crystal clear, choosing each word with with the utmost care.  Be as this may, I still aspire to the density of Robert Louis Stevenson in his essays or the arcane prose of the lapidary, Borges.

I wrote a moment ago that scholarship is easy for me.  It is.  I do the needed connections rapidly, combining all the knowledge I have stored from all of my reading over the years.  Yet putting it down on the page is still largely a chore, so I often resort to the epigram to bear the weight of my meaning.

I am a lover of both Zen and the writings of Wittgenstein.  Both schools of thought work with short sentences (or with none at all.)  My teachers in college said that my prose reminded them of Hemingway, but this is only because I was reading Hemingway at the time.  I am a great imitator.

Sometimes I think that my work is all a deception because I work with a hidden agenda.  I write to discover things about myself.

The fact that I write about Edgar Rice Burroughs is but the chance of Fate.  He was there for the boy, and the man finds him still lurking in every corner.  I can no more avoid Burroughs than I can avoid my own breathing in and out.  His Tarzan captured my soul in his mirror, and I am forced to perform on this side of the looking glass.

June 15, 2000
Nkima's Chattering From the Shoulder
by David Adams
ERBzine #
ERBzine 0396 Chat 00 00.06.30 Introduction: How the Series Came About
ERBzine 0294 Chat 01 00.02.11 Disney ~ Collins ~ Toys ~ ERB Library ~ Tid-bits
ERBzine 0295 Chat 02 00.02.18 Tarzan and the Champion ~ Tarzan in China
ERBzine 0302 Chat 03 00.02.25 The Babango Cannibals ~ Heart of Darkness
ERBzine 0303 Chat 04 00.03.03 Wizards of California: Baum & Burroughs 
ERBzine 0305 Chat 05 00.03.10 Seeing the Mahar
ERBzine 0306 Chat 06 00.03.17 Tarzan and the Jungle Murders ~ Tantor
ERBzine 0308 Chat 07 00.03.24 An Earth's Core Notebook
ERBzine 0309 Chat 08 00.03.31 Tarzan and the Castaways 
ERBzine 0324 Chat 09 00.04.07 Land of Terror ~ Questing in Mad Old Pellucidar
ERBzine 0325 Chat 10 00.04.14 Savage Pellucidar: A Romp In Merry Old Pellucidar
ERBzine 0393 Chat 11 00.06.23 Johnny Weissmuller: Twice the Hero
ERBzine0395 Chat 12 00.07.07 Gladiators in ERB Novels
ERBzine 0397 Chat 13 00.07.14 Number 13: Monster Men
ERBzine 0445 Chat 14 00.07.21 Tarzan's Symbolic Cabin
ERBzine 0446 Chat 15 00.07.28 The Dreams of Tarzan
ERBzine 0447 Chat 16 00.08.04 Edgar and the Lions
ERBzine 0449 Chat 17 00.08.18 The Lad and the Lion
ERBzine 0451 Chat 18 00.09.01 Search for the Lost Cities of Rome
ERBzine 0452 Chat 19 00.09.15 Ed's African Journey 
ERBzine 0453 Chat 20 00.09.22 Savage Pellucidar Pt. 2: Summary & Commentary 
ERBzine 0454 Chat 21 00.10.06 Lad and the Lion Pt. 2: Summary & Commentary 
ERBzine 0455 Chat 22 00.10.20 The Man-Eater
ERBzine 0351 Chat 23 00.11.03 JC and the Giant of Mars Alt.Text Only Version
ERBzine 0430 Chat 24 00.11.17 Skeleton Men of Jupiter: Summary ~ Essay ~ Art
ERBzine 0428 Chat 25 00.12.01 I Am A Barbarian: Summary ~ Essay ~ Japan Art
ERBzine 0665 Chat 26 01.08.30 A Literary Investigation of Tarzan of the Apes
ERBzine 0666 Chat 27 01.08.30 Thoughts About The Return of Tarzan
ERBzine 0667 Chat 28 01.08.30 Descriptive Analysis of St. John Art:Beasts of Tarzan
ERBzine 0668 Chat 29 01.08.30 Thoughts About The Son of Tarzan
ERBzine 0669 Chat 30 01.09.06 Psychological Investigations of Greystoke: Jewels/Opar
ERBzine 0670 Chat 31 01.10.18 Jungle Tales of Tarzan: A Novelistic Reading 
ERBzine 0671 Chat 32 01.10.21 Jungle Tales of Tarzan: 12 Lunar Labors
ERBzine 0672 Chat 33 01.11.29 Tarzan the Untamed: Imaginative Deaths of Enemies
ERBzine 0791 Chat 34 00.07.23 Tarzan the Untamed: ERB's Book of the Lion
ERBzine 0792 Chat 35 01.12.07 OFs of OB
ERBzine 0793 Chat 36 02.01.29 Tarzan and the War Against the Hun
ERBzine 0794 Chat 37 01.12.24 The Convolutions of Tarzan and the Golden Lion 
Nkima's Chattering From The Shoulder Series II
ERBzine 0664
Nkima Chat Series II Intro
ERBzine 0665
Chat 26: Tarzan of the Apes
African Adv. Story
Chat 27: Return of Tarzan
Some Thoughts. . .
ERBzine 0667
Chat 28: Beasts of Tarzan
St. John Illustrations
ERBzine 0668
Chat 29: Son of Tarzan
Thoughts About. . . 
ERBzine 0669
Chat 30: Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
Two Psychological Investigations
ERBzine 0670
Chat 31: Jungle Tales of Tarzan I
A Novelistic Reading I
ERBzine 0671
Chat 32: Jungle Tales of Tarzan II Novelistic Reading: 12 Lunar Labors
ERBzine 0672
Chat 33: Tarzan the Untamed: 
Imaginative Deaths of Enemies
ERBzine 0791
Chat 34: Tarzan the Untamed: 
ERB's Book of the Lion
ERBzine 0792
Chat 35: OFs of OB
ERBzine 0793
Chat 36:
Tarzan and the War Against the Hun
ERBzine 0794
Chat 37: The Convolutions of 
Tarzan and the Golden Lion 
ERBzine 0795
Chat 38: Tarzan and the Ant Men
An Infantile Romance
ERBzine 0796
Chat 39: Tarzan and the Ant Men
Lacanian Analysis
ERBzine 0843
Chat 40: Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins
A Story for Children of All Ages
ERBzine 0844
Chat 41: Tarzan the Magnificent
Tarzan and the Magic Women Pt. 1
ERBzine 1383
Chat 42: Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle
A Study of the Opening Chapters
ERBzine 1367
ERB Morphology: Tarzan Twins
ERBzine 1368
ERB Morphology: Tarzan & Tarzan Twins
ERBzine 1369
ERB Morphology: Jungle Tales
ERBzine 1383
Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle
Study of the Opening Chapters
ERBzine 0396
Nkima'sChattering From The Shoulder
Main Introduction and Contents Page
Tarzan and the Speed of Big Cats

Nkima On The Net by David Adams

A Guide to Other David Adams Appearances In ERBzine
ERBzine 0104: Some Thoughts on the Structure of  Tarzan the Terrible
ERBzine 0105: Nkima's Gallery: Analysis of J. Allen St. John's Art in TTe
ERBzine 0123: Tarzan the Untamed: Lions of War ~ Analysis by Nkima
ERBzine 0124: A Descriptive Analyis of the St. John Art in TU ~ Pt. 1
ERBzine 0125: A Descriptive Analysis of the St. John Art in TU ~ Pt. 2
ERBzine 0131: Nkima's Jungle Sketchbook
ERBzine 0138: Nkima's Impressions of the JCB Artwork in Tarzan & Forbidden City
ERBzine 0199: A Study of the “Frame” Stories of ERB
ERBzine 0205: Nkima's Commentary on the JCB Art in Tarzan & "The Foreign Legion"
ERBzine 0234: ICONS & ERB 1 - Poem:  Primal Scene
ERBzine 0236: ICONS & ERB 2 -  Nkima's Primal Dreams of Tarzan
ERBzine 0237: ICONS & ERB 3 - A New Theory of Icons 
ERBzine 0238: ICONS & ERB 4 - In The Image of Tarzan
ERBzine 0239: ICONS & ERB 5 - Sacred Icons of J. Allen St. John
ERBzine 0254: A Review of Fortinino Matania’s Art
ERBzine 0288: A Proppian Analysis of "Tarzan Jr." by David Adams (illustrated)
ERBzine 0315: Jeff Jones' 1998 ERB Calendar: A Spiritual Analysis By Nkima
ERBzine 0327: Burroughsian Language Banks (ERBapa Reprint)
ERBzine 0343: Comments on The Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County Illustrations
ERBzine 0344: Commentary on J.C. Burroughs’ Illustrations for Escape On Venus
ERBzine 0345: Commentary on J.C. Burroughs' Illustrations for Carson of Venus
ERBzine 0346: Commentary on J.C. Burroughs' Illustrations for Llana of Gathol
ERBzine 0646:  "Seafarer" Essay
ERBzine 0993: "Good Old Days" Christmas
ERBzine 1146: The Collages of David Arthur Adams
ERBzine 1298: The ERB / Jack London Connection
ERBzine 1338: The Adams / Prindle Forum
ERBzine 1389: Tarzan and the Speed of the Big Cats
ERBzine 1650: The Schweitzer/Tarzan Connection - Location of Tarzan's Birthplace
ERBzine 1941: A Review of David Fury's Maureen O'Sullivan: No Average Jane

David Nkima Adams
David Adams

See Nkima's photography and collage exhibits at Flickr

Volume 0396

Visit our thousands of other sites at:
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2007/2018 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.