Language

Whiplash yet again!

Self is now parsing each word and phrase in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. For instance, this passage:

He strides to him swiftly and seizes his arm;
the man-mountain dismounts in one mighty leap.

How self adores that hyphenated word, “man-mountain”!

Smaller Troubles

Self is sure she is giving dear blog readers whiplash, because now it’s back to My Heart!

p. 178:

  • They say that troubles never come singly . . .

It’s true, they don’t!

The narrator, on top of having to deal with the after-effects of his wife’s stroke, has to worry about his 2002 Ford Taurus’s car alarm: “It has suddenly begun to go off and on of its own accord, bothering the people around us . . . That happens with American cars, in a culture founded on a quick profit, cars are built with cheap components, so as to make savings in their production and produce the maximum profit. In any case, the alarm went off uncontrollably and this caused me a significant problem. I accustomed my ear to its sound, I wake easily and dash down to turn it off, and then come slowly back up the stairs. Sometimes it happens that on my way back I hear it again, so I go back down. Horrible! I am becoming afraid of our Taurus.”

And It’s Back to the Challenge!

So who has the gall? The gumption? The guts?
Who’ll spring from this seat and snatch this weapon?
I offer the axe — who’ll have it as his own?

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation by Simon Armitage

Back to Reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the verse translation by Simon Armitage

Self is reading three books at the moment: My Heart, by Semzedin Mehmehdinovic (which she is hugely enjoying — it’s her first ever book by a Bosnian writer); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner (about Donner’s great-great-aunt, Mildred Harnack)

She reads according to her mood. This morning, the mood is verse:

The Green Knight:

I’m clothed for peace, not kitted out for conflict.
But if you’re half as honorable as I’ve heard folk say
you’ll gracefully grant me this game which I ask for
by right.

Don’t Fall Apart

The narrator’s wife has a stroke. The experience (of being the partner of someone who has had a stroke) is described simply and straightforwardly but self finds it so moving:

Her sight has deteriorated. At the same time, her sight has improved. I don’t know how else to say this. For instance: she no longer needs reading glasses, but when she looks at me she sees dark hollows on my face. To start with, immediately after the stroke, she couldn’t see anything on the right side of her field of vision, she kept touching the edge of her eye, as though something there was preventing her from seeing and she was trying to remove it with her hand. One evening her eye was irritating her so much that I bathed it in sterilized water. So, the dark patches that appear on the edge of her field of vision are particularly irritating. The experts say that the brain is a flexible and formative machine. Sometimes she’d say: “That’s strange, on my right I’m now seeing geometric shapes and the faces of people who aren’t in the room.” So what’s actually going on? Her mind is drawing images from her memory and building them into the dark patches of her vision so as to accustom her to seeing a whole, in fact convincingly deceiving her that there are no patches, no empty spaces; her gaze is filled up with images from the past, or objects from her imagination. For a week now she has not complained of darkness on her right side and maintains that she can see.

My Heart, p. 162

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