Sunday, February 15, 2015
Sunday Sundries, 37
1. I'm no longer on Facebook. Don't know whether it will be for days, weeks ... forever. My activity on the site long ago crossed the boundary between having fun and wasting time, and I've realized--as my energy continues to wane--that I probably ought to do something else with that hour or so each day I've been devoting to posting pictures of my sourdough bread and the latest newspaper cartoons featuring Frankenstein's monster or Moby-Dick.
Still ... it was fun for a while.
Oh, and I'm still doing Daily Doggerel (not so daily)--and posting them on another blog site. Here's a link, in case you're feeling deprived!
My Twitter account (danieldyer44) is also still active--and there I post links each day to this site & to the Daily Doggerel.
2. Yesterday, I finished A Man Could Stand Up (1926), the 3rd novel in Ford Madox Ford's tetralogy, Parade's End, a dazzling series that deals with an Englishman, Christopher Tietjens, and his experiences before, during, and after World War I (a war that Ford knew well: He'd fought in it, too).
As I posted here before, I've known about Parade's End most of my adult life, but--till now--I just had never got around to reading the four novels. But when Joyce and I recently streamed the 2012 HBO miniseries based on the novels (screenplay by Tom Stoppard) and watched Benedict Cumberbatch inhabit the character of Tietjens, well, I knew the time had come to read them. A decision I've not regretted.
I've also posted here before that I'm so impressed with what Stoppard did in his screenplay--so loyal to Ford's fiction. But I love watching Ford inhabit the minds of his principals: Tietjens; his disloyal (and very clever) wife, Sylvia; the young woman he's fallen in love with, Valentine Wannop (what a name!). Here's a little sample of how he shows us the thoughts of his characters. The ellipses are all straight from the text. This is Valentine, thinking about Tietjens, just back from the war, which has just ended (and the source for the title of vol. 3 is in this passage):
Ah, the dreadful thing about the whole war was that it had been--the suffering had been--mental rather than physical. And they had not thought of it. ... He had been under fire. She had pictured him always as being in a Base, thinking. If he had been killed it would not have been so dreadful for him. But now he had come back with his obsessions and mental troubles. ... And he needed his woman. And her mother was forcing him to abstain from his woman! That was what was terrible. He had suffered mental torture and now his pity was being worked on to make him abstain from the woman that could atone.
Hitherto, she had thought of the War as physical suffering only; now she saw it only as mental torture. Immense miles and miles of anguish in darkened minds. That remained. Men might stand up on hills, but the mental torture could not be expelled (Knopf, 1961; 659-60).
Yesterday (Saturday) I was sitting in the Open Door Coffee Co. here in Hudson, and a young man sitting near me asked me what I was reading. He's a senior at a local high school (I learned), about to head off to college. I told him about Ford, about the novels, about Cumberbatch (he was really interested in that datum), and maybe, one day, he'll see the volumes somewhere, remember that Old Guy at the coffee shop in Hudson, pick up the books. And read. And be glad he did.
3. I reported last week--I think--about the dizziness I've been feeling when I change positions (lying to sitting, sitting to standing, unmoving to moving--changing speeds). If I behave as if I'm twenty (or thirty or forty or fifty or ...), I can easily stumble and/or fall these days. Alarming.
I saw my family physician this week; she did some tests (involving blood pressure, among other things) and concluded that it's just ... getting older. The fluid in the inner ear (a key in our balance) becomes, she said, more "sticky" as we age, and so we (older folks) must be more careful as we move through the world.
Yet another joy in the autumn of life ...