Sunday, 1 July 2012

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life - Mortimer Adler

It’s been too long since my last post.  Time has not been my own. Exceptionally I have been working full-time to deal with an exceptional workload.  Which has thankfully now ended.  But it left my still-convalescing body needing even more sleep.  So much so that I saw barely 5 minutes of the semi-final between Germany and Italy.  And only woke up for the result.

As a consequence, during this period, the activities I love were pushed further and further down my list of things to do.  Short as that list was: get up, get to work, get home, sleep.  And grab food as possible during the day.  I was grateful to escape to the physio once during that time.  He not only made the pain bearable, but attached me to a TENS machine which allowed me 40 minutes just to read! 

And all this did make me think. What a shame that activities that are so important to us are so easily pushed to the bottom of our priorities.  The things that make us feel good and whole and human are always the things that give way to the sterile, the tedious, the inhuman.  Such is life, n’est-ce pas?

In this frame of mind, I started reading Language Death by Professor David Crystal.  A bizarre choice, you may think, but it seemed appropriate for my mood.  And is a very interesting read, albeit unfinished as I type. But I have more physio to come, so no worries there. 

Professor DC is from my home town.  An added bonus of reading him this week.  I feel a great yearning for home when life is challenging, and all that home encompasses: the beauty, the air, the sea. My roots, my family, my childhood.  Hiraeth is what we call the feeling in Welsh.  A word that has no direct translation in English.  A word that comes from the heart.  And says so much. 

Anyway, I see Prof C’s name and I think of home. And he writes about words into the bargain. So I savour his writings. 

I interviewed him once. I don’t quite remember why. But words were involved.  What I do remember was the insuppressible awe I felt before this man.  He sat in his library of wall to wall books.  A picture of great ease and comfort.  An authority on the words that surrounded him.  And all I could think was: what a good life. 

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