Stories as therapy

Stories as therapy

The story as a means to bear sorrow is an idea I’d like to believe, but can’t quite relate to personally.  Karen Blixen was likely speaking from her own experience, and I can only admire the implicit resilience.  ‘All sorrows can be borne if you put...
Stories as generosity

Stories as generosity

An expansive view of stories from Turkestan, as if they embody the sweeping spaces of the steppe, and the freedom of those who tell them. Take me to some tales from Turkestan… ‘The essence of the stories from Turkestan is generosity, a virtue of the plains...
Nestor berates the Greeks

Nestor berates the Greeks

Old Nestor has a few choice words to say to his fellow Greeks for their unwillingness to take on the Trojan hero Hector. He compares their cowardice to his own ‘hard-enduring heart’ which fuelled his courage in his youth.   ‘Wearing this armour he...
Bright and brighter

Bright and brighter

The Trojan Hector goes on the attack with his beautiful horses, bright-maned, a complement to the bright-patterned shield of Odysseus. Note also Hector’s Gorgon-eyed murderous stare.    ‘… while Hektor, wearing the stark eyes of a Gorgon, or...
Foes and friends

Foes and friends

Here, the Trojan hero Hector addresses the Greek Ajax in friendship.  There is a number of heart- prefixed triologisms in Homer, concerning hatred, hostility, and its effects.  See also Hera’s kitting out for battle.   ‘Come then, let us give each other...
Sourdust’s skin

Sourdust’s skin

Sourdust is the aged, dusty, crumbling Master of Ceremonies and custodian of endless ritual, rites and rules in the world of Gormenghast castle, having digested a thousand tomes of protocol.  He shuffles and coughs his way in reminding the Earl, Countess and their...
Prunesquallor’s voice

Prunesquallor’s voice

The physician of Gormenghast is one of the most likeable, humane and sane of the colourful characters that people the story; while being every bit as idiosyncratic as the rest of them. His strange voice is complemented by a slightly grating, nervous-sounding laugh. ...
Can’t bear the noise

Can’t bear the noise

I don’t blame them either. A delightful recollection of a sensible ursine response to the outrage of war in their habitat. See another lovely account from the same book, of monster lobsters. “Last year, when the hard fighting was going on up there”...
The lobsters of Skopelos

The lobsters of Skopelos

Hyperbole, nothing like it when suitably blatant, creative and outrageous.  You couldn’t possibly eat one of these, only engage them in a civilized conversation about world affairs, or in a game of chess. See, from the same book, a similarly improbable yet...

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