Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Witch's Arrow

For the past couple of days I have been more or less immobile. I woke up on Saturday with a stiff neck, and by 6 pm I had trouble lifting a spoon. A couple of hours passed, and I couldn't even turn my head from side to side. The Finnish colloquial term for lumbago is, loosely translated, the witch's arrow. The ancient Finns believed that illness and pain was caused by an evil spirit throwing or shooting an invisible arrow or weapon into the body of the victim. It seems that evil spirits didn't think much of me working on a 1,500-piece puzzle for three days, hunching un-ergonomically over the table. Oh well, the puzzle looks great at least.

I spent the weekend and yesterday watching movie classics (Citizen Kane, Rear Window, Frenzy) and reading Alfred Hitchcock's biography by Patrick McGilligan, Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light, as well as Foucault's History of Madness - I finally got my hands on the the full English translation last week. Ever since I visited the remains of the deserted local mental asylum last autumn, I have been completely obsessed with the history of mental illness. During the past couple of months, I have dived head first into Freud's Studies in Hysteria (1895), as well as an all-households-type of book published in the 1920s about abnormal psychology (which, for example, treats stuttering and epilepsy as mental illness). For someone who studied two courses of psychology in high school, the whole ordeal going through all this disturbing literature has been, well, a little crazy. Foucault's book seems substantial and above all, informative, if not always comprehensive and/or easy to read (hey, it's Foucault after all).

Hitchcock's biography and Foucault's book on madness aside, I can't wait to start reading Patricia Highsmith's new biography, The Talented Miss Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar. An enthusiastic collector of snails (Highsmith always had a snail or two in her purse to keep herself entertained in case she was stuck at a boring dinner party) and a compulsive fabricator of facts about herself as well as others - now there was a woman who would probably have a thing or two to say about mental stability! I have never read a single book by Patricia Highsmith (who is perhaps best known for the character of Tom Ripley, as well as her book Strangers On a Train, which was made into a film, by no one else but Alfred Hitchcock), but for whatever reason I want to learn about her. Oh how I simply LOVE coming across books that make me feel genuinely excited and interested in what I am reading and learning!

Sweater: Men's H&M

Blouse: second hand Pola / flea market

Skirt: sister's old

Tights: H&M

Boots: Nine West


Eyeliah said...

oh no! get better soon. :-( I just watched Citizen Cane recently, it blew me away.

Maria@chicisimo said...

I hope you get better soon!! Take care!!
It´s a cute outfit, btw!

Maria@chicisimo said...

I hope you get better soon!! Take care!!
It´s a cute outfit, btw!

Amy G. said...

Ouch! As a fellow back-pain sufferer, I know how bad it can get. Feel better soon and happy reading!