This past weekend, I celebrated my Fifth Strokiversary (1, 2, 3, 4). Which I guess means Stroke Bloke is five.
A fair amount of water has passed under the bridge in five years. Let’s reflect, shall we?
[For more personal reflections, join me at the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.]
1. We Move To Scotland
Unable to afford health insurance for a stroke victim – and because it’s time – Mr & Mrs Stroke Bloke move to Scotland. My NHS doctors switch part of my drug regime to a pill that I’m told is a generation further along than the one it replaces. Edinburgh comes to be rated as the city with second highest quality of life in the world, behind Wellington.
We landed in Edinburgh as the Scottish independence referendum campaign was reaching a crescendo. I think that the folks who were energised by the first Scottish independence referendum are still suffering the hangover and bearing the scars of those last few days of belief and optimism. But before the campaign started, the opinion polls stood at a “Yes” vote of around 32%-38%, and in the end, “No” won by 55% to 45%.
Scotland would feel like a very different place today if the campaign hadn’t taken place.
3. Uptown Funk
So, this happened.
4. I Get My Degree
Wherein Stroke Bloke tries to remember what he’s learned.
5. Bowie dies
Yeah. So that happened, too. I was surprised to look back through my prose fiction and see how often short little references to David Bowie pop up. Of course, nous sommes tous Bowie now, but how a character really feels about Bowie in his various incarnations is a nice little shortcut into their mind.
6. The Big Day
Daydreaming and making plans for the future were important parts of my early recovery, even – particularly? – if they seemed far-fetched. Then one day, this was feasible.
7. Can’t Stop The Feeling
And this happened.
8. The Wee Man
Then, this. Even in my wildest strokey daydreams, I would never have imagined how cute our son would be.
And news just keeps happening. And new perspectives keep coming. What, for example, does this past Sunday’s Catalan independence referendum and the response of Spain and the European Union tell us about the next Scottish independence referendum and Brexit and the EU itself?
News keeps happening right up to today. Sometimes, it helps to step back and have a little perspective. As things kept happening, Pat Kane retweeted this.
Has anyone ever proved conclusively that MacDiarmid didn’t spent his entire time on Whalsay dropping acid? pic.twitter.com/yTgymXO1Sr
— Jim Bensdead 👻💀🎃 (@ScottishLit) October 2, 2017
Hugh MacDiarmad wrote that <deep breath> the consciousness of the multiplicity of souls that is an essential component in world literature has a temporal component – the realisation of the deep abyss of time.
Five years along, I’m as fascinated by this line from Arcadia as ever.
If you could stop every atom in its position and direction, and if your mind could comprehend all the actions thus suspended, then if you were really, really good at algebra you could write the formula for all the future; and although nobody can be so clever as to do it, the formula must exist just as if one could.
Maybe you can’t. But reading the line, it feels like if you were really, really clever, you could plot back for everything that’s ever happened and extrapolate for everything that will ever happen.
In a sense, if feels like, as I write this post, I could be lying stroke bound in a hospital bed with something forever pressing against the pain on my left side and graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 1996 and Scotland is part of the UK and I’m graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 2015 and I haven’t had a stroke and Scotland isn’t part of the UK and it’s three years from now and the Wee Man…
And everything that has ever happened and that will ever happen is happening all the time.
This a.m., @facebook reminded me I posted this pic on Oct 2 two years ago, the day after the Umpqua Community College shooting. #LasVegas pic.twitter.com/7Gyp9lTO1X
— Ricky Monahan Brown (@ricky_ballboy) October 2, 2017
Here are a few more of the days that have happened since October 1, 2012 and are happening all the time.