Boy, you really don't want to see a piece of my mind today.
Tell me if this is true:
Again is to against as among is to amongst. No, I don't think so.
Against all odds
Against the wind
If I tell you that you have a beautiful body, will you hold it against me?
Against my skin?
Up against it.
What a strange word. They did it against and against. No, that couldn't be right. Did they do it again and again? Well, yes, they did.
Against my better judgment
Up against the wall
The agen-bite of inwit
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soute
The drought of march hath perced to the rote
(Is there any former English major who doesn't carry that piece around in her mind?)
And bathed every veyne in swich liquor
Of which vertu engendred is the flour.
It's all I know, but it's there forever.
That's a piece of my mind for you.
Here's another piece: How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank. Here will we sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears. Soft music and the night become the touches of sweet harmony. And so forth. I learned that speech 50 years ago.
Often I read of a prisoner in long-term solitary confinement who kept his sanity by reciting all the poetry he had learned throughout his life. Well, that would get me through the first hour or so of solitary. The rest of the time would be repetition. Again and again and again.
Again a piece of my mind: I recently read a little theory about drinking: the reason we all drink too much and get away with it is that our livers are hidden inside our bodies. If the liver were, say, attached to the top of our heads, like a silly hat and visible to all and sundry, then we would be really embarrassed for everyone to see how we have abused it. All the holes and rigidities and whatever else we have inflicted on our poor livers would be right there for god and everyone to see. We'd be a lot more careful how we treated our livers if they made a visible and damning statement to the world about our lives.
Just a thought. Just a piece of my mind. I have to stay with a piece of my mind because there is no peace of mind at the moment.
Deep breath. In. Out. Slow. Deep. In. Out. Slow. Deep. Nope. Still no peace of mind. I gave it a shot, though.
Here's a piece that we'll all enjoy. Well, I'm lying. I wrote that having no idea at all what I was going to say, hoping that by the time I got to the full stop at the end of that sentence a direction would have appeared to my mind's eye.
Kicking against the pricks.
Going against the grain.
Notice how against means (at least) two things: holding something against your heart means holding it close to you. Going against someone means opposing him. So against means bringing close and holding off. Explain that to your ESL class.
Against my better judgment I look at the paper every morning.
I hold against me the suffering and the pain I read about.
It is against my principles to do some things. Notice I'm not telling you what.
It is against my best interests to reveal myself any more fully.
I am writing against time here, saying and not saying until time is called and I can lay down my pen.
My pen is new. We recently went to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Ontario Wine Awards dinner, a perk for my husband, who had been one of the judges for the awards. During the evening everyone put business cards into a large box, and after the dinner they drew a card for the door-prize: a
Well, the name drawn was not mine. Instead, it was "Dean Tudor." It took me a moment to make the adjustment. And, because he was not paying attention, my husband hadn't heard his name. So all of us at the table had to prompt him to his feet for the walk to the podium. He wasn't embarrassed, though I would have been.
He came back with a pen-sized box; the ribbon that tied it had the words "
My new pen writes smoothly, quickly. I haven't noticed an improvement in WHAT it writes, but perhaps that will come in the future, with some other mood. But in the meantime I will accept this change in HOW it writes.
It glides against the paper.
Again, again, again, say the children. Again! Hannah at 18 months, skinny and slight but so alive, so full of sensation. Saying, after I had picked her up and dropped her flat onto the sofa a dozen times, "A-dee-un! A-dee-un! A-dee-un!" She wanted no end to that feeling of being dropped through the air onto a soft landing.
And aren't we all hoping against hope for a soft landing?