Anglish the Mindworm


If you follow my blog, you’ll have noticed something by now. Asides from the inherently obscure, niche-like nerdiness of it, that is. Namely, I tend to have periods, lasting a few days to a few months, of fairly intense blogging, followed by months or even years of no activity whatsoever. This isn’t because I get bored of this whole Anglish thing and come back to it from time-to-time like a fatty* who pops back into the gym every six months or so trying to convince himself that “this time it’s for real”. It’s exactly because Anglish isn’t a fad or trend for me that I keep coming back to it. Anglish is just something I am. No matter how much time passes, no matter what dramas I have in my life, I always keep coming back to Anglish.

I don’t remember when I first started specifically discussing Anglish — my involvement long predates this blog. And I don’t know what caused my interest in it: although I suspect it’s a combination of (i) my lifelong desire to teach and explain stuff**, (ii) my artistic, creative side, (iii) my love of language and languages, (iv) my lifelong interest in conlanging, (v) my deeply-felt English patriotism, (vi) my interest in history, and (vii) a daydreamy, whimsy-like disposition of my character.

In any case, Anglish is a bug, it’s an interminable itch of the mind, an ongoing fever with periods of lucidity and peace and calm and others of sweaty, febrile psychosis. Frankly, it’s what I call a mindworm. That is, an idea that has burrowed its way into my mind, like some kind of hideous parasite. And it won’t leave its cosy new gray home. Sometimes it’s at rest, and I do not work much on Anglish. And sometimes the worm stirs or gets agitated, and provokes my mind to obsess fixedly on this notion of Anglish. But it’s always there, lurking beneath the surface, getting ready to derail my day by assaulting my mind with a barrage of new wordforms or ideas (and thereby preventing me from, say, taking out the rubbish, doing the ironing, or putting my pants on). For this reason, I’ll never leave Anglish even if I have apparent breaks from it. Or rather, Anglish will never leave me.

So there we have it: mindworm. I based it on the model of “earworm” — noun: a song or part of a song that repeats in one’s mind; verb: to work itself or its way into one’s mind — which is a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm. A related word: minditch. That is, a mental itch that one must scratch, an idea that causes you to come back to it. A minditch can be caused by a mindworm, or may arise through some other means.

So there we have it. Anglish, one of my greatest mindworms. To paraphrase Shakespeare: As long as I can breathe and I can see / This mindworm twitcheth and gives life to me.

*This isn’t offensive; I’m allowed to say “fatty” because I am one and I do pop into the gym every so often to convince myself that I’m actually giving it a fair go.

**A significant part of the urge to Anglish, is the urge to have a plainer, clearer English.

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© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

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