Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bahamut - slightly adapted from Jorge Luis Borges

"God made the earth, but the earth had no base and so under the earth he made an angel. But the angel had no base and so under the angel's feet he made a crag of ruby. But the crag had no base and so under the crag he made a bull endowed with four thousand eyes, ears, nostrils, mouths, tongues and feet. But the bull had no base and so under the bull he made a fish named Bahamut (so immense and dazzling is Bahamut that the eyes of man cannot bear its sight; all the seas of the world, placed in one of the fish's nostrils, would be like a mustard seed laid in the desert), and under Bahamut God put water, and under the water he put darkness, and beyond this men's knowledge does not reach."

Just reading Borges's book again as ideas for a new novel simmer in my brain. Every time I read this entry in The Book of Imaginary Beings I can't help a) delighting in the metaphysician's inventiveness and description and b) laughing. I wonder, if the metaphysician was going to end the description with "beyond this men's knowledge does not reach" why did he bother investing such detail in his preceding descriptions, particularly of the bull and the fish? But mostly what I wonder is how he asserted the other levels in the stack with so much certainty if he was comfortable admitting the limits of his knowledge? Was he really so certain a giant fish held a bull that held a ruby mountain that held an angel that held the world?

Woke up today to a surprise blanket of fresh snow in the garden. Felt a little like a child again, when a stealthy overnight snow turned the world into a magical kingdom.

I've decided to hold off posting any new chapters this week, other than the first part of the Theseus Skit chapter I posted on Tuesday. I might be posting the second half next week, in which Theseus tells the true story of how he met Ariadne. But we'll see. I might not post anything new for a few weeks. While I've been busy editing the next cluster of chapters, I've also seen the need for some organizing and planning. At this point I've posted just under half my chapters, and some of my edits have turned into revisions with significant domino effects on later chapters. So it seemed a good idea for me to take a look ahead and get prepared for the big push to edit and revise the second half.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Unsettling Wonder has landed

No new chapter for The Black Dionysia this Friday as I've been taking something of a break from my routine this week. Instead of trying to post a new chapter I spent time on earlier chapters that needed work. For a while now I've felt that some of my chapters were just too long and needed to be subdivided. Also, my wife, who has been an enormous help with the editing process, had suggested a number of changes and corrections that I had to address. It kept me busy enough without worrying about a new chapter for Friday. I'm back on track now, though, and hope to have the first part of the next chapter online by Tuesday.

I also just received my copy of Unsettling Wonder. I've been looking forward to this first ever issue for several months, as the descriptions of the project intrigued me:

We craft and tell stories because we’ve stood on the uncertain edge between the waking world and our imagination, between enchantment and fear. And we remember other stories that help us build our own stories, scraps of lumber and fragments of narrative we gather together to make stories for ourselves. 
Unsettling Wonder is about going back to that place, that troubling, entrancing glimpse into story. Childhood affords us the first glimpse, but it is by no means the last. And the oldest stories—the fairy tales we met in childhood, the folklore and folk traditions that gave rise to them—can still be woven together for telling today. We want embrace and celebrate, re-imagine and re-invent, our folk traditions, the wild and variegated scrapheap of story and theme and motif that lies open to the magpie gaze of the writer.
The quality of the first issue does not disappoint. My only wish is that it was a bit longer. Even so, I haven't read it all yet. But what I've read, Claire Massey's 'The Woman Who Wore Frost Slippers' and Johnny Wink's poem 'Great Grey Moles', are excellent examples of the living tradition of fairy stories in action.

Monday, 11 February 2013

There! I've got all the formerly posted chapters from The Lost Biography of Zeus updated. Now I can get back to the new chapters.