Thursday, December 31, 2009

Suffering, thinking, and a looking for lost sheep

I’ve been working on the story that I describe in the previous post, cleaning up bits of dialogue and fixing continuity problems. I’m still thinking through the end bits. And I’m still trying to find a story for Sha’Jael (shaw-jay-el) and Timothy. I’m considering an adventure set at the time of the black plague, the search for a lost treasure of manuscript, or Tim entering Edward’s service and Jael tagging along. I’m not totally happy with any of those ideas.

This is a bad day for me. I’ve been more than ordinarily sick today. I hate bad days. Fortunately tonight is a night off for me. I was working ten hours but the week’s schedule had to change at the last minute. So I’m off tonight and work Saturday instead.

An acquaintance asked me about Brownies and their place in the Pixie-Fairy struggle. I haven’t a clue where to place them, though I have thought about it. I just ignore them. I’ll think more about them latter. I have a book from 1904 that tells about brownies. But, while I like the book’s charm and old illustrations, I can’t see presenting them as that story teller did.

I’m still thinking about giants, not that I plan to write a story about them. I’m interested in the sources of cultural traditions, but not in any “scientific” way. I’m more interested in how people thought (and think) than in finding out from where the thoughts are derived.

In the 18th and 19th Centuries, some writers took the Genesis narrative as historical actuality. I wonder what sort of “history” one could make of it. I’m half tempted to write something that takes it seriously, give it footnotes and load it with speculations and comparisons. I may have to change my name to James Frazer to do it! (If you never read all the volumes of his Golden Bough, you should. Even if his method was faulty, his books are full of interesting bits!)

So, if we took the first eleven chapters of Genesis as absolute historical truth, then we’d have to answer questions that modern pre-historians leave unexplored. This might be fun, but it would take hours of research to do right. Of course I could just make it all up. It’s not as if I would be writing ‘serious’ history. But the best stories have recognizable elements of reality in them.

The Genesis stories are brief. A city is built, and conflict is implied. Implements of iron are forged, and weapons are implied. Men live long lives. Wickedness fills the earth. A prophet arises in contrast to a formalistic religion. He is hounded and disappears. The word goes out that “God took him.” But where God took him is left unsaid. Speculation abounds. Shape-shifters live among humans. Some say they’re angels who’ve sinned. Lots of drama. I wonder …

I’ve also been thinking about someone I know who thinks of himself as the ultimate expert on everything. There is probably the seed of a character in that. I do not mean to be unkind, but he has mental health issues. He is also very smart. The combination can be deadly boring – and still remain interesting. He is always convinced he is exactly right about everything. His historical knowledge is faulty, and his political philosophy is stolen from the most impractical bits of many political theories. He talks everyone down, as if the flood of words will prove his point.

He is such an interesting and annoying person that I should find something to borrow for a character. …. Time will tell.

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