Not dead

Not dead; just lazy and preoccupied.

Partly by thesis twitchiness — it’s in the hands of the people who will say if it is worth sending to the opponent. It should be; all of the four papers are published and thus can’t be transparently shit, and the introductory part is… uh, bland and brief.

Partly I’ve been occupied by teaching; the department thought that my prolapsed schedule could be funded by making me teach: now (for the first time!) this meant actual lecturing and not just TA-work. Lecturing has been fun; I’ve been trying to channel a mixture of Extruded Lecturer Product #3 and George Carlin. (Trying to channel Bill Hicks would not work.) Time — the thirteenth of next month — will show if I’ve managed to make anything stick in the heads of the little ones.

A lot of spit, probably.

Thirdly, my mind’s been partly occupied since January by yet another Erisian holy book. As usually, weird crap is easy; weird crap of quality takes a lot of polishing. At the moment the turd is 691 pages in 6-by-9-inches size, a lot of it recycled from the previous two books, and over a hundred pages is just quotes, one per page. (One might be Sappho, and the next Ernest Kline.)

For a while now I’ve been stuck stealing mythology: rewriting Aesop’s fables and writing a really odd twenty-five-page version of Snow White (representative sentence: “This last cry was because Snow White kicked him in the head, and he himself tumbled into the empty pit.”) and, er, a really horribly id-written version of Little Red Riding Hood with too much blood, gastric juices and general deviancy for me to be blogging it just yet.

Instead, here’s a random imitation of Brothers Grimm. (A problem with this mode of storytelling is that I, as a modern reader, start getting paranoid as I write. Like, “does fairy-queen sound homophobic?”, or “wait, no, ‘she touched the children’ sounds really bad. I wasn’t going for that. I wasn’t! Rats! Hamelin! It’s all ruined now!”)

* * *

The Fairy-Queen and the Woodman’s Children

A brother and a sister, the children of a poor woodman and his wife, were playing in the forest when a fairy-queen approached them. She was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen, and she wasn’t wearing any clothes at all.

“Are you the children of the man who cuts down trees?” she asked, and the children said this was so. “Tell him to cease”, she said, and vanished.

The children were scared, and told their parents nothing.

The next day, as they were playing at the forest’s edge, within sight of their hut (for they were scared), the fairy-queen appeared again, her eyes as pale and cold as her flesh, her lips and nipples red as blood. She again told the children to tell their father to cease the cutting down of trees. She vanished, the children ran inside, and could not tell their parents, for they were overcome by fear and shame.

The next day the children did not leave the hut, but stayed inside as their father went to cut down trees, and their mother went to wash laundry in the river. They kept the door shut, and the windows covered; but as they turned towards the hearth the fairy-queen was standing there, tall, pale and terrible in her beauty.

“You did not tell”, she said.

“Please”, the boy cried, “we were scared!”

“And ashamed!” the girl moaned.

“He would not believe us!” he said.

“It’s our livelihood!” she cried.

“It is more than that”, the fairy-queen said, looming over them, her hair spreading behind her like a great pair of wings. “You did not speak because I put a spell on you, a spell so you could not tell of me to your parents. Do you know why I did this?”

The children only wept.

“Because the trees your father cuts down have no voice either.”

And she touched them both, and they lost their voices.

Then she vanished.

One Response to “Not dead”

  1. Linda Says:

    She says in her best Monty Python voice..
    “He’s not quite dead yet”. Thought you gave up the ship when a Finn from the US signed on to follow your blog!

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