I have to ask for forgiveness. In the first*, for leaving for so long with no explanation and nothing, not so much as a pilfered link to make up for my absence. The explanation is simple enough: I moved countries. The work involved with packing one car with everything you might need for the foreseeable future, renting out your apartment, securing a job, opening and closing your bank accounts, etc. is not to be sneezed at.
It also makes for incredibly dull reading, which is why I won’t bore you with it here.
Instead, I’d like to share with you a recently-completed writing exercise from The Art Of Writing‘s blog, to paraphrase: ‘When do pointless things have a point?’ This was, at least, where I started from though, as usual, things developed. It also helped me to become once more the Pilgrim of Eormen, rather than John Falconer, as I used the exercise to help me build my world.
Since it is a little longer, I’ll upload it in two (or three) parts in the coming weeks. Comments, questions, feedback, you know the procedure.
*and in the second, for attempting to appear clever by name-dropping a Greek legend.
This post is now available in updated form HERE
I Live Forever
Why do I do it? I suppose that is the question that most comes to mind when people see me at work. In one or two months, three at the most, everything is going to look exactly as it does now, so why do I do it? Why bother, when nobody else makes the effort? Why waste my time and silver when others clearly have no intention of doing the same?
Why do I do it?
Tonight, I’m working on the window. It is the fourth broken window this year, and it is only April. After the pieces have been taken out and the hole boarded up, after the empty space has been prepared to receive the new window (already ordered, of course), I’ll move on to cleansing the obscene daubings from the windowsill.
I recognise the signature, though naturally I wouldn’t recognise the author if I met them on the streets. There are probably a thousand possible candidates. It is now impossible to count the number of gangs roaming the streets in this quarter of the city; poor gangs, apprentice gangs, some slightly-more-progressive mixed gangs – the rich gangs, more properly called ‘bands’ do not come to this part – and then our new addition: the refugee gangs.
You surely do not need me to tell you that peace, whether through victory or defeat, is the most distant of dreams. My generation was the last to know what it meant.
Happily, I am no refugee, in as much as I never fled from war, though I will never belong here, either. When I was young, coming to the city to study the medicine at the Great College of Thenos, my colour clearly set me apart. When I returned to my own land, I was still the outsider; I had learned too much. I was able to watch as freedoms were removed, as whole families were removed – first from sight, and then from the face of the earth.
And because I had learned too much, I knew that they would come for me too, one day. My knowledge of freedom was a threat, my ability to speak my mind, to speak through the filter of experience, and not of prescribed doctrine, was a threat. I returned to the city that had educated me from my land, and I returned to making sick people well. But I was not a refugee. There was no war.
The blog from which this challenge came is called ‘The Art of Writing’, by Tobias Mastgrave. You can see the original post HERE