Warning: call_user_func_array() [function.call-user-func-array]: First argument is expected to be a valid callback, '' was given in /home/clocky/webapps/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php on line 286
Crows
Skip to content

Theme for a Novel

For some time now, I’ve been interested in folklore, especially those tales relating to other entities, such as pagan gods and ‘faerie’ creatures, such as the Scandinavian elves, celtic sidthe, giants, boggarts and so forth. Part of my interest is in seeing the common patterns in the myths, sometimes patterns that go back to more ancient societies – even as far back as the Sumarians, and I do sense that there are certain patterns and tendencies in the tales. A friend of mine once said that he was saddened, growing up, to see that sense of magic the world has in childhood disappear, and that has me thinking about writing a fantasy story set in present times.

However, there is some part of me that feels a need to give a ‘realist’ explanation for things that happen in my stories, and so I simply don’t feel comfortable with just adding these entities – there has to be an explanation for them. The interesting thing about the folklore that I’ve read, is how everything seems to have an amorphous quality to it – many of the descriptions and qualities of the gods/goddesses are inconsistent between writers and historic periods (deities seem to merge and split and vary in their roles), and the same is often the case with ‘faerie’ creatures (by ‘faerie’ I do not specifically mean the cute, tiny winged creatures the Victorians depicted them as, rather any mythical creature who is not a diety – and yes, the definitions often do blur).

It seems to me that these creatures are in some way a reflection of both the zeitgeist of the writers’ times, overlaid with their personal psychologies: These are the factors shaping and moulding the changes in these creatures, and the stories that contain them. In itself, I thought that was an interesting – and as far as I am aware – presently under-exposed perspective for writing about them. Many stories use the environment to reflect the inner experiences of the characters (e.g. lovers fighting during a storm), and I thought it would be interesting to extend this to their experiences of these mythical beings.

However, I still feel that I need an explanation for how people would experience these entities – oddly, in folklore, their existence is taken for granted, which to my mind is odd, given that none of the audience would (one would assume) have come across them in their real lives, and would be expecting at least some level of surprise in the reactions of people in the stories. (Continued)

A small experimental prose piece

Which of these descriptions do you think reads the best?

1)

From outside, the building seemed dilapidated: Decaying. Craggy brickwork bulwarked against the claws of the wind; wooden beams were wrinkle-stained with the deformations of age. Sad, jaundice tainted windows, many smashed to jagged shards, like teeth in a vacant grin towards an insipid sun.

goth girl - small.jpg

The door lopsidedly grasped at its frame. Weeds grew through the mortar, and long wild grass overwhelmed the path. The smell of damp earth was in the air.

2)

The building seemed dilapidated and decaying. Craggy brickwork bulwarked against the claws of the wind. It’s wooden beams were wrinkle-stained with age. Many of the jaundace tainted windows were smashed to jagged shards, looking like the teeth in a vacant grin towards an insipid sun.

The lopsided door grasped at it’s frame. Weeds pushed threw the mortar, and long, wild grass overwhelmed the path. The smell of damp earth was in the air.


3)

The building seemed dilapidated. The brickwork was crumbling. It’s beams were cracked and warped. Most of the windows were smashed, leaving jagged shards. The door was nearly off its hinges. Weeds pushed through the mortar, and long grass hid the path. The air smelt of damp earth.


4)

The building was in a state of decay. Craggy brickwork ballwarked against the claws of the wind. Wooden beams were wrinkle-stained with age. Jaundace tainted windows were smashed to jagged shards, like the teeth in an imbecile’s grin at an insipid sun.
The lopsided door grasped at its frame. Weeds wormed through the mortar, and long, wild grass overwhelmed the path. The smell of damp earth was in the air.


Gravestone of a Roman Girl

Rome is filled with antiquities, to the extent that every street seems to sport some ancient column or building from the empire days, and as for statues, they exist in profusion in the museums – mostly, it seems, of various deities and emperors. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much – to my mind – that gave me any real emotional connection to the people who lived there at the time: It is as if all their formal infrastructure (e.g. temples, baths, official buildings) has survived, but not so much of the people themselves. One notable exception, however, is the collection of gravestones kept in the city museum (the one with the statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback in the courtyard). The epitaphs seemed to be almost life story vignettes, and some were very moving. Below is one of a Roman Girl from pre-christian times, which I felt was particularly poignant. I’m not clear if it is actually written by her herself – thereby implying that she must have known that she was dying – or if it is written in her voice by a relative or guardian. What do you think?


SNB10368.JPG SNB10364.JPG

Below, is a bust of a girl of (I think) about the same age and era, to give you some idea of what she may have looked like. The description of the hair may be similar too.

SNB10087.JPG SNB10088.JPG

CrowsFooter CrowsRight