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Very short stories to read at the bus stop.

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A pink-and-orange scarf. The head of a long-eared god (all the better for hearing prayers). The umbilical of a long-dead pumpkin. Straw coolie hats worn by acorns before they fell. The base of a table lamp.

Every horizontal surface and every sparse section of wall is an altar, an offering to the senses and sensibilities, something to provoke and evoke and invoke. Blank space enforces a rhythm, a musical rest in synaesthetic terms.

These things we invent in collusion and conjunction, these properties we nail together, looking for the synergisms to pull them, and therefore us, to higher heights. These are the high-flying cranes to whom we pray for intercession. If they fly high, are they not between us and the Almighty? If they fly closer, won't He hear them before us? Or can we build a tower directly to heaven and deliver our messages--our desires and criticisms--in person?

There is no angel or prophet who has not had Satan tamper with their respective messages as soon as they express a desire that can be twisted. It falls to the source of all knowledge and wisdom to repair the damage of vanity. And why not? That is what the Almighty is good for.

If we do not create our vanities, our whims, our fantasies of ourselves, we will express nothing and He will have nothing to correct.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

17th Aug 2008, 22:39   | tags:


.. so tell me why it is so difficult to produce three short pieces on cycle routes I've loved..

That third paragraph in particular has the kind of meaning and flow to which I aspire

18th Aug 2008, 08:06

The more you like something, the more you revere something, the less eager you are to risk screwing it up with a bad start. Could that be part of your problem?

The third paragraph contains a reference to the gharaniq verses, the so-called Satanic Verses, of the Qur'an, where early Islamic tradition held that Mohamed, in a moment of weakness, was reported to have spoken words approving of calling on pagan gods for intercession with Allah in order to make Islam more tolerant and attractive to the unconverted in Mecca.

The fourth paragraph is based on verse 52 of chapter 22 of the Qur'an, which by the same (expurgated) tradition was given to Mohamed as a comfort for having made a mistake.

Maybe Mohamed was defended from making mistakes, but ordinary mortals won't move at all if they're too terrified of putting a foot wrong. The passage points out that Allah will cancel out critical errors, being all-knowing and all-wise.

My recommendation is to start by describing the most vivid memory of each of the routes you took, concentrating on reproducing the emotions evoked for you. The rest of what you write will likely flow from that.

But get something down. You can always go back later to correct mistakes.


18th Aug 2008, 13:04