Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 26

What a dang-blasted day so far.

I wish I had more to say, though to tell the truth it's more I don't know where to start. This has been one of those mornings where every little thing gets in the way. It didn't even start with two lines ringing with reservations while I'm on the phone with tech support because our reservation software is down and the Restaurant Week promotion has us booked almost solid all through next week. It started as a day like this usually starts, the clear omen; I step down from the front of the apartment building to see my bus just sitting at the corner two blocks away. So I can't say I wasn't expecting it,
[a wine delivery interrupts! of course! *rueful chuckle*]
and to my credit, being mentally prepared helped me get through the morning with good grace and a kind word for everyone. Which is what you should ask of yourself, on a day like this.

I've been reading Legacy of Gird, the sequel / prequel to the Deed of Paksennarion. Elizabeth Moon does wonderful work! I can see why Grandma didn't like Legacy as much as Deed. It's essentially about the task of building a righteous community, rather than an individual's rise to righteous excellence within that community. The Deed is the tale she needs more, the tale of one who learned both weakness and, beyond weakness and through her gods' grace, the courage to endure.

But Gird's story is about leadership, what it takes and what it can give. Which for some reason is a tale I need. Maybe not for my use, but at least so I can recognize it when I see it and know how it should be encouraged.

I've gone and joined another message board. A small one, but with a higher than normal proportion of those who seem able to both type AND think. Leadership, pah. I feel like this is all practicing, that I have this hunger to go out and make a community because there's some community waiting for me in the future, waiting to be built. How many things will have to die to make a space for it, or is the space already there, and I can't see it? How can a person like me, who has trouble maintaining even the few interpersonal bonds I've got, expect to forge a community? And with whom, in whom will it be forged?

In Miercoles vol. 4 I mentioned a conversation big Z had on the phone with the sound guy who installed speakers in his home, and then didn't bother to come back to maintain or fix them when they broke. The way that post looked, with the conversation right on top of my poem about magic, got me thinking. Long and hard, it got me thinking. Why should anybody help me go out and make new friends, when I know
[interruption! Sasha came in to photocopy some things. So I took the hint from the universe and turned from my typing to put some applications-for-employment on clipboards and put pens on them, so people walking in to respond wouldn't all be stealing Angel's and the servers' pens. On her way out, carrying them upstairs, I heard her singing a line from "As I Went Down in the River to Pray". Chills up my spine! Chills, I say! (The good kind.)]
so little about the friends I already do have. A few nights ago I'd had a dream with a strange beastie in it, which upon reflection is almost certainly the fullgrown version of the kitten to whom I gave water at the end of the chase dream. Now I can think of at least two beasties whom I've met and made allies with in dreams. The white bitey fire kitten, which before I worked with it to transform itself was the nasty bug sent over to me by shark guy.
[interruption! phonecalls! wine delivery!]
I don't think it's the same creature anyway. The more recent one feels like more of an air, maybe air/water beastie, while the one I got from shark guy felt more like fire/air or fire/water. The elemental categories are so clunky. They don't fit right at all. I know the system I'm using isn't sufficient, but I don't have another one.
And what's wrong, you say, with wandering around without a system? I'll tell you what's wrong. I need to be able to describe the things I see, to name them in a way that others can understand what's been happening to me. Whether I actually go to the trouble of doing such description, of writing it down and making it (sorta) public, is my lookout. But I have to be able to at least functionally explain it or I don't want to do it at all.

Magic is, ultimately, about relationships. Relationships between things seen and unseen, things possible and things actual, between time and space, between one soul and another. Science, I think, is about substances, things-by-themselves. Other mages, of great righteousness and skill, are perfectly right to be content not naming, not sorting out into parts, just letting things and people be what and who they are. But for me that is not enough. What I have, I make science or else I have it not. Whether it belongs, in part or whole, to someone else, and the right of naming is thus not mine, or whether I remove myself from it because it can't remain within my fiat, both are acceptable. Within my fiat, those are the rules. Not that I necessarily have named it, again; only that I must be able to do so, and know it.

Jimmy knew that long before I'd put words on it, I think, which is why he gave me a name to call him by before ever we met. Else I'd've gone crazy looking for one. Guides of his ilk aren't meant to have names to be used; their role is who they are. I approve of that, in general, even if it's maddening in particular.

So back to my beasties. My menagerie, what I now call by that name, is a group of templates that I came up with based on a theory. My menagerie in practice, as I make it a collection of real (?) invisible beasties, will of course be something very different, unexpected in unexpectable ways. Things that, like firekitten, used to be bound to someone or something else and used for purposes I oppose; things conversely like secretcat, that used to be wild, and followed me home because they like me. That's what my real menagerie will comprise. To the extent that it is real, at all.

It gets harder and harder to make that qualification. Tension within meaning makes magic thrive, yes. But if I go around making friends with things, and then saying I don't believe they really exist, what kind of a friend am I? Or if I truly think this is all just a way of juggling what's already in me, then why not dispense with the overcomplicated symbols and work only on my personality itself?

I think I really do believe, when you get down to it, that there is an invisible ecosystem, contiguous with the material one, composed of patterned types of energy we can't yet measure, growing and interacting along angles of time we're not comfortable perceiving. I believe that what is now magic WILL be science, that this isn't mysticism or Ultra Grande Latte Mysterium open only to a few elect. When history brushes the dust off I think this'll be one of those things like Pasteur believing in bacteria before others could visualize life that small. And I fear that coming reality, even as I believe in it, because once humanity gets ahold of some truth in nature, the first thing we do with it is horrendous slaughter. 'S why I like that Pixies song, Wave of Mutilation, so much. I think we look like that, from a certain angle of time, a rolling crest of blood and horror and pain and fear gobbling up ages and acres with its blunt knives and putrid stench. By making magic science, this dark side of people will do with it what it does with all science, before the force of our will to live drags us back from the abyss we ourselves always manage to dig.

And you have to laugh at it, you have to laugh. Because truth, like the guilt of murderers, will out eventually whether you will it or no. The only way I have a chance of pointing it in a less evil direction is if I'm the one bringing the knowledge I seek into the arena of human consciousness, the awareness of cultures, the will of people.

Which brings back the problem of leadership, friendship, community. There is a right way to do anything, and the right way to do this thing shapes and lumps vaguely in my mind even as I consider it. It takes people, who trust each other and desire the same vision of a world. It takes people who are more than friends but other than lovers (for the most part), who have skills and willpower and force, not only a shared vision.

So when I do magic for me, I have to do it right. I can't leave myself room for lasting mistakes, only the little wobbles you make while you're gaining your balance. But I can't stop even if I've made a mistake. I won't stop.

Just as the phone has not stopped ringing, ringing, ringing, people coming into the office, asking, the phone ringing, Angel paging me out of the speakerphone without waiting for me to pick up, the phone ringing, the door opens behind me.
Ordinarily resistance like that would make me stop typing.
[Gustavo walks in, standing behind me as I type; it takes a moment for me to notice him. I am unreasonably angry at the intrusion but I know it's not his fault. I tell him I've been having a shitty day; he doesn't hear me. I almost laugh, shaking my head, and say it again. He hasn't been having a great day either. I tell him I'm going over the Office Depot pretty soon, does he need anything? Pens. Pens, I say, everybody's asking for pens. Okay. And one more thing, he says. Can you smile?
I smile. That work? I say. We both chuckle. Yeah, it worked. He heads back to the kitchen.]

P.S.: I bought lots and lots of pens.

2 comments:

Amber J Eidson said...

Awww, I miss you. It's neat to see how you are doing. I'm glad you got pens.

Fiat Lex said...

I miss you too! *hugs*

Aye. I myself manage never to be short on pens, but upstairs they're always running out. Servers take them home or guests hang on to them after signing their checks. But I can't buy super crappy ones, or else they dry up on me and the hostesses when we're making reservations.