Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Maze: Thing of Things

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by Daniel Coleman
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While wandering through a maze in Wonderland, Alice comes across a group of unusual...Things. Ollie, a character from Daniel Coleman's novella, Jabberwocky, also stumbles upon the odd gathering.

"And what curious fellows are these?" asks Alice to no one in particular as she turns a corner in the maze.

"Creatures?" asks one of the peculiar little people. "Where?"

"Why, all around, of course. Including you I should think."

The pointy-nosed, blue-haired youth gives her a perplexed look. "And I should think the only creature here is you."

"Me? But I'm no creature. I'm Alice."

"And I am Thing 448."

A short young man carrying a bow enters the clearing holding an arrow to the string of his bow. When he sees the odd scene he says, "Chipper chaps cheerfully chatting and...chasing?"

"Good morning, Sir," says Alice, for though the youth is only a few years older than she, he wears a uniform.

"Ollie," he answers. "Have you seen a Jabberwock perchance?"

"I'm not familiar with such a creature, unless these lads are Jabberwocks."

"Neither creatures nor Jabberwocks," says the smiling elf.

"I beg your pardon."

"After so much time in Wonderland, I would think one would learn it isn't respectable to beg."

The odd little people run and jump and jabber throughout the large clearing. "Quite the contrary," said Alice. "It seems the longer I stay in Wonderland, the less I seem to learn."

"What kind of creatures are these?" asks the soldier.

"They aren't creatures at all," answers Alice, proud for having learned something. "But I haven't yet discovered what they are. Although I think learning that you don't know things is not the same as learning things. "

"Things! Yes," says the minikin and offers a hand to shake. Alice accepts the hand; to do otherwise would surely be poor manners.

"Things?" she asks.

"Yes. We are Things."

"And are you a boy or girl Thing?"

"Why should I have to pick one?"

"Pick?" asks Alice. "Why, one doesn't pick. One just is."

"Unless one isn't," says the Thing.

"How can one isn't?" asks Alice. "I mean, how can one not be?"

"What number are you?"

"I don't know what that has to do with the question," replies Alice. Is there no end to such creatures in Wonderland?

"How can you know if you haven't answered it?"

"Alright then, I'll answer," Alice says. "I am not a number?"

"And how can one not be a number?" The small creature looks as confused as Alice feels.

"The same way one is neither a boy or a girl," says Alice.

"Aha, you see?"

"I don't think I'll ever see."

While Alice tries to make sense of the logic, Ollie speaks up. "As entertaining as this has been, I need to find Tjaden before he finds the Jabberwock." With a small bow he adds, "Farewell, flustered female. Find fortune's favor."

Thing 448 returns to his romping and reveling.

Alice, as perplexed as ever, wanders back into the maze.


Guest post created for gyre and gimble event by Daniel Coleman author of Jabberwocky
© 2011. All rights reserved.

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by Daniel Coleman
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Read more about Ollie here...

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by Daniel Coleman

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* The thing was the assembly of the free people of a country, province or a hundred (hundare/härad/herred). There were consequently hierarchies of things, so that the local things were represented at the higher-level thing, for a province or land. At the thing, disputes were solved and political decisions were made. The place for the thing was often also the place for public religious rites and for commerce. - per wikipedia

* image source dr seuss things

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