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A Cautionary Fable

Once upon a time – a time long past to the memories of modern man – there was a fabled land, and in that land a fabled creature, and in that creature a fabled magic. The magic, the creature, and the land were like no others of their ilk, either those before or those that have been since. Spells woven by those fabled masters of the past danced brightly across the heavens, echoed harmoniously between the mountains, and tugged within at strings woven with greater skill than any others.

As lights danced, and mountains rang, and hearts were lifted graciously, the magic leapt from the page, resounded in the mind, and hearts were lifted graciously. For the reader was more than the vessel of the spell, but the spellcaster as well. And this, rather than leaving the magicians and sorcerers in jealous disgust at the usurpation of their works, only raised their powers to greater levels and filled them with the same joy, the same depth of emotion as the ones they cast their spells upon.

And now in this modern time, we have little need of such practitioners of lies and untruth. Better still we have spellcasters who trap life on narrow slices and can show it to us for a price. And so our fable falters, with the elder magicians rent powerless as new sorcerers claim to tap the spells of the moving picture and waylay them for the benefit of the word. All the voices of the Wordmages call for simplicity in narrative, simple direct actions, all to match the transparency of the Others. I, however, stand alone in a citadel made not of weak celluloid. Within the ivory tower of dream, I walk with others, who I see as fleeting glimpses, so in truth I am not alone. We are, however, outlaws of the Authorities.

Speak simply, comes the command from the Wordmage Guildleaders, and we, the outlaws, speaking quietly, would prefer to speak beautifully. Words without purpose? Nay, we serve the Word, and the words we form on fields of spells are not without purpose. Again comes the command to tarry for naught with our inner feelings, to display for naught any inclinations or moralities, to wander for naught in making these feelings and ideals known – in opposition to their earlier codex – simply.

Aye, we laugh, holding tankards high. We are then, it would seem, to present the simplest of spells, to weave insecure, unsupported, and... frankly... ugly illusions – and then, with all that bundle of mismatched ingredients, we are to consider those we cast the spells upon to be utterly useless idiots, incapable of personal input to the spells we cast through them! And upon it all, in disgust, I might add, we are to hide with craft the meanings of our works so that they must not discover, or perhaps even realise, that we have messages we wish to present to the world. It is not so much laughter as it is righteous cries for better things, that fills the tavern this night. We gather here, come down from the tower of dream, down the steps of deepest slumber, and more than this on the location of the tavern I cannot divulge, yet it lies nearest the Shire and the Emerald City and a thousand other places as it does the lands of old of our own world.

Again we hear the doom-filled voice of blandness command, in an aside, that cliches should be dead as doorspikes (thinking we are, perhaps, not clever enough to realise that they wield a cliche to kill cliches; or, conversely, to think how clever they are for doing thusly.) And together we laugh again, raising another toast to the Editors, a curse to those of Correctness, and a praise to those of Chance. For we know, these Wordmages such as gathered this and many other nights, fleeting flickering images to all save each individually unto themselves, we know that even the Authorities can not but help to litter their own denouncement with their Anti-idea, and we know that the Idea itself is never more valid than at the present. For as they kill the cliche, claim it six feet asunder, and dance in mighty circles upon its grave; we know there is power in it still.

For how can a cliche, a truth so true it is repeated ad infinitum and nauseam, be wrong? And are they overused? We think not, and so they appear in our spells, part of the magic that allows the user to be drawn personally into the spell. And this power is strong, especially with the efforts of the Naysayers to drag them to oblivion. So brushed off, their messages become ignored, and, being ignored, it comes to pass that once more the obvious need be stated. So like the cliche, is the entire aspect of our spells. How true the tale that speaks in swathes of colour, that caresses the reader in what they know to be so false that it is true, and how the machinations of the spell represent in a broader sense what the reader knows, and how this reinforces the spirit of the reader. Yea! Good shall be rewarded! Verily! Evil shall destroy its own! Yea and verily, the valiant triumph and the ill-mannered stumble.

And the reader knows this, and is not fooled by the rapid motions of a gun shooting charges at them, but can see the words, unmoving, illusions without trickery or deceit, and can judge them for themselves. Whose story do you read upon the ink stained pages? And you, gentle reader, know the answer. It is your own.


Copyright (c)1995 Everett A Warren

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
bookgirlwa
Mar. 8th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed reading this very much, and agree with the ideas expressed. Beautifully written. Have Memoried it to reread and absorb when my mind is clearer.
ellyssian
Mar. 8th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!
patrixa
Mar. 8th, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
I agree with your premise, but must warn you. If writing becomes interstingly done and attractive to readers, then how can we have a "Brave New World" - I mean, simple is as simple does and if the populace becomes used to reading, say, challenging thoughts, might they not produce challenging actions and then where would the world be? I mean how could the leaders lead and what would happen to government if citizens wanted meaningful discourse? Then where would we be, hunh? Imagine a world where we...arrgghhh, my mind is rattling too much, too many words....must not must not think. See what happens when
ellyssian
Mar. 8th, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
Thbfffffffffffffffffffttttt! =p
patrixa
Mar. 8th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
totally agree
rowancat
Mar. 8th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
Cool! I actually have to *read* this one :)
blackbyrd2
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)
Elegant and eloquently stated. :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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