Moments in Magical Modernity: XI (The Godly Edition)


Author’s Note: This one is much inspired by Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods, both favorites of my husband’s.

There is one night a year where deities get the night off. Gods, lords, fae barons, all the like: it’s their night to relax from answering prayers, helping destinies along their way, healing, protecting, teaching, growing, and abiding. Big and small gods.

But that doesn’t mean that the world is left unattended. One god is always left in charge, a sort of designated survivor, as it were. They take it in turns and that god oversees the world at large for that twelve-hour stretch, keeps records and tallies, notations on prayers and needs, and answers earnest prayers that might have time-sensitivity. Oh, and Cerberus needs to be walked, after all.

Everyone knows of God’s Night Out but life doesn’t pause, even for the gods. Their line of work’s cogs never stop. That’s why there is always a designated deity on GNO.

A favored spot for GNO is often Banebridge Farms. One: it is far from cities and multitudinous souls that inhabit them, and two: Bryan’s property boasts a large acreage of ancient forest, purposefully left un-tilled and to run wild wild. In it are groves and fairy circles, templed ruins and venerable, cracked stone tables of old. The Lord of the Hunt himself considers this place a pleasant  respite and so, once every year, Bryan Banebridge and his staff find themselves playing host to the most glorious and varied of pantheons ever assembled. Ahead of GNO, Dionysus always  brings up the ambrosia and liquor, all the tastiest ingredients, and Bryan and his cooks whip up some absolutely ethereal and otherworldly dishes and drinks. As a result, though Bryan still has to work hard and romance his investors, there are godly machinations to make sure that Banebridge Farms is never deeply in peril.

Now, it is true that not all gods attend GNO at Banebridge Farms. Some of them choose their own ways to enjoy the night off. Some of the eternally-watching gods take the opportunity for a good twelve hours’ sleep. A power nap, if you will. Others, like Atlas, take a walk to stretch their stiff legs. Night, underworld, and winter gods sometimes bask in the bright, warm sunlight of a beach in Bora Bora or Maui (hey, it’s not nighttime everywhere at once, after all).

Everyone knows about Gods’ Night Out. Even the eternal need a break. Tomorrow, it will be right back to work. Stars will be tended, sun and moon set and risen. Prayers will be assessed, requests weighed, comfort given, and answers given by the designated deity reviewed. Every god back in their place and position, their faithful adherents breathing a sigh of relief, like a child whose mother has finally returned from her night out and kissed their head as they lie waiting in their bed.

All is right with the world, and big and small gods–tanned, fed, rested, and slightly hungover–have a few new stories to tell until next year.

Advertisements

Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman


3/12/2015 – I have read several of Neil’s short stories before and really enjoyed them. My husband is an avid fan of some of his novels. So, when I spied this new collection at the bookstore, I immediately grabbed it up as a gift to myself after a long week.

I am always intrigued by Gaiman’s writing and, moreover, of his thought processes as a writer and the introduction alone to this collection of stories is a thing of beauty.

We build the stories in our heads. We take words, and we give them power, and we look out through other eyes, and we see, and exprience, what others see. I wonder, Are fictions safe places? And then I ask myself, Should they be safe places? (page xiii)

Many of the most profound stories I have read have encited some of the most intense emotional reactions in me – anger at injustice, tears, worry, fear, joy, etc. – and many of them, I have read time and time again. I chose to skip Gaiman’s words about the individual stories that he has included in this collection; I shall come back to them after I have read the tales.

So far, I am through the first two pieces, “Making a Chair” and “A Lunar Labyrinth”. The first, in my mind, stands as an introduction to the collection and the idea of “trigger warnings”:

Making a book is a little like making a chair./Perhaps it out to come with warnings,/like the chair instructions./A folded piece of paper slipped into each copy,/warning us:/”Only for one person at a time.”/”Do not use as a stool or a stepladder.”/”Failure to follow these warnings can result in serious injury.”

More to come! ^_^