Saturday, January 21, 2006

Children, it's time for a bedtime story

I had barely launched into my brief career as a graduate student in history when creativity and playfulness won out over scholarship. Two fellow students, the “Budwomen,” asked for a bedtime story. I departed from their dorm room and returned shortly thereafter with Chapter the First of the following tale. It was only the launch of a month-long adventure story, what I called a bedtime tale for grownups. At first I had no idea where it would take us all. For an organizing mythology I turned to a major in folklore and mythology. Others contributed ideas along the way. Since this was clearly going to be a serial, I sought to end each chapter with some sort of cliffhanger. Silly as the whole thing was, we all agreed it ended too soon.

The tale of Jonathan’s time in Mithernesse led to a request for more information on Hermann of Bjupaž. That biographical note mentioned “the wasting of the Gardens fourteen centuries later” and from that throwaway line sprung a longer sequel: “Isenwaste” (featuring Jonathan’s granddaughter Gwyn). With the inspiration of Tolkien in the background, I pondered histories, maps, languages, cultures, and genealogies. Thus my first year at UCLA was spent mostly living in a parallel universe—without the aid of drugs, I might add.

The entire creative endeavor found its way into my therapy sessions this last year and I have wanted to revisit the magic and mystery of these adventures with a deeper perspective.

To the sorrow of many, my high school humanities teacher, Alan Amend, died in 2005. He is the Cap’n Poseidon mentioned in the original preface. As the initial tale was dedicated to him, I had given him a photocopy long ago. Gay Amend, his widow, graciously offered to return it to me, thus providing the opportunity to go back once again. This revision and expansion, adapted to the serial style of the modern weblog, I now dedicate to both of them.

To Uncle Al and Gay,
May you ever continue to see kindled the imagination of
your students.

Paul E Strid
Hercules, California
January 2006


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