On November 25, A.S. Peterson’s wicked progeny, the Budge-Nuzzard, turns ten, and a new story will be born.
For the greater portion of the last year i have been working on a Budge-Nuzzard story in biblical Hebrew. “When you bite the Nuzzard, the Nuzzard bites into you,” says Bornholdt the Wider, and indeed i have found this to be true.
It’s a funny thing, the way this ludicrous, lobidious, remarvelant, robiderant blogfiction has taken hold of me. True, Bornholdt forewarned me, but i could not have anticipated that more than a year and a half after discovering the Budge-Nuzzard i would not only still be reading it, but studying it, translating bits of it, hand-binding it, and even writing my own story in homage to it. What began as a gleefully brain-melting thunderbolt and progressed to an alarming obsession turned finally into something else entirely. As odd as this weird little unfinished story is, it is mine—an unexpected gift of divine grace. It has done for me what all stories are meant to do—it’s made me stronger, made me feel i’m not alone—and it’s done so in a way so peculiarly suited to my own brain that i can hardly believe it’s real. i know it’s weird, but i am weird. We, Thaddeus Glapp and i, are weird. And i’m immensely grateful to have discovered this beautiful weirdness.
Dear Thaddeus, you are one of the poets i have known.
i cannot wait to introduce you all to my protagonist, Yaunsi (Jouncey from the original tale), and to relate his adventures here, for your digestion. (Along with audio recordings, of course, and translations as well.) Until then, my editor, Shiphrah, and i will be hard at work to make sure that the grammar (if not the story) makes as much sense as possible.
See you on November 25.
Last summer i began writing a short story about a hailstorm. Today i pulled it out again to reacquaint myself with it, as i mean to finish it this summer. Here are a few sentences, none of which i remember writing.
“He still called it a river, although the strict definition of a river involved water and thus he was stretching the truth somewhat.”
“But the drought had driven [the fireflies] away. They could not breed in the dust of the riverbed; their lights dimmed and went out, and the long years since had lost something of their magic. The earth became simply earth, the grass withered and grew yellow, and silence descended into muteness. The earth had stopped speaking.”
“The screen door screeched and banged again, protesting against the work for which it was created.”
“When it came, the thunderclap was loud enough to shake the house, and drops of rain fat as field mice fell from the sky like the sudden descent of the apocalypse.”
“His skin tingled with the charge in the air; the hair on his head and his arms stretched toward the heavens as if pleading with the black clouds to stop their vicious assault.”
“And still the hail poured from the heavens as if it desired the land below, as if no speed was adequate to the joy of arrival.”
This summer, i set myself a goal of writing a short story for every class i take during my graduate studies career. Now is the time to start making that happen. Midterms are over and November is upon me. The plan is to write both shorts this month, taking advantage of the community and momentum that NaNoWriMo provides, although as long as they’re finished before next semester starts i’ll call it good. It took me awhile to come up with my projects, but here they are.
For Hebrew, i am actually going to write a story in Hebrew. i’m pretty excited about this. ‘Round about week three of class, when all of my vocab words started sounding alike, i realized how much opportunity there is here for wordplay. Asher (the name) sounds exactly like asher (a pronoun meaning who, which, or that), and shares sounds with yashar (upright/straight) and rasha (wicked) and ashir (rich) and asah (to make or do). That week i had to make sentences just to help me keep all the words straight. Asher yashar; Asher lo rasha. “Asher is upright; Asher is not wicked.” Asher asah kesef; Asher ashir. “Asher made money; Asher is rich.” (i love saying Asher ashir.) Jonathan said my sentences sounded like a Dr. Seuss book, so that’s exactly what i’m going to do—write a picture book full of wordplay in Hebrew. To make all this even better, one of my tablemates (we’re divided into groups of four) goes by the Hebrew name Asher, and has a two-year-old daughter. So fictional Asher will learn numbers and colours and other words, and have adventures, and render my readers tongue-tied in the process.
For Pentanteuch and Wisdom, i had a much harder time coming up with a story idea. All the ideas that were presenting themselves were based directly on the stories we were reading, but i am not interested in writing Biblical fiction. i wanted to write a story inspired by the class, not simply drawn from the reading. My exegetical paper was on one of the Lady Wisdom passages in Proverbs, though, and she fascinates me—but i didn’t know what to do with that. The solution turned out to be both simple and unexpected, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve spent a fair amount of time so far this semester talking about how Israel adapted the literary traditions of neighbouring nations in writing their own history, creation myth/account, and even legal codes. Our professor broached the question of how far a Christian can go in engaging and adapting cultural forms in our own setting. And so i’m going to try something i’ve never thought to do before—intentionally adapt a cultural storytelling form towards which i would not naturally gravitate. i’m going to write a superhero story. i’ll seek to conform to the genre’s conventions, while inverting some of the themes and cliches. So far, my protagonist is about half-created. Her name is Hélène Hokma, named for my Hebrew professor (Hélène Dallaire—the name Hélène means “light”) and Lady Wisdom (Hokma, or Hokmot, in Proverbs). i’m still stuck on a nom de guerre and a concrete array of powers, although i do have some ideas and the beginnings of a costume. As for setting and theme, she’s going to live into a dark place like Gotham and do what Batman wishes he could do but can’t: Inspire hope and actual transformation of the city. Oh, i have ideas. You’ll just have to wait.
i just had a crazypants, terrifying, exhilarating thought: You know those short stories i plan to write, inspired by the classes i take?
What if i give them to my professors at the end of each semester?
“Thank you, and here is one thing that your class inspired in me while i processed the material and discussions.”