he loves me, he loves me not

Meredith, girl, i’m really feeling your questions. allow me to quote the end of your response post to Chapter 4: The Nineteenth Day from The Left Hand of Darkness:

Some questions that are alive in me.

  • What do numbers mean beyond counting?
  • What are the knots in destiny that move us forward?
  • Do we have choice?
  • What is involved in telling the future?
  • Why does fortune telling involve a price?

imma go ahead and respond to these one by one, they are so delicious i cannot help myself.

  • What do numbers mean beyond counting?

Rhythm for Dummies(tm): find a way to communicate the beat.

this is a question perhaps best answered by those with a different experience of counting and numbers. indigenous societies, young children in our society.

how would a child answer this?

i want to write: numbers are useful for expressing relationships. i know the length of the hypotenuse because i know these two angles. i know i want a half-cup of oats per person in my family for breakfast. there are 72 names of god, and each is an archangel, a code, a way to express divine thought.

are pursuits such as modeling and prediction reducible to counting?

  • What are the knots in destiny that move us forward?

what an incredible image! i imagine knots on a rope that make it so much easier to pull oneself up, up, up. better grip, even a place to rest. knots seem like something convoluted, a problem to solve, a tangle, a mess (Gordian knot). knots are not desirable—or—are they the only way forward? glitches, bugs,  errors, and mistakes are praised, in theory, for the opportunities for learning they provide. in practice, however, our society is still attached to what is straight, true, unblemished, perfect.

  • Do we have choice?

i don’t think you could ask this question without having some degree of choice.

  • What is involved in telling the future?

forgetting time.

  • Why does fortune telling involve a price?

and, building on this, why is knowing our moment of death taboo in so many societies? this is a grave mistake, the desire to know specifics beyond the general. you would need massive work on yourself to not be attached to knowing…

i was touched by the way that the (chief?) Foreteller, the Weaver, addressed the impoverished lover with the respect due to royalty once the lover made it clear that he would sacrifice his life to gain the information that would bring Lord Berosty solace. when you love like this, beyond time, it resonates. a deep, soul-knowing love.

i also noticed that this brief tale, like that in Chapter 2: The Place Inside the Blizzard, is about a journey. leave, encounter the mystery, return as a changed man. or in the case of Chapter 4, a dead man. in chapter 2 the hero enters a white void. in chapter 4 the hero(es) enter the darkness of Foretelling.

love-bonds are also central to the two tales. love and betrayal. i wonder, was the King of Karhide a lover of the now-exiled Estraven?

Meredith, as an exercise, i wonder if we could collaborate on a short Karhidish tale, perhaps once we’re further along in the book. pick a moral principle that seems central to that world, and illustrate in the form of myth.

1 comment

  1. Aya – I would love to elaborate on a Kardish tale. I sort of love the idea of writing a book through writing its mythology. It reminds me of Tolkien (and others since) writing the ancient songs of a people…

    Rhythm for Dummies(tm): find a way to communicate the beat… Numebrs are the beat- this is profound

    What is involved in telling the future?
    forgetting time. – oph! that hit right

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