Dreamed 1994/2/2 by Chris Wayan
I'm reading a short story collection by Howard Waldrop: "Night Of The Cooters." It's like wandering through a flea shop on bad mushrooms. My favorite tale is "Fin de Cyclé" [not a typo: it's about dadaism and bicycles], but all of them are fascinating--and fun. Not exactly stories, just obsessive, feverish concoctions of weird images and obscure facts. I'm glad Howard writes. If he didn't, he'd be a dangerous collector--the kind who'll kill for a rare whatsit.
As his fellow writer George R.R. Martin says, "Howard really can't plan a story worth shit, but who cares?"
Well, I care. Because if Waldrop can get people to pay for work this obsessive, this crazy, writing as wiggly as worms... then anything goes. Even my dreamtales. Even those.
I'm in Middle Earth, in southern Gondor, with some of the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf, Pippin, Gimli, and maybe others. We're on horseback, in warm spring meadows, with the White Mountains sheltering us from the storms to the north.
Someone asks about a spiritual phenomenon called Summoning. Gandalf knows best, of course, but the dwarf Gimli answers for him, "for we mustn't bother Gandalf now: he needs time to think, and his visionary strategy is more important than these immediate details."
So the the questioner turns to Pippin and Gimli, asking "What was it like, being Summoned?" The Dwarves and the questioner's people both have this concept; the hobbits and I don't.
Gimli says "I knew right away..." but Pippin muses "I was just determined to come along with my friend Frodo. I still don't know what this Summoning is, just that everyone sees me with Gandalf and Gimli and takes their word for it that I was Summoned. I guess if your people don't believe in great spiritual powers or fancy destinies, you don't feel them either."
Gandalf breaks in briefly "Quite true. Some hobbits won't look beyond their bellies. But Middle Earth goes on for some yards beyond. You were Summoned, and there are Beings that Summon for a purpose, Pippin!" and returns to his meditation.
Pippin says quietly "The strange thing is, until recently, I'd never thought about Gandalf--who he really is. I grew up with him popping in and out; he was a fixture in my world. But where did he come from? How old is Gandalf? Is he... a Summoner himself?"
I'd never thought of it that way. What if you grow up so close to an angel that you take him for granted?
NOTES NEXT MORNING
So if I've been summoned by some subtle angel, does that make this website religious propaganda? Sorry about that! And here I thought we were having fun, just rummaging through the bazaar of my brain... like Howard Waldrop.
I thought of the Web as a safe, comfortable hobbit-Shire of obsessives and collectors and monomaniacs like me building our little junk-shop sites... Waldrops all! Waldrops all!
Oh well. Wrong again.
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