Why You Shouldn’t Share Everything

13 03 2011

I find the internet to be a strange phenomenon. Especially in regards to things like blogging and social networking. When my heart is hurting or I’m confused about something I want to get input from friends and loved ones. But to share my heart on facebook, for example, means including all 270 of my “friends”. Now, I like all my FB “friends”, some of them I would trust with my life. But the majority of them do not know me well enough to be privy to my inmost thoughts.

And yet I have this repetitive urge to share with the interwebs all my thoughtiest thoughts. (Yes, I just made up a word). It’s frustrating and enough to make you delete your facebook account. I do NOT delete my account, however, because I actually enjoy seeing what people are doing throughout their day. My sister’s meal choices, Danielle’s amazing naturopathic know-how, pictures of my best friend’s baby and on and on and on.

I’m not sure this all has a point, other than my desire to have meaningful relationships seems to be cut off at the pass by the instant gratification of the internet. Secondarily the reminder to myself and the world that it’s better to say nothing at all when one is undergoing emotional stress. Truth doesn’t translate well via twitter and facebook. 180 characters cannot express reality in any meaningful way.

I’ve had this short story idea bouncing around and since Robin requested this new post I’ll take a first whack at it. If I was a “real” author I would never post first drafts on the internet. Luckily for you all I’m a fake author. Enjoy!

There are enough towers in the world to house every girl of above-average looks whose father tends to the paranoid. I myself know of six towers within a days’ gull-flight that are nigh impenetrable by even the boldest knight. Two are in a miry swamp, three on the cliffs by the sea and one is guarded by a flock of flesh-eating goats. The poor girls sit in their towers, wasting their time with day dreaming and excessive needlework.

I know their past times because I too am a girl in a tower. It was my idea to train birds to carry messages from one fortress to another. Even the stupidest girl will go literally mad if unable to communicate with someone and I have an above-average intelligence. The other girls aren’t particularly good correspondents but they benefit from a wider view of the world. My tower is in a mountain pass surrounded by snow and ice and clouds. I haven’t seen anything but mountains for years.

But they write me of sunrises over the sea and the different animals in the swamp. The girl with the flesh-eating goats always sends me lovely sketches of any kids that are born. They look much like other goats and are almost sweet-looking if you ignore the teeth.  In turn I try and teach them history and tell them about all the young men, both knights and bold adventurers, who come to rescue me.

You see, unlike the others, I was not put in my tower by a wicked aunt, a belligerent father or even a mean-spirited sorceress. The entire thing was voluntary. In the mountains where my village is we have a very Wise Man. He doesn’t actually live IN our village of course. Wise Men hardly ever associate the people unless they have to- the Wisdom makes them cranky.

Anyway, we have this Wise Man. When I was about twelve years old he came galloping through our village and into my Da’s shop. He pushed aside three matrons and the barrel of fish I was opening and shoved his bearded face as close to mine as he could. I could feel the cold coming off his skin.

For a while no-one said anything. I’d have liked to run away but my Da raised me to be respectful and there is something VERY disrespectful about running away from a Wise Man.

After a while he opened his eyes really wide and spoke. “You must go away. It’s the only safe thing to do. You must go away.”

“Safe for who?” My Da’s big voice came booming over the counter.

The Wise Man never looked away from my face. “For her. For us. Maybe for all the land.”

“And where do ya suggest she go?” Da seemed- cowed- I’d never heard him sound that way. I dared a peep at his face. Nothing ever scared me if Da wasn’t afraid but he looked afraid now.

“I know a place.” The Wise Man pulled back and turned to talk to Da and I at once. “It’s far away from here. I’ve seen that she must go there and never leave until I give her permission. She’ll be safe and comfortable as magic can make her but she must go alone.”

“When would I leave?” My voice was a pitiful squeak, I know and it shames me now.

“Today. Right now.”

“And what’d you say’ll happen if she says ‘nay’?” Da demanded.

The whole shop went silent. The matrons and the small crowd that had gathered stopped even breathing, it seemed.

The Wise Man pulled in a deep breath, pulling the air out of my lungs.

“Death.” He whispered. “Plague, madness, war, infirmity- who knows? But death all the same.”

I told him then and there that I’d go. In three hours I’d kissed my Da, packed a bundle (smuggling in my favorite cat) and been trundled onto a horse.

It took us weeks to get to the Tower. The Wise Man never entered the place. Just bade me enter and heard me vow never to leave until he said I might.

That was eleven years ago.

Every so often some nice young man comes along to ‘rescue’ me. Apparently quite the legend has built up around my particular tower. I always feel terrible for the ones who make it to my door. They’ve had a wretched climb and a dangerous cold journey only to be told “no”. No explanation would suffice so they leave confused and hurt. It appears that the legend says I am waiting for the very boldest, handsomest and wealthiest Prince in the world. The sad truth is I’m just waiting for permission and I’m just as heartsore as they are about the entire situation.

When they are particularly bold I give them directions to the other girl’s towers. A couple girls have actually been rescued in the past few years though the towers never stay empty for long.

Either there are a lot of paranoid fathers or an excess of prophetic Wise Men.

Do not get the wrong idea. I’m glad to be here if it’s keeping even just a few people in my village safe. I’ve heard nothing of drought, war or plague so hopefully I’m doing some good. Loneliness won’t kill me like a plague would  kill them. Hopefully whatever the Wise Man saw will pass on and I can come out soon.

On a happier note- the cat I brought with me is pretty good company.




4 responses

13 03 2011

Thanks Meghan. As always, a pleasure to read anything you write.

13 03 2011

Of course, it’s not really a story. It’s more of a set-up for a story. It was written at 2am, though, so I’m cutting myself some slack.

17 03 2011

It’s clever as it is. Knowing it’s a (potential?) setup to more is even better.

Also, this seems somewhat reminiscent of George MacDonald’s stories. Which is quite good, we need more stories like that.

17 03 2011

Thanks for the feedback. I’m enjoying blogging again and the comments are a big part of the joy. Hooray for you!

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