Apr. 22nd, 2009

In his mind, he sees a conference hall; Twilight Hall in Middlebury, Vermont, where he presented his first paper once, long ago. High ceilings and woodbeams. The audience is packed, and if not with the usual suspects, so be it. He's in a suit and tie, not his pajamas, and there's a podium and a glass of ice water.

He clears his throat; shuffles his index cards.


We have to begin with the gunslingers; who they are and what they represent. But to do that we have to go back further. We have to understand--that the basic state of the univere--the macroverse is not order but chaos. What we call the world, the tiny sane bubble where two plus two is always four, exists only as a deliberate act of will. Of magic. Of faith, in fact. And to support that world there exists a superstructure, and certain special places where that world connects to that superstructure. And to defend that structure and those places--the rose and the tower and all the rest--there exist the gunslingers.

Cam-a-cam-mal, pria-toi, Gan delah.

Victory victorious over destruction, dreamed up out of the emptiness by our Creator, again and again forever.

The gunslingers are given certain gifts; and not just once in a single stroke of thunder, as God gifts others at need. They get to keep them. And sometimes they are human, and sometimes they fail. For that reason they are tested, and tested terribly.

Odetta Holmes was born in our world, where no one ever heard of gunslingers, and yet she was one. From the day of her birth she was tested, by racism and sexism; time would add insanity and the loss of her legs. She was, when she was drawn by the last gunslinger of another world, in every way Other. Yet the core of steel was the same.

On the road of trials he drew her to, she was tested again; she lost everything, again and again. And then, when push came to shove, she left him. He chose the dark tower of ambition; he could not quit. And she chose the bright tower of love. She couldn't stay. She chose twenty years of peace, and love, and family. This man. A child. A child, who it seems, is in the most terrible of danger.

Her reaction is predictable.

What we are seeing today, ladies and gentlemen,
he sips his water, is that a tower is still a tower in the end. 'I will live and die for the sake of love, and never count the cost.' Susannah Dean--Odetta Holmes that once was--said that. She will never count the cost, and for the sake of love she will dare anything. Like the man who drew her, she is capable of anything, in the pursuit of what she feels she must do.

But he was alone. And she was not. We are the voice of her better judgment, the good work she has made in this world, and we know what she can't see right now--that this is another test, for her and for her daughter and for the world. For all the worlds.

And she must not fail. We must not fail.

He takes another sip of water; straightens himself, shoulders back.

Cam-a-cam-mal, pria-toi, Gan delah. Faith will always defeat the darkness. This is the will of God. Forever and ever. She has to be stopped. She--

And then there is too much to say, too fast; the image fails him, and he can feel the goodmind taking what it needs, a lifetime of reading and thinking and winnowing and crossconnecting and building a mental library. All--ka--for this moment.

A fragment flickers through his mind, as it's swept out that great Unfound Door (the one they called Memory) by that terrible and ruthless wind. A fragment from Stephen King's Desperation.

What is faith?

The substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.

What is the spiritual state of the faithful?

Love and acceptance.

And what is the opposite of faith?


No. Not disbelief, but unbelief. One is natural, the other is willful. And when one is in unbelief, what is one's spiritual state?

I don't know.

Yes you do.

The spiritual state of unbelief is desperation.

And another line, from the same book:

Do you know how cruel God is? How fantastically cruel?

In this desperate hour, Michael Copeland prays.



November 2009

222324 25262728

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 10:59 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios