21 October 2006

A Night at Sir Toby’s

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 10:19 am

[This may look familiar — I wrote it as a comment elsewhere this morning. I didn’t want to lose track of it, so I dragged it back here. Besides, this is a different context: maybe it’ll mean something different here.]

Stepping in from the thin cold rain that had been falling for as long as anyone could remember, John hung his cloak on the peg by the door and slumped into an empty chair by the fire. The wench brought him a beaker and, raising it in good cheer to the assembled theologians, he quaffed deeply and spoke.

“God knows I’m not an emotional man, nor a kindly one. Some might deem me cautious; others, arrogant.”

John waived his hand dismissively. He filled his pipe and, plucking a glowing twig from the edge of the fire, slowly coaxed the dried leaves to smoldering life. Not without irritation did the others wait for the emissary to continue.

“Wouldn’t this be more…,” John hesitantly began. “Imagine if all this were imaginary. The cabal, the inn, even the endless rain, each one of us – all conjured by the imagination.”

“Not the ale though, I trust, lad?” The hearty laughter of well-fed men and women circled the room without echo.

“Not my imagination,” John clarified. “I would not have imagined the tobacco, even as I find myself smoking it.” Though they had wondered about the pipe, speaking of it among themselves, none had asked John about it, assuming it to be a custom, perhaps even a ritual, associated with his obscure legation.

“What of God then, brother?” asked the Cistercian.

“You mean is it God’s imagination that gathers us comfortably around this congenial hearth?”

“Your thought, not mine,” the Cistercian muttered to the oblate, who was too busy attracting the attention of the serving girl to notice. Dogs wandered hopefully among the theologians.

“Perhaps God,” John mused. “Or perhaps God is as we are.” With his pipe he gestured vaguely around the room, shimmering in the steamy heat of the fire.



  1. is this a ‘we live in the mind of god,’ imagination-as-reality sort of muse? although i like it i am not sure i understand it entirely. is it more to raise a question than offer a statement?

    i like that myself, and along those lines i wonder what part (if any) of clare’s dissatisfaction with my work is her dislike of that.


    Comment by stacy — 22 October 2006 @ 7:39 pm

  2. If you go look at the OST Prague discussion you’ll see that today I confessed my heresy. I suppose I wonder more whether God lives in the mind of man. But stories can go a long way without ever resolving ambivalences like this. The amivalence pisses some people off I’m sure. As I said at OST, I can imagine myself all sorts of things… even a believer. Part of writing stories is projecting yourself out of yourself — a strange kind of fictional empathy.


    Comment by ktismatics — 23 October 2006 @ 1:48 pm

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