Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Beginning, No End...

I've been reading previously published stories for my Alien Contact anthology, to be published by Night Shade Books in November. This reading is an ongoing process amidst everything else I do, other deadlines that I have. See my previous blog post, "We Have Alien Contact," for background on this anthology, including a complete listing of the stories (so far) that have been submitted and/or recommended to me, in addition to stories that I myself have added to the list as well.

Currently I'm reading the novella-length story "Bradbury Weather" by Caitlín R. Kiernan, which was originally published in 2005 in Subterranean Magazine issue #2. The story is included in the author's science fiction collection, A Is for Alien, also published by Subterranean Press, in 2009. Caitlín recommended two stories to me that she felt would be appropriate for the anthology, and kindly provided me with a review copy of A Is for Alien in PDF format, which I am now able to read on my new Sony PRS-950 Daily Edition eReader. (I already have a blog post planned on the eReader and related issues.)

I don't recall ever quoting a fictional character in one of my blog posts, so this is probably a first. But I was so taken with a quote in the opening paragraph of "Bradbury Weather" that I had to post it here. The paragraph appears in a collection of proverbs written by an anonymous Gyuto monk; the book is in the possession of Dorry, the protagonist in the story:

No story has a beginning, and no story has an end. Beginnings and endings may be conceived to serve a purpose, to serve a momentary and transient intent, but they are, in their truer nature, arbitrary and exist solely as a construct of the mind of man." ― a Gyuto monk
So is the monk simply referring to the beginning and end of an actual story? Or is he referring to the story of one's life? Or am I just toying with some philosophical conundrum that really has no meaning whatsoever other than to occupy a few lines in the opening paragraph of a fictional story? Indeed, this is a quote from a fictional character in a work of fiction, but then again aren't these words, in some, albeit creative, way, spoken, or at least written, by the author herself?

By the way, the protagonist reads that one paragraph one last time, three pages before the end of "Bradbury Weather": "I open the book and read the words aloud again, the words underlined in red ink, that I might understand how not to lose my way in this tale which is almost all that remains of me."

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