Excerpt from my journal on Gilgamesh in The Faithful Son


Sometimes when I get stuck writing my novel I write by hand in my journal.  I work out some of the plot or theme issues that way.

This is a piece I wrote about Gilgamesh, who is one of four main characters in my novel in progress titled The Faithful Son.  

I hope you enjoy:

He ran because the beast in his head told him to stay, but the voice stopped talking and so for a while they had given each other a truce.  Gilgamesh knew the voice was just waiting for him to begin the lines for a new story or to try and break the thread of another one because in this way then the force could feed on that thread and grow fat with power.  But sometimes he felt that this was just the madness in his head, and so again he drew his pick and etched his story in the stone, in the bark of oaks and poplars, in the mud or in the sand if there was nothing else, hoping that the rain, swallowing what he’d written, would carry the story away far, away from the beast, beyond its talons and beyond its ability to take his words and twist them into something that didn’t exist, distorting the natural order, scrambling all sense from the tablet of destinies.  It was an exhausting task to keep etching his story into the texture of the world, and soon he grew too famished, too sick, too tired to keep up with it.  He hadn’t known how to be a man and also a refugee or a runaway slave, and so he did the only thing he could do: he turned into an animal.  If the beast sought him, the beast would face itself, wordless, storyless, a thing in the ever present now, writing no permanence that could be altered and twisted.  He had to make his mind blank, substanceless like the sky, so he forgot everything there was to know.  He forgot how to write. He forgot the languages he spoke. He forgot the night-time constellations that guided him away from the den of the beast.  But forgetting had its own problems. The beast sniffed him out, found his trail in the aimless, wordless hint towards oblivion because in the forgetting, he forgot to forget himself.  Slowly he began another line of his story, and so here he was again.  With memory. And the beast at his heels.

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