the shark that ate people

Over the Hedge [NOTE: This isn’t exactly a break from the blogalectic with Jenna St. Hilaire. And I urge you all to read her excellent new post. But, mostly because of time, I’ve decided today should be something a bit—different. It’s a fable. Really. I think.]

 The Shark that Ate People
or, probably a fable

Once upon a time there was a strange little boy name Willy who sang a strange song at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom of the sea.

The Mer-King appeared and said, “You stupid ape, you could drown down here.” Willy, who was irrational at the best of times and the worst of times anyway, ignored the Mer-King and kept singing.

The Mer-King listened for a while, and then said, “Your epistemology needs rewiring. Why not have the help of this handy pointy stick?” And he made as if to kill Strange Willy. But Willy said, “Hey, hey, watch it, hotshot!”

So the Mer-King, who wasn’t bright anyway, sat back tiredly and watched Strange Willy sing The Strange Song at the bottom of the murky gray sea.

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once upon an after, 2 of 2

A Guest Post by Jarrell Waggoner

“Wait,” I exclaimed, “you mean that if any of your stories were to have an ending, then you’d have already lived that story?”

“Yes,” it said. “That is the very reason our stories have no endings. Nor can they.”

“Why couldn’t you have a story that went on just a bit longer than all the stories you’ve experienced, and then end it?” I puzzled.

It looked puzzled at my puzzle and then, quite rightly, replied, “by the time we had heard the recount of a story of such length, we’d have already experienced it ourselves. Nor could the crafting of such a tale be completed before we had fully experienced its contents.”

“Oh, bother.” Clearly, I had not fully grasped this notion. “So, tell me about the stories you do have.”

“We may have experienced every possible permutation of events, but we still exist in time, and the order in which we experience these events is different for every one of us.”

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once upon an after, 1 of 2

A Guest Post by Jarrell Waggoner

[A word from Mr. Pond: This week, I’m away to present an essay at Anti-tales: The Uses of Disenchantment, so there’s not my contribution to the blogalectic. Read Jenna St. Hilaire’s magnificent webpartee, though.

For the rest of this week, we’re delighted to welcome back Jarrell Waggoner. His article ‘Soundtracks and Extraterrestrials’ has previously appeared at Paradoxes. In his present conversation, he explores the power of a happy ending—or something like that, I think.

Is it part of the blogalectic? Strangely enough—perhaps.]

Once Upon an After

“Well…” said I.

“Yes?” said it.

“I don’t understand what you mean by ‘happy endings’ at all.”

“Every single of your stories is one.” It seemed insistent. It couldn’t have meant what it sounded like it did; its slightly strange phrasing being (I assumed) an artifact of adapting to our complex language.

“Surely you don’t believe all of our stories have a happy ending?” I added, trying to clarify things.

“Surely I do.”


“Because they end, happily.”

I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere without examples. “But what of stories that leave all the characters expired or cadaverous?”

“But they end.” Its reply so very matter-of-fact.

“Well, yes. But what of stories of lost love and unhappiness?”

“They still end.”

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of soundtracks and extraterrestrials

A Guest Post by Jarrell Waggoner

[A word from Mr. Pond:  Our third musing on the harmony of music and fantasy.  But a somewhat different angle on it.  Where, after all, does the music come from?  And, for that matter, why?]

It has always been the aliens.

Musically speaking, anyway.  Fantasy has always had music, and music fantasy.   And occasionally aliens.

Whether our lovable characters are humming ditties across the foliage of Middle-earth or our intrepid explorers attempt to decipher the cacophonous intonations of extraterrestrial visitors, music has been accompanying the adventure since before adventures were being put to words.

Maybe we weren’t singing along, but we were being sung to.  Maybe we weren’t tapping to the beat, but the beat was there to be tapped.

So where did it go?

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