Wakdjunkaga in Cedar Rapids, continued

Wow. Hits tanked yesterday. I think I am getting my answer about the plausibility of continuing with this turkey. Do ye agree, faithful readers? However, since I have the material all ready (correct use of that phrase, by the way; already would be wrong) to post, you’re going to get more, continuing today.

Chapter 4 continues, as the narrator tries to provide a notion of Wakdjunkaga’s personality through some anecdotes…

I bet you can see my teacherly self poking through the fiction, especially in the choice of conversational topics.


The Book of Seasons

chapter four, continued

Once, when I was preparing a lesson in world lit on the Enlightenment, Wak intruded from his room (a story in itself, that room). He had been writing something.

“How do you spell judgment?” he demanded.

“Check the dictionary,” I laughed. “That’s what I always tell my students.”

He overlooked the chance to ask if I was unable to spell myself, referring everyone to the dictionary instead. “Got one?” I handed it to him, and he found the entry. “Damnation! Either way; with the ‘E’ or without. Why’d I bother?”

“Now you know,” I offered.

“Like hell! I’ll forget. I’m an old man. And senile. Or I’d’ve known already. I don’t have a head for rules. I know there are rules for these things, but I never can remember them.”

“I never learned them.” A fact I was discovering only too well as I encountered students each day.

“Never learned, and you an English teacher!”

“I spell all right.”

“But how does that help your students?”

“I’ll correct them,” I answered, more than a little piqued at his attack.

“That’s what got done to me. Look how I am now.”

“I never taught you. — Or will I? Besides, you’re the one who can’t remember the rules.”

“Were the exceptions,” he muttered. “It was always the exceptions that made learning the rules so damn silly.”

“That’s what we get,” I said, setting aside my notes, “for not setting the rules before the language evolved.”

“If we’d done that, you and I’d still be talking Anglo-Saxon or whatever it is. Language’d never grown up.”

It’s grown up now?”

æNot the way you use it, English teacher. Or me.” He paused, looking a little distant, and smiled. “I take consolation in the knowledge that it’s growing easier to write as time goes by. I remember that someday ‘night’ and ‘light’ and ’right’ — ”

“The unaspirated -gh- holdover.”

“Pedant! Anyway, by the next century ‘n-i-t-e’ and ‘l-i-t-e’ will be the ‘r-i-t-e’ way to spell them.”

“I like the old way better. More character.”

“Romantic,” he scoffed.

“I don’t know. I like the way the language doesn’t fit the rules. More like the way life really is.”

“Heresy for an English teacher.”

“I know. But ‘n-i-t-e’ bores me.”

“There’s hope for you yet,” he bellowed merrily. “You’ll come around to my way of seeing things yet, as long as you keep on thinking like that.”

“Like what?” I asked the closing door, beginning vaguely to realize that I thought I had locked it, and picking up my notes again before I followed that thought too far: “Let’s see. Diderot’s Encyclopedia.”

Obviously he could change his opinion in less than two days, within the scope of a single conversation.

This isn’t yet the end of Chapter 4, but Friday’s post was huge, and yesterday’s extended beyond a thousand words, so I thought I would keep this one brief to average. Besides this is where the anecdote ended. Also, now I have some more for next weekend! (And I had a bit of autobiography/personal update to add.)

Does he sound different than in the first three chapters? I would like him to read more naturally, more relaxed (more like me, too). But does he yet?

And is it any good? Do you think it’s worth trying to continue? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

I hope you had a good weekend. I did overall, even though Janet deserted me on Thursday to travel to Milwaukee to visit her sister and a friend and enjoy a girls weekend. (They even got a hotel room downtown on Saturday night.) I tried to enjoy myself by working on the blog and other writing, staying up late reading, running (more on that ahead), and coming up with fun stuff to eat for supper.

Last week, I actually got up at 5:00 to run every day, and did the current-norm of four miles each time (unfortunately, it’s about time to get back up to six). I realize I do enjoy running in the predawn dark a lot more than I like having the sun beat on me as I pant and heave my way around town. If I can haul my ass out of bed, it also gets me to do the running. Since retiring, I had let myself sleep in after Janet awoke for about a half hour or so and then get up to help her load out for the day and get her breakfast. Then I was supposed to go out and run. And it worked that way for the first six months. then as winter closed its dark paw around us, I began to find it necessary to have a cup of coffee (usually with fat-free hot chocolate mix stirred in) and watch the news shows (I started to get addicted to CBS Early Show and latterly to ogling Savannah Guthrie on MSNBC The Daily Rundown). And all too often I would decide that perhaps I should just shower and get to “work” on the computer—even if “work” actually just meant checking e-mail and reviewing the past twelve or fourteen hours of my News Feed on Facebook (and not even writing in this blog, let alone potentially paying creations).

Getting up at 5:00 means I actually do the running (at least I hope so; I hope it continues).

I started on the early regimen last Tuesday because of having to sub (don’t I mean “getting to”?) sub in Andrew: I still wanted to get some exercise in (and considering how woebegone and weary I felt that afternoon and evening, good thing. I must continue tomorrow and Tuesday this week, at least, because I have two more substitute jobs at Andrew—one as the art teacher (that’ll be novel for me) and the other as the third grade sub (even more exciting—I have never taught elementary kids, even though everyone’s been assuring me I’ll be great at it; we’ll see).

At any rate (a phrase which I’m starting to write a lot lately), I created posts for the next three days while Janet was gone late last week, just because I wouldn’t be home during the day.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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