Monday, August 31, 2009

Page 20, Paragraphs 6 - 8; Page 21, Paragraph 1; Note

In which we first hear Hob referred to by that name.


Page 20, Paragraph 6:

Now I look beside her, across the reeds where the hut stands on the dirt rise, with the river aways off, behind the hut. In the river there are shapes moving (which I think are beavers) all around the river-huts they've made for themselves. "How is it that you smell like flowers?", I say.

Paragraph 7:

"There's a way to do it," she says, "to take the flowers' smell and make perfume out of it that you can put on your skin and hair." Now she looks away from me, toward the river. Her speech becomes quieter.

Paragraph 8:

"Hob* wants me to smell like flowers," she says, "so he can know where I've gone when he can't see me." She doesn't say anything more, and looks aways off. Now she tears up a little grass and puts it in her mouth. "I don't know of Hob," I say, and pull at the jerky with my teeth. She doesn't look at me yet, but lifts her hand and points with her finger at the hut. "That hut is Hob's," she says.

Page 21, Paragraph 1:

"I've seen Hob," I say. "He's a black-faced man with antlers on his head."

*According to my dictionary, hob is derived from the Middle English word Hobbe, a nickname for Robert. It means either (1) a hobgoblin or elf or (2) mischief or trouble. Hmmm...

Off-Topic: Let Kids Pick Their Own Books? Are You Insane?

Did anyone else read this article on the New York Times website?

A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like

Don't get me wrong - I'm not anti-canon - I had to read 1984 and Animal Farm and The Catcher In The Rye in high school, too, and I'm glad I did - those are good books. But don't you think that kids would have a more engaging experience with reading if they were allowed to read Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman (or Max Brooks and Stephen King, if their teachers are against anything comics-related)? Wouldn't they then be more likely to view reading as fun rather than drudgery, and wouldn't they then be more likely to be recreational readers as adults?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Page 20, Paragraphs 3 - 5

Page 20, Paragraph 3:

She says all this, and now she has more for me to eat. From out of her clothes she takes a stick of jerky, which she now puts in my hand. I put the jerky in my mouth - it's hard to chew, but it tastes good. "Tell me more about coming here," she says.

Paragraph 4:

I have jerky in my mouth, so she makes me repeat myself a lot so she can understand what I'm saying. I talk about walking and the pigs becoming logs and the shagfoal. She shakes her head forewards and back to show that she's heard of them. [i.e., the shagfoal] I tell her how I came upon the valley and saw the big hill-building which I went around the other side of and then came here by that route.

Paragraph 5:

She says, "Did the men in the building see you?" I say, "No," and she says, "That's good." "How is it good?", I say. "Oh," she says now, "they're rough men who've come from the river-village. If they saw you, it's likely that they'd throw a stone at you." I look at my leg and figure she's right.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Page 19, Paragraph 8; Page 20, Paragraphs 1 and 2; Note

Page 19, Paragraph 8:

"Eat this," she says, and I say nothing - I just look. Now she puts the bowl to my mouth, so that liquid from it flows warmly onto my chin, onto my tongue, and it's milk, and it's good. I drink, and at the same time look at her above the bowl's edge. "How," she says, "did you come here?" Her speech is strange, with words in a different order, but I can understand what she says.* My mouth's full of milk, so I can't talk to her, but I swallow the milk and it's gone, and she takes the bowl from my mouth. "How did you come here?", she says again.

Page 20, Paragraph 1 (first full paragraph):

I talk a lot now, and it all runs together. I talk about my mother's foot and my people going away. I talk about the bird with the maggots and the settlers who threw the stone at me and tore my leg. At this, the girl smiles and says that she got the infection out of my leg, and now I feel that my leg doesn't hurt, and I look down at it.

Paragraph 2:

There's no scab. Below my knee the shit and dirt is all washed away, and where my leg's torn there's a leaf, all soft and warm. I look from my leg to her and say, "Why, how is this now?" and so forth. She says she found me here at daybreak and saw that my leg was hurt. She pulled me back into the thicket of trees to hide me, and she fixed my leg while I was unconscious.

*Gee, I've never run into that kind of a situation before.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Page 19, Paragraphs 5 - 7

Page 19, Paragraph 5 (first paragraph after the first break):

Dark. Many little thoughts. Cold. My leg burns and oh. Oh, I. Darkness. Nothing. My leg hurts, oh. Oh, Mother. I'm only ten years old. Dark. Dark, my belly hurts and it's cold. Mother and I walk beneath the trees; we walk strangely because she only has one leg and I only have one leg; our stumps are all bloody. Dark. Dark, cold, and nothing in my belly. Flowers. Dark.

Paragraph 6:

Light. I smell... light, through my eyelids. I smell flowers and... open. I open my eyes and... flowers, and I look up at...

Paragraph 7:

She looks at me - the girl that smells like flowers. She sits on her knees by we, as I lay with my back on the grass in a thicket of trees. There's a grey bowl in her hands, like the one she held the river water in. Her long, bright hair prickles my belly, and we look at each other like this, and I can't think of anything to say.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Page 18, Paragraphs 6 and 7; Page 19, Paragraphs 1 - 4

Sorry I haven't posted for a while - the last few days have been kinda busy.


Page 18, Paragraph 6:

The girl sits by the fire now, on her knees, and doesn't move. The sun's getting lower, and as the daylight fades the fire becomes brighter, and the girl's grey shadow is long on the hut behind her. Even longer is the shadow of the antler-headed man, all black, with the antlers moving like many worms upon his head. He picks up the flowers and casts them into the water above the fire, from which grey steam rises.

Paragraph 7:

In the brightness of the fire I now see a low wall made of dirt that stands in back of the hut. I haven't seen this before. Maybe it's a keep for an animal, like the bigger building up on the hill - but I can only see a little of it, and I don't know. The fire rises up high. Black shadows move back and forth across the aurochs skin.

Page 19, Paragraph 1:

A white substance that's thick and soft like snow rises up from the bowl above and across the edge of the fire, where the all the white stuff runs down and hisses in the fire. The antler-headed man wraps a small fur around his hands so he doesn't burn them. He picks up the bowl from above the fire and sets it by his side.

Paragraph 2:

He takes a little whiteness out from the bowl - two handfuls. The girl sits by him on her knees and doesn't move. The sky becomes dark. Black shadows move on the hut. Now the antler-headed man puts the white on the face of the girl, but she doesn't move, and the white is thick below her eyes, and thick on her mouth. In little bits it falls down on the skins wrapped around her breasts.

Paragraph 3:

The girl doesn't move. The black-faced man now puts his hands all about himself in the dark, as if he's trying to find something, and now a big warm grey feeling comes over me, and I shut my eyes. I smell smoke. I smell flowers, and I hear more of a scratching noise, as if it's scratching forward, and back, and forward.

Paragraph 4:

And back.


The rhythm of the prose and the imagery in this section are really hypnotic, aren't they? I hope I've been able to capture that in my version.


Is anyone else picturing this as a comic as they're reading?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Page 18, Paragraphs 2 - 5; Notes

Page 18, Paragraph 2:

He stands to look over here, but he doesn't look at me. He's the oldest man I've ever seen - his long hair and beard are white and oh! His face! His face is marked with charcoal - nothing except his eyes are white. A band is around his head, up from which come antlers. He has flowers in one hand and sticks in the other. Now he looks around some more, and farts, and sits down in front of his white skin hut.

Paragraph 3:

I can't see what he's doing, except that he keeps moving his hands quickly. Smoke. I smell smoke. He's making a fire, and now he's putting more sticks on it to make it bigger. He picks up little stones that sit nearby and puts them around the fire to make a barrier.

Paragraph 4:

He sits with his back against the hut and picks up something made of stone, not any longer than my hand, that's all flat and sharp. This hand-axe he puts to another nearby stone and scratches it back and forth, as if to sharpen it. Now I lie back and hear the noise of this; the sun is getting lower in the sky.

Paragraph 5:

In with the smell of smoke I can now smell flowers, and I lift my head to look toward the river. The girl is coming back here over the reedy rise; the skins she's wrapped in move all around her knees. Between her hands there's still a little grey shape, and as she walks I see where a little bit of liquid comes out and falls on her arm. I think she's holding a making* like a little valley** that she filled up with water in the river. Slowly, she walks up the dirt rise, where the antler-headed man takes her water to set it above the fire.

* The noun form of making meaning "something made" is actually in the dictionary (well, my dictionary, anyway), although I don't recall hearing it used that way before.

** Presumably some sort of bowl

From the British Museum (


Speaking of axes - I chopped some wood today. It was kinda fun.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Off-Topic: Newsweek's Top 100 Books

Can't believe I missed this one when it came out:

Newsweek's Top 100 Books: the Meta-List

This is actually kind of an interesting spin on the whole "Top 100 Books" idea: rather than create an entirely new list, Newsweek combined a bunch of pre-existing list to make a "list of lists" - sort of like, but with books instead of albums and songs. I did okay, I think - I've read 25 of the 100:

1984 by Orwell
The Sound and The Fury by Faulkner
The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger
The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald
Catch-22 by Heller
The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck
Brave New World by Huxley
Native Son by Wright
The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Lewis
On the Road by Kerouac
To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee
The Holy Bible
A Clockwork Orange by Burgess
Hamlet by Shakespeare
King Lear by Shakespeare
Frankenstein by Shelley
Song of Solomon by Morrison
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Kesey
Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut
Animal Farm by Orwell
Lord of the Flies by Golding
The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway
Heart of Darkness by Conrad
The Maltese Falcon by Hammett

How 'bout you?

Page 17, Paragraphs 6 - 8; Page 18, Paragraph 1; Notes

Page 17, Paragraph 6:

Noise. My spit tastes funny. I hear people talking to each other. One's big and old, from the sound of him, and the other's little. The little one is saying "Yes," and then something I can't hear, and then something about water. There's only a little light coming through my eyelids now, and that's good.

Paragraph 7:

Flowers - I smell a lot of flowers, as if it's not autumn now, but spring. I open my eyes and see a hut. One aurochs skin that the hut is made of is now lifted up, and someone comes out bent over, their hair long and bright with a strip of fur around it, and wrapped in skins to their knee. It's a girl by the look of her - no bigger than me. I sniff to smell her vagina*, and I smell nothing, only flowers, but I don't see any flowers - I just see the girl. I don't know whether she's a flower that looks like a girl, or a girl that smells like a flower.

Paragraph 8:

In between her hands she holds a little shape that's all grey. She walks away from the hut and away from me, down off the dirt rise and toward the river. She walks between the reeds but doesn't get sucked down, as she walks a path where the ground is dry. Now she's far away, so that I can't see her above the grass, and the smell of flowers isn't as strong now.

Page 18, Paragraph 1:

Now there's something moving by the hut, which I look back to. The white skin lifts up, and someone big comes out bent over, naked except for a belt and a feast-fur** that covers his penis. It's a man. It's a frightening man.

*My translation of "gill", because "gill" is derived from the Old Norse word gjolnar, meaning "lips", and the only part of the anatomy that has lips that is exclusively feminine is... the vagina.

**Whatever that is

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

(Semi-)Off-Topic: "Mr. Wilson, How Are You Tonight?"

Found this on YouTube yesterday - it's Moore's tribute to the writer Robert Anton Wilson, who passed away a couple of years ago. It's brilliant - check it out.

Page 17, Paragraphs 3 - 5

Back at it.


Page 17, Paragraph 3:

Now I open my eyes, and I see she is not moving [or "has not moved"]. I open my eyes more because something looks strange, and see that she's changed. She's not a woman now.

Paragraph 4:

Hut. She is a hut with aurochs skins hung all around her, which make her white. She has a pointy top with a long bunch of black furs hanging from it that fly in the wind. I don't now if there's people in the hut, nor how it is that their hut sits here all alone, aways off from the other settlers and their big building up on the hill.

Paragraph 5:

I look hard at the hut, because I don't have anything else to look at. Flies buzz all around me - the buzzing's louder now. I look, and I can see nothing but grey, with a white shape where the hut is standing, and now the white becomes grey, and the grey becomes black, and the black becomes nothing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Man Himself On Hob's Hog

I'm just a postin' fool today.

Found a wonderful interview with Mr. Moore at today that I had read a few years back and then forgot where I saw it. The whole thing is great, but I especially wanted to post a brief excerpt where they talk about Voice Of The Fire; I'm sure readers of this blog in particular will appreciate the humor of it.

Interviewer: I haven't read [the prose book] Voice of the Fire

Alan Moore: - - Very few people have - -

I: Although Mark Pilkington from Fortean Times, he says it's fantastic, so I'd like to pick it up.

AM: Well, if you should find a copy somewhere, then good luck getting through the first chapter. The first chapter, I actually tried my best to write it in an approximation of what I thought Neolithic thought-patterns might be like. So I've done it all in this completely boiled-down English, where I think there's a vocabulary of about four hundred words in the first story, I mean it's sixty pages long, it's very long and very dense but I think I only use about four hundred words and when you think that the average vocabulary of the average Sun reader is about ten thousand words, it's... it was an experiment.

I: Sounds kind of exciting, though.

AM: Well, it's almost unreadable. [Laughs]. I loved it but people have pointed out to me since that if I was going to be doing my first novel and the first chapter of my first novel, then perhaps it might not have been a bad idea to do it in English but ah, what the hell.

Page 16, Paragraphs 3 - 5; Page 17, Paragraph 1 and 2; Note

Page 16, Paragraph 3:

I walk slowly through the reeds and the mud. My belly hurts. It's so empty that it makes everything seem strange to me, and I'm afraid my head will float off, as it did with the sky-beast. The dirt sucks on my foot. Old Dirt, he thinks I'm not giving Mother's foot to him and wants his due, for there's one foot due to him yet and he's taking my foot to make good my debt to him. This thought makes me very afraid, so I pull my leg up high like a flamingo and I go as quick as I can to the trees, which are on drier ground.

Paragraph 4:

I'm by the trees now. I can walked and not get sucked down in the dirt, but I don't have the strength for it. The trees stand in a little thicket, and I can't think about anything except going to the bridge[?]. I walk beneath the trees, and put my hand on them to hold myself up, and keep falling as I'm walking. My leg hurts and burns with infection.* I fall down. I stand up. I fall down. I stand up, and now I'm through the thicket of trees, at the other edge of it looking out. I think I'm going to be okay now, and feel my strength coming back. I fall down.

Paragraph 5:

I can't get up. I'm flat on my back in the grass, with my head laying against a tree root. There's nothing above me, just a bunch of tree branches (that's where the leaves fall from). I look across my belly, legs, and feet, and I see trees in front of the river [?], where the noise of the water is loud. I don't see the bridge. It's not where I thought it was. Maybe I can't find a way to the bridge through the thicket of trees. Now the flies fly around the scab on my knee (which has turned black), and they sit on my leg where I don't have the strength to hit them off.

Page 17, Paragraph 1:

I look toward the river, which is better to look at than my leg. Between the river and where I'm at in the thicket of trees I see a rise of dirt, with reeds all around it. On the rise...

[you didn't think I was gonna end it there, didja? ]

Paragraph 2:

On the rise, there's a thing standing that's all white, taller than two men, on top of which hair flies out in the wind, all black and long. It's a woman, all in white, but she's frighteningly big - bigger than any woman in the world. I close my eyes so she can't see me.

*Obviously, our guy doesn't understand infection the way we do, but the word that he uses ("sick-fire") shows that he knows something is wrong besides the wound itself.


Found the following on Google Videos while searching the internets for info about prehistoric Britain. Despite its somewhat cheesy presentation, there are some interesting insights into what life might have been like for folks back in the (Neolithic) day. Worth a look if you've got some time to spare.

Who Built Stonehenge?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Page 15, Paragraphs 6 and 7; Page 16, Paragraphs 1 and 2; Note

Page 15, Paragraph 6:

My leg hurts where the other settlers hit it with a stone - I don't want more of the same. I see that I can walk by the hill with the building on it, cross at the other side opposite of the pointy-topped huts, and, by taking that route, come to the river bridge so I can journey on.

Paragraph 7:

I stand up, and now I walk down the hill, between many stumps. They're all sharp on top like the valley's a mouth and the stumps are its teeth. I don't like all this open space, where the trees are put to the ax. There's no good in it.

Page 16, Paragraph 1 (first full paragraph):

Now I come to the bottom of the little hill, which is where the hill becomes bigger [?], and I hear the lowing [i.e., mooing] of the aurochs now, from the top [of the hill]. The hill is between me and where the sun sets, and I walk the other way, toward where the sun rises.* The dirt becomes softer in the lower part of the valley, and the lower I go, the muddier it becomes, so that it comes up to my knees and makes me walk slowly. There aren't as many tree stumps now - the ones that are here are rotten, black, mossy, and filled with stagnant water. There are a lot of mosquitoes here.

Paragraph 2:

Far behind me an auroch lows at its mate. I pull my foot out of the mud-hole and walk on. I can't see the river bridge like I could when I was up high because it's behind a thicket of trees that stand in front of me, but I head for where I think it crosses the river.

*In other words, the hill's to the west and he's walking east

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Page 15, Paragraphs 2 - 5

In which we hear our first Stone Age joke.


Page 15, Paragraph 2:

The wall around the aurochs has a lot of entryways with wooden gates on them. In the next ring outside of it, across the wall from the aurochs, are pigs. There are a lot of them, with chickens scratching around their feet. My belly makes a noise; it hurts.

Paragraph 3:

The outermost ring (the one outside the pigpen) is narrow. Although they're not as numerous as the animals, there are several people walking around in it. Some of them stand and talk to one another; they look little below me. I can't imagine how many people are working in a place like this, because it's so big.

Paragraph 4:

Across and down from the little hill, aways off from the building I've been looking at, I see many pointy-topped huts, on the banks the river. There are [about] twenty of them; many plumes of smoke rise from this area. I figure all of this is the work of settlers to keep their animals, yet it's hard for me to imagine that there's a settlement this big in the whole world.

Paragraph 5:

I don't understand why they've built this hamlet by a river bridge, where the dirt between the worlds is thin - even a baby would know that's not a good idea. Why, maybe they don't know about the shagfoal and creatures like that, because I hear that settlers aren't any smarter than babies. My people have a lot of good jokes about settlers, like this: one guy says, "How does a settler-man get a mate?", and the other guy says back, "Why, he waits for her to catch her horns in the briars."


It's interesting - Stephen King writes a lot about places "where the dirt between worlds is thin", too - I'm particularly thinking of his Cthulhu Mythos story "Crouch End" here, as well as the "thinnies" in his DARK TOWER series.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Off-Topic: Google Sets

About as good a way to waste an hour or six as I've found recently is Google Sets, an experimental application that allows you to enter a few items from a set of things and then have the application attempt to predict other items in the set. My favorite result so far was when I plugged in...

  • The Who
  • Van Morrison
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Sex Pistols
(i.e., a few of my favorite musical artists, although they could also be said to belong to sets such as "musicians from the British Isles", "20th century pop artists", etc.)

...and got back...

  • Sex Pistols
  • The Who
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Van Morrison
  • The Beatles
  • Queen
  • David Bowie
  • Various Artists (!)
  • U2
  • Pink Floyd
  • Bob Dylan
  • Eric Clapton
  • Radiohead
  • Billy Joel
  • Oasis
...and of course...

PS As another experiment, I put in the 1st 5 books discussed on this blog:

  • Voice Of The Fire
  • The Lord Of The Rings
  • 1984
  • Animal Farm
  • 100 Wild Little Weird Tales

...and got back...

  • The Lord Of The Rings
  • Animal Farm
  • 1984
  • The Hobbit
  • Lord Of The Flies
  • Snow Crash
  • Neuromancer
  • Harry Potter
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • The Grapes Of Wrath
  • Atlas Shrugged

So, who knows? Maybe we'll be discussing William Golding and Neal Stephenson next.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Page 14, Paragraphs 7 - 9; Page 15, Paragraph 1; Notes

Page 14, Paragraph 7:

Here there's a clearing with only tree stumps. There are so many stumps all the way off down the hill that the sky has become bigger where the top of the world has become bare.* I sit down on this stump here for a look.

Paragraph 8:

I'm above a big valley that goes from here to the horizon. Here and there are trees, yet there's more stumps - the area is frighteningly open. In the valley below is a river, and far off there's a bridge that looks like it crosses the river, which is how the shagfoal come to these whereabouts. Between the river and me is another, lower hill, where I see something I've never seen before.

Paragraph 9:

There's a building on that hill that's bigger than I would have thought possible. It's made with walls that spiral around it like a dried up worm lying on grass. By the walls, there's a lot of holes dug up in the dirt, more than twice as deep as the hole I dug for my mother. I think that the dirt from the holes was used to make the walls.

Page 15, Paragraph 1 (first full paragraph):

There are walls in the building like others with many animals inside them, all of which are white. Now the wind's changed direction and I can smell them, their shit and so forth, and figure out that they are aurochs**, but there are more of them there than my people would see in a whole year. In the middle of the innermost wall is a wooden hut with aurochs all around it. A little while goes by and out from the hut comes a man all wrapped up in skins to take a piss, after which he goes back in. Maybe he sits there in the hut because he's the animal's keeper.

*We would say "I can see more of the sky now that there aren't all those trees in the way". Our narrator gets a similar idea across in his own inimitable phraseology (which actually isn't as weird as it seems - here in the States, for example, we refer to Montana as "Big Sky Country")

**Once again, Wikipedia is our friend

Page 14, Paragraphs 4 - 6

Damn you, pigs!


Page 14, Paragraph 4:

I don't know what to make of it. I don't see a crossroads or a river-bridge, yet the shagfoal came to me. I think about this, and now my belly makes a noise to tell me to walk further on and find food for it.

Paragraph 5:

I walk, and after I've gone a ways I turn around to look back. I see the logs - they've changed back into pigs now that I'm not near them anymore. The top pig mates with the one beneath him - he looks like he's having a good time. I figure if I run back they'll change back into logs just to piss me off. I spit and then turn and walk on.

Paragraph 6:

Above me, through the tree branch, is the sun, which follows me. I walk through the woods that are between me and another hill that I saw from the dirt hilltop where I saw the pigs. From far away, the hill looks little but it's become big now that I'm by it. The dirt beneath my feet rises, slowly at first, and then more and more, and I walk for a long time up the hill and by the trunks of many trees. I start breathing hard and my leg burns, and it's like that until I get to the top of the hill.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Page 13, Paragraph 8; Page 14, Paragraph 1 - 3

Can't believe I'm 10 pages into this fucking thing.


Page 13, Paragraph 8 (ends at the top of page 14):

I think, and there's nothing I can think of that will help me. There it stands, bigger than me, the shagfoal looking down with eyes like the sun - eyes that I can't look away from. In between her big dark forepaws, her pups crawl on their bellies, tasting and sniffing, but I can't look down from her eyes, eyes that are getting bigger and brighter; they're now so big and bright that it's like I'm surrounded by fire. They become so bright that I can't look at them - I shut my eyes now, and they're so bright that I can still see the light through my eyelids.

Page 14, Paragraph 1:

Now everything becomes strange.

Paragraph 2:

I'm not standing anymore - I'm down in the dirt behind the log, and I still see the bright light from the shagfoal's eyes through my shut eyelids. Now I open them, slowly. I'm really scared.

Paragraph 3:

The brightness is no longer from the shagfoal's eyes. The brightness is the brightness of sunrise, and I look and see that the shagfoal isn't around anymore; her pups aren't either. I stand up now, my legs all wet with piss, and walk by where I see the ghost-beasts. I bend over to look. There are no pawprints in the dirt, nor is there any other sign of them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Page 13, Paragraphs 4 - 7; Notes

Enter the shagfoal.


Page 13, Paragraph 4:

Now it's dark, and I'm standing up by the logs and I don't understand how it is that I'm standing there with my eyes open. I'm a little frightened as I look around, and now I hear a noise behind me, like someone walking on dry leaves. I turn to see, and now I'm more than just a little frightened.

Paragraph 5:

There is a shagfoal* standing in the grass less than a dozen feet** away from me. She looks at me - her eyes are brighter than fire and she's a big as a tree stump. I piss down my leg - it's warm, then cold.

Paragraph 6:

Around the shagfoal's feet in the dark there are little shapes moving - they are as ugly as her. They are black and eyeless - I figure out that they're shagfoal pups, crawling and scratching beneath their mother. Their tongues are long, white and worm-like, and they wave them around in front of themselves to taste and smell the air. They're silent, and I'm more afraid of them than I am of their mother.

Paragraph 7:

The shagfoal looks at me, and I have no strength to move - it's like I'm made of stone. I think hard about shagfoals, so I can think of something that'll help me. My people say that the shagfoal are big and frightening dogs, the kind that used to be around during the Ice Age, like the Urks, and now, like the Urk-kine, they've passed away. Only their ghosts walk the earth now, up this world and down the other, and where the barriers between worlds have become thin, as they are at a crossroads or a river-bridge, the shagfoal come.

*A "huge black dog", as Neil Gaiman describes it in the book's introduction - see this Wikipedia entry for more information

**i.e., less than 4 meters

Artist unknown (from

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Page 12, Paragraph 6; Page 13, Paragraphs 1-3; Notes

Back where we started.


Page 12, Paragraph 6:

My people say that there's no good in making markings. Markings take their shape from trees and dogs and so forth and say, "This is 'tree'", "This is 'dog'", yet they're nothing but markings.* If a man looks at them his thoughs all become crazy, so that he can't understand what's real and what's a marking. I've heard it said that many markings are so old that they were made by Urks and people of that kind back in the Ice Age. Now the Urk-kine are no longer in the world, yet many say their descendants** are below [at the bottom of?] the hills, deep in their caves, where they hide to catch those of us above. It's not good to look on markings.

Page 13, Paragraph 1:

I close my eyes and take another way around the open grass and the stone. I trip on a root and scratch my face on briars, but I don't open my eyes until the stone is far behind me.

Paragraph 2:

I come out of the trees, and walking up a hill with the sun like fire behind it, I see the pigs, and I run down now and the pigs become logs, and here I am now, sitting on them, with no other times to think of.

Paragraph 3:

I scratch the scab on my knee and look up in the sky. Night is coming as I sit thinking, so I can't see the sky-beasts now, yet I can see their little eyes, bright up there in the dark. I'm cold all over, and I lie behind the log, out of the wind. I shut my eyes, so that the darkness will come to me as it has come in the world.

*Ceci n'est pas une pipe, anyone?

**I think this is what he means by "little people"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Page 12, Paragraphs 2 - 5; Notes

Curiouser and curiouser.


Page 12, Paragraph 2:

The men look at one another, and now Little-Dick bends over to grab a spear. "Here's something", he says. "How'd you like this in your belly?" The other man picks up a stone, which he throws hard at me. The stone hits my leg, and the edge of it tears the skin below my knee and it starts bleeding. I make a noise and fall down; my leg hurts really bad. The man picks up another stone and says, "Go away, Shit-Ass. I don't want to smell you around here anymore". The man with the big belly lifts up his spear to throw it at me.

Paragraph 3:

Now I stand up with pain in my leg and walk awkwardly down the hill like a sick dog. Behind me, the man throws his other stone but misses me, with the stone falling quietly on the grass. I walk as quickly as I can and don't look back, and that's it - that's the whole story of my time with the settlers.

Paragraph 4:

I walk on slowly, dragging my foot behind me. When nightfall comes, I find a pear* tree. The pears are still hard, and I can only eat a little bit of them. I look at the injury on my leg and see that the blood is dried with grey dirt and shit, and that it's stopped bleeding; that's good. I lie by the tree and shut my eyes so that nothing can see me.** I think of nothing.

Paragraph 5:

Sunrise comes - time to walk. My leg's now healed enough to walk on but it still has a prickling pain in it. I walk on and on, and now around noon I come to a bunch of white wood trees around a circle of grass. Standing out from the grass is a big old stone with markings that look like worms and spiders scratched on it.*** I shut my eyes and am so scared I can't breathe.

*Sorry, but this is the best I can do with "titty-apple", although I did find this while searching the net; it seems to be the solution until you find out it only grows in the tropics. : /

**This seems to indicate an inability to grasp the concept of object permanence, which gives you a pretty good indication of where our narrator's at developmentally.

***I read this and immediately thought of that part of TARZAN OF THE APES where Burroughs talks about letters looking like "little bugs" I wonder if Moore didn't put that in here as a sort of hommage?

Page 11, Paragraphs 7-9; Page 12, Paragraph 1

Back to work.

Page 11, Paragraph 7:

Through many winters now, my people say, there's been little food for us to forage, that times are hard for those of us who walk and that they're going to get harder yet. After each winter there are more settlers and fewer nomadic peoples, so that there aren't many of us now. For someone all alone like me, it's an empty belly - there's no helping it.

Paragraph 8:

Once I came upon settlers in my travels, with their pointed-top huts of hides on branches sitting high on a hill. There were less than 5 huts. I smell their fire and the meat they have cooking on it, which makes me hungry.

Paragraph 9 (ends on the top of page 12):

I walk up the hill, and a little way up I see a man on top of it, and he sees me with puke and blood on my face and shit on my legs. He says, "You look like a pig's ass. What do you want here?", and so forth. His way of speaking is strange, with many sayings I don't understand. Another man with a big belly comes to the top of the hill for a look at me. Below his belly he has a little penis, like a baby's.

Page 12, Paragraph 1 (first full paragraph):

Now I tell them that my mother is dead and that I've been cast out by my people. I say, "I just want a little something in my belly."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Off-Topic: Happy Birthday!

My daughter turns 4 today, so...