. elsewhere . . letters from the inaccessible .


11 April 2001

The first 12 pages of At the Museum

Page 1. [Illustration of a man whose face is barely peeking from around the edge of his jacket's collar and from under the brim of a wide fedora.]

Page 2. A cold wind whirled around the city that afternoon, and Mr. Smith snuggled his head down into the collar of his jacket to keep his ears warm. He was walking along the street to visit the museum which he visited each week on Wednesdays.

Page 3. [Illustration of Mr. Smith placing his hat upon a hatrack with one hand, his jacket on a hook with the other. Behind him is a stack of bookshelves and a table of artifacts. To his left is a young lady seated behind a desk with a plaque which reads "education." She is waving to Mr. Smith.]

Page 4. Every Wednesday, Mr. Smith teaches a class at the City Museum to visiting children from schools all around the city. Miss Carruthers prepares Mr. Smith each week for the children which come to visit the Museum. "Hello, Miss Carruthers," said Mr. Smith, "Happy Wednesday." "Happy Wednesday to you," replied Miss Carruthers, "This week the students are learning about Archaeology." "Thank you.," said Mr. Smith, "I have many interesting things to share with them this week."

Page 5. [Illustration of Mr. Smith in a classroom, smiling and showing a small crowd of students, seated on the floor, a fragmented clay vase.]

Page 6. "Archaeology is the study of cultures and people who lived long ago," said Mr. Smith. One curious student named Cathy raised her hand and asked, "Why do we do that?" Mr. Smith smiled and said, "The more we learn about how people lived long ago, the more we can learn about ourselves. This vase was made by a potter thousands of years ago, and it was used to carry water from the well in the town square to someone's house. It could be that a young lady much like you carried fresh water to her house every morning before she went to school."

Page 7. [Illustration of Cathy, a young girl with curly dark hair, with an intrigued look on her face.]

Page 8. "Someone like me?" asked Cathy. "Yes, very much like you," said Mr. Smith. "She had chores around the house, like you probably do." Cathy nodded. "She had to clean her room and go to school and even help her parents with their jobs. So you see, people's lives were a lot like yours and mine," said Mr. Smith.

Page 9. [Illustration of the vase up close. It is a finely detailed vase, cracked and reconstructed carefully.]

Page 10. "This vase was just a normal container for water," said Mr. Smith, "but it was under the ground for many many years, and today it is very valuable."

Page 11. [Illustration of Cathy speaking and Mr. Smith standing to the left, holding the vase.]

Page 12. "So if I buried my brother's bicycle in the back yard, some day it'll be worth a lot of money? It's just a normal bike," said Cathy. Mr. Smith laughed. "I guess it might become more valuable some day, to Archaeologists far in the future. But isn't it worth a lot to your brother now?" "I guess it is," replied Cathy, "He would miss it if it were gone."

she said "parable"

I wrote this above on a dare, of sorts. She said that I hide behind words, and that I should try to write a children's story. This is the point at which I stopped; partly because I couldn't immediately think of where to go next, but partly because I hit an image which struck me, hard, and I guess deserves to be elucidated through my hiding of its meaning behind the bigger words.

Now, before you rail on me about my use of the word "Archaeology," I tried to use a trick common in educational books. Immediately after the introduction of the complicated word, I set about explaining what it means. But I digress.

Anyway, here's where the entry becomes (overly) self-concerned, so read on with that in mind... I'm writing it to have it written.

A thought struck me as I wrote that last "page", and I guess it's something which I should say based on how I'm feeling tonight (another dare, lesson, or just a thing to do, me writing how I feel rather than what I think): I wish I could bury myself in the sand for a thousand years. Perhaps then, I'd be worth more, something valuable. Today I feel like I'm just a vase, useful to fulfill a purpose, but of value only to serve that purpose. I have those who would miss me if I were gone, but is it only so much that they wouldn't bury me? Only so much that I'm kept in the cupboard, left to the dust, rather than tossed out with the other refuse? Have I any right to ask to be put on the mantelpiece or on an endtable, kept not out of utility, but out of a less tangible value, because I can be something beautiful rather than just be able to create something beautiful?

musings of señor prod.

Doing the things a macroscopic prophet can at The Revolution.


©2001 Timothy A. Clark -|-