Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Girl Named Chree

Dear Ellie,

I've always enjoyed stories with settings and characters that are profoundly different.  Stories that, as you read, feel otherworldly.  But slowly as you read further and further, as you begin to relate to the characters and their place, it begins to feel normal.  Then, once you pull yourself out of this place that now seems normal, you can't help but to look at your OWN world and find it peculiar.  As though you were a person from another world, visiting and gawking at all of the peculiar things.  I feel that way often, and it's a wonderful thing because even while I am at home, I always feel like a tourist visiting an exotic land.  I never feel bored.  I want you to feel that way about the world, so I'm going to write you many stories that take you away from yourself.  Right now, I'm working on a series for you about a girl that lives on another world: Far Spirit and the Soul Kind.  The Girl, named Chree, is different than the others of her kind, and one day she finds kinship and solace with a strange, rigid creature that lives atop a mountain.

This is the very first part of the story.  When they are all done and you are young enough to understand them, I might read them to you before bed so that you have wild dreams. 

There once was a girl named Chree, who lived on a world without a name.  She wasn’t like an Earth girl, though.  She was a thing called Soul Kind.  A creature made of glimmering cords and cables all wound together in a knot.  To you, she would look like a hundred noodles dipped in sparkling glitter.  Chree didn’t walk like you do, but she could coil up her body and then bounce across the land like a spring or a Slinky.  She didn’t talk like you either, but she could speak through beautiful songs made by plucking and strumming at her own body as though it were a violin.  She didn’t have two big eyes like you or I, but a hundred tiny ones dangling off of little hairs.  If you were to ever meet her, face to cables, she would be polite in the way that Soul Kind know how, but she would think YOU looked VERY strange.

Chree is a lot like you in many ways, but also very different.  You see, Chree once had a family, just like you.  It was filled with sisters and aunts, mothers and grandmothers, but since there are no such thing as a boy Soul Kind, Chree had no brothers or uncles, fathers or grandfathers.  Chree also lived inside of a thing like we do too, but while you and I live in a house, Chree lived inside of a giant barnacle.  The Soul Kind call these barnacles Thorn Mothers, and they love their Thorn Mothers very dearly.  When the terrible Gorger comes to devour the world every evening, the Soul Kind spring toward their Thorn Mothers, climb into their mouths, slide down their gullets, and take refuge in their stomachs.  While danger still lurks outside, the Thorn Mothers cuddle all of their Soul Kind close to comfort them.  

If you told Chree that you lived inside a cold, lifeless house, she would think that this was very sad.  "Do you mean that the place in which you live can't say 'I love you?'" she would strum, and then she would feel very sorry for you.  If Soul Kind had hearts, hers would be very big.  She might invite you over to Mohalee, her Thorn Mother, so that you could scurry along the folds of her shimmering brain or bound around inside of her stomach.  That is, she might invite you… if she still had a Thorn Mother, or a family of her own, anymore.

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