Short literary fiction is one of my areas of writing interests, so I dabble in composing short stories and flash fiction from time to time.
"The Apotheosis of Psyche"
Introduction: A Word from the Graveyard Whistler
Hi, Y’all! Graveyard Whistler here again . . . You may have forgotten about me now, been super busy putting the finishing touches on my dissertation to complete my PhD. I see the light at the end of the tunnel now, it’s been a long slog, but I’ll soon be "Dr. Belmonte Segwic." And luck of all luck, I have a professorship gig lined up at the University of South Shore, as soon as I complete my degree.
A Covid-19 Debacle
Yes, my present university at South Falls was affected somewhat by this crap scourge, but luckily only the administration suffered, a situation which will result in a leaner university that had become top-heavy-bloated beyond reason like most colleges and universities in this land that have become money pits for political charlatans.
No, the superfluous staff did not die off physically, but when the school shut down for ten weeks, it dawned on the board and department heads that they could run things on a shoe string and run things much better without running things into the ground as the former bunch of fat-cat admin-hall-dwellers had done.
That, of course, is a really big story on which I’m not interested in elaborating right now—maybe sometime in future it might make a useful book, as a primer for all schools that want to become more streamlined and offers a better learning experience to their main reason for existing—their students.
A similar situation happened at the school where I will being teaching in a few months, the U of South Shore. Both schools are part of a large conglomeration of colleges and universities that coordinate their programs in many ways. So usually what happens at one school happens at another. Just one last bit: When I interviewed for the position at South Shore, they had three department heads in my department. They have now narrowed it down to one, and holy of all holies, it was the one with whom I had the best rapport!
Now on to better things!
My Latest Find
I have actually learned to love reading literary theory, which I kind of avoided at first, being more interested in fiction. But now I seem to have evolved a considerable number of topics that will keep me busy with my research and publication activity which is, of course, a major part of academic life. Interestingly, the following short piece of fiction appeared in a literary theory journal that was published only in India sometime back in the 19th century. It was translated into English from the Bengali by Ninath Bagabatti, an Indian scholar who had studied the works of the Irish poet, W. B. Yeats, and translated most of his writings from English into Bengali.
The following piece of short fiction is one that just blew me away. Ms. Bagabatti said of the piece, "My encounter with the story gave me strength and motivation to begin my in depth study of the Bhagavad Gita. The nature of Spirit has been so eloquently and concretely described that it makes me aware that I want what this main character, Normaya, wants."
I think Ms. Bagabatti in on to something. Hope you enjoy the story and are also inspired by it! Here is the story:
Where Normaya Goes
The story of Normaya is older than time, flowing more surely than the rapid river of the mind. It is a story of longing and waiting, and then waiting and enduring, and then lingering long enough to reach a cherished Love that beckons from all corners of the heart and mind.
Everyone wishes to view all the stars on Glory Hill. They follow their hearts to the place where the wind never goes. They let your own will go and don't go alone. There are trees and bushes and flowers and all kinds of spritely doves that warm Normaya's heart and she loves them all. Then she is free, and no one can ever know where she has gone.
Normaya waited for her Belovèd but He failed to arrive, as usual. She watched her watch. He kept on not arriving. She started walking back to the farm. Her heart was full and her mind was calm. She had spent the coin of the realm which is time, precious time, in Glorified Expectation. She will wait again and again until His arrival sets her free.
Normaya did not see her mother, but her mother saw her.
"May, where were you, all this time?" her mother implored.
"I just went for a walk," Normaya replied.
"No, you didn't! Gotcha this time, missy! I had your brother follow you, and he saw you at the Knob Hill," screamed the mother. "Everybody knows what the Knob Hill is all about."
"I don't know what you are talking about. I did not go to the Knob Hill. I don't even know where that is," insisted Normaya. "I just went for a walk. I waited by the stars on Glory Hill, I waited for my Belovèd, but He did not come. I will go again as many times as it takes. He will in time come to me," responded Normaya.
"You always talk such nonsense! Why can't you be a problem like other girls? I don't even know what you are talking about! You might as well be speaking Dutch," cried the mother.
Following the Flow of Time
Normaya follows her heart and soul and waits by the river where time seems to flow with the water. She hears footsteps. They gain speed. She does not look. She waits. And then waits again.
This time Normaya is not anxious and she left her watch at home. She listens, she waits, and she listens and waits again.
Again, Normaya will be accosted by her mother, maybe too by her brother, maybe too by a townie whose mind has been filtered through the rhetoric of Normaya's mother & brother.
"Where did you go this time, you silly girl?" the mother will ask.
"Where did you go this time, you silly sister?" the brother will ask.
"Where did you go this time, Miss Normaya?" the townie will ask.
And Normaya will smile and respond, "Oh, I just went walking by the stream, listening to the bubbling waters pouring down from the glacial waters of Mount Bounty. I listened to the cooing of the doves and the music of the stars until they shut up their voices in glad atonement. Oh, I just went for a walk!"
And again they all will just shrug, scratch their heads, and move on for they have work to work, books to read, dinners to cook, children to tend, and a myriad other important dates with daylight occurrences.
Normaya walks on.
Mother, Did You Ever
"Mother, did you ever love anyone before father?" Normaya asks her mother this question on the eve of a day that would turn out to be very important to Normaya.
"Of course not. I only loved your father up to the day he died," lied the mother. "I loved only him and he only me."
"That is so wonderful, Mother," said Normaya. "Mother, I have to go away now. I am too old to be living with my mother and brother. I love you both, but I have to go away. Do you understand?"
"You can't go away. You have nowhere to go. You can't do anything to get money and you have to have money to live, you silly girl?" said the mother.
"Oh, well, never mind, Mother," said Normaya. "I'll stay as long as I can."
Not mother, not brother, no one in the town or field was ever able to look and see Normaya. Where she went, what she did, what she said, no one knows. Maybe she lived like the sprites in the Atmosphere, or the spirits in Fork River Valley.
Normaya must have moved with lightning or waited by whole meadows of golden minded angels. Did angels fill her days, did little people with courage and fortitude offer her succor? The dark world remains a dark place, but not for Normaya, not for where she lived—in the mind of her Spirit Soul Belovèd.
Normaya will stay as long as she can with her mother, with her brother, with her father's grave in Fork River Valley. Her bed will contain her body but the glories of expanded skyways will contain her mind. And she will stay as long as the molecules of her physical encasement remain in tact.
Though the winds of skyey glories threaten to rind her very atoms, Normaya will remain as long as she can. She will not speak in harsh tones, for she has long since left recrimination behind her. Her mother may still rebuke her. Her brother may still follow her and report what he cannot understand: what can the blind report about a meteor shower? Her demeanor will remain calm and her tongue at rest.
Normaya will stay the silly girl, walking in the sunless sunshine, feeling the wetless rain on her shadow skin, and fleeing down the corridors of lost pathways that lead only the silly to their journey's end in Perfection.
Love on the Wind
Love is on the wind. Love is in the deep blue sea. Love lifts all boats. Love brings in the crops and lets out the dogs. Love never fails. Love is work and play. Love leaves fall and springs spring. Love heats up summer. Love cools winter.
Normaya waited by the brook flowing through green pastures. She took nothing. She sat alone. She did not think. She did not feel. She did not watch. She did not listen. She did not think. She did not feel. She did not notice. She did not worry. All she did was be.
Normaya moved into the place where money is not needed, where the love of a mate is not even considered. Normaya moved slowly but deliberately into the arrival of her Belovèd. She thus found her Origin. She was then Free.
Afterword by Graveyard Whistler
I know! I know! Strange story, yes, it is. And I have no words at this point to alleviate the odd nature, the purely out-of-body, out-of-mind feeling it gives off. Like, Normaya, I will wait—maybe the words will come to me someday. And even if they don’t I still lay claim to great enjoyment of this story, and I plan to search for others like it. Somehow I enjoy that ethereal glow it seems to give me.
aka Graveyard Whistler
Some good whistlin' goin' on!! Enjoy!
© 2020 Linda Sue Grimes
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on October 23, 2020:
Thanks, John. This series is one I really enjoy. I do relish my rôle as Belmonte Segwic, aka the Graveyard Whistler . . . he's a special kind of mental image that lives in my brainyard . . .
Blessings to you and yours, John!
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 23, 2020:
An enjoyable read, Linda. Thank you for sharing.