Friday, February 11, 2011

The Seer of Souls

Once, a man climbed a high mountain to reach the woman who could see the colors of souls. He had traveled many, many miles through thick forests and over sprawling plains to find this Seer of Souls; for, it was said that by finding the color of a person's spirit, she could give anyone the formula for his own particular happiness --  how to best cast light upon what lay within so that the color shone brightest. The man wanted to know: What will make me happy, forever?

On a cold night, slick with an invisible rain, he finally reached a plateau. There he found a small house, clean and strong, but small. The window poured buttery light out into the gloom. The man knocked softly.

A tall woman appeared, dressed in green. Her hair was long and white but her face was young, with skin like a child's, though she was older than the oceans. She lead the man to a chair by the fire and knelt in front of him. She smiled, face glowing and shifting in the firelight, looking up at him.

"You want to know the color of your soul," she said.

He nodded.

"You think knowing this will give you the key to happiness," she said.

"If I know my soul's color, I will know what light source it needs in order to shine the brightest."

"The answer is always the same," she sighed. "But you have come far, so I will look."

She moved closer and opened his shirt with the touch of a mother. She placed a hand on his bare chest and spread the fingers apart, looking between them as a traveler looks through trees, slanting her head at angles, smiling and frowning at once.

"It is as all others," she said, as if it must be so; as if it were right. "There is no color."

The man stood, angry. "They said you could read the soul's color," he growled.

The woman gently regarded him. "No soul I have ever seen is monochrome. Every soul is a kaleidoscope, shifting its shape and melding colors. Day to day it requires different kinds of light to make it shine. Year to year, second to second, it moves and reforms."

"If it changes," the man said, "how do I know what it needs -- how to make myself happy, always?"

"Alas," she said, "Happiness is endless effort; constant adjustments for comfort, like a sleeper's shifts in position."

The man was exhausted, enraged and disappointed. He called the woman a fool and a liar he and burst through her door into the night, leaving the house open to the freezing gust. It had started to snow and the snow glazed her floor. The woman lay her head on the empty chair and wept silently for yet another lost and desperate one who wished to shoot the winds down with an arrow.


  1. Well written sir, though I feel this has been addressed in your other works. I do always enjoy reading your writing, all that schooling and talent does show through.

    Wishing you well on your journey


  2. Themes do have a way of repeating themselves, I guess . . .

  3. Some themes require omnipresence, and particularly those that deal with the way(s) to become content. I like this theme.

    It's a simple line, but I'm in love with the the following visual - "[...] burst through her door into the night, leaving the house open to the freezing gust. It had started to snow and the snow glazed her floor." Evocative. I can see the snow and the floor in my mind's eye, and then the woman crying.

    You make me want to become a blogger.

    ~ Matt

  4. Excellent . . . blog away, I say. Haha. Thanks, Matt. Doing three of these a week, I don't always get to revise as much as I'd like. Sometimes I revise days after I post . . . I liked that line, too. A rare single draft success. I consider most of the things I do on here a little flabby, though, in terms of prose -- as opposed to my unrushed fiction. Alas.

  5. Words taken to the grindstone cut deeper and truer, but unsharpened words can still cut true.

    First draft successes are always the best. I spend too much time tinkering with my stories, and sometimes I think it'd be useful to write and share quickly.

    ~ Matt

  6. Once I really got a handle on revision, I realized that's where the magic happens. The key is to avoid revising all of the energy out of the first draft -- but no first draft is ever completely ready, as far as I'm concerned.

  7. I did not mean to say that first drafts are the best as in the most well-written, bur rather that the feeling of satisfaction accompanying an immediately successful piece is particularly enjoyable.

    I have difficulty revising because I often change story structure when I get going.

    ~ Matt