On Post: Giving Up the Gun
Date: January 6, 2014
This piece is an example of something I couldn’t crack that I slept on and voila! Victory!
I knew I wanted to do something with the idea of an aging warrior, specifically drawing on the lyrics: “Your sword's grown old and rusty/ Burnt beneath the rising sun,” but I couldn’t come up with anything that interesting or compelling, either in terms of plot or presentation.
So, when I woke up in the morning, I revisited the lyrics and zoned in on “You felt the coming wave, told me we'd all be brave/ You said you wouldn't flinch/ But in the years that passed since I saw you last/ You haven't moved an inch” and things began to click. I started to think of not an aging warrior, but something ancient and unmoving, like a petrified (in this sense, not the scared sense) human body frozen in an old defensive post, essentially forever holding a line against some encroaching invader.
Once I had that nestled in my brain, the fairy tale prophecy approach was immediately clear.
It was pretty quick after that. It is always a challenge to write “prophetically” as it is not colloquial in the least. What I typically do is write it out “normally” and then trade out certain words for more formal wording or phrases that seem to be of an older era. For instance “rouse” rather than “wake up” and “wicked honeyed tongue” instead of, I don’t know, “people who offer bad stuff that would make you feel so good.” It is never perfect. It would stick out if you dropped into La Morte de Arthur, for instance (English translation, to be clear) but on its own it is just close enough to evoke those older (and, obviously, better) texts.