Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Everybody needs their own personal Prester John myth.

Somewhere out there, there's this kingdom full of people just like me. They're holding out their beliefs against a sea of indifference. There's these environmental artist-types holed up on a distant mountain, in the ruins of a French colonialist's library. All these books, bound in leather to last the centuries - ancient manuscripts in languages known and unknown - and they're growing tomatoes and rosemary in what's left of the living room, raiding the stairwell for boards to use to prop up the precious library against the wild mountain. They study these old, lost worlds hidden in paper.

Their leader, Prester John, negotiates with traveling junk-dealers for parts to build the machines and computers that keep the lights on, and the hydroponics functional, and the heat in winter.

He's out there, with his loyal tribe, surviving. He's holding out against the regime that doesn't even know he's there, keeping his people safe.

At night, someone gets the radio working and they dance around a fire because it's too dark to read, and the energy needs to be stored for the garden and the winter's heating.

Someday, I'm going after him. I'll lead my tribe into the mountains, and we'll go find him. We'll try to save him and his library from the darkness of the world around him, wherever he is.

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