(Four Quills of a Tale is a folktale about losing one’s creativity and the struggle to regain it)
I stroke the feathered quills between my calloused fingers with care, unsure what to expect. Katrina the Great Storyteller has been my shining star atop the tallest pyramid and, if the old woman is correct, Katrina will soon be revealed. But what if my grandiose impression of her becomes one of disillusionment? As a General orders the march forward, my duty calls. I inhale a breath of courage and place the first goose feather quill between my fingers. I insert the quill into the ink.
What is this? The quill refuses the ebony ink, repelling it like water on a duck. My hand trembles, but calms when the nib forces my press upon the parchment.
It is because of Goose, my muse, that this is, my final story, will be written and subsequently told. I trust that you, Mr. Kent, will not become tiresome or burdened with this charge, but instead, ultimately enlightened and fulfilled.
I drop the quill. Yes, I am scribing. But these thoughts, these words, this handwriting, is not my own!
The quill rolls decisively toward my trembling hand. I have no recourse but to, again, place the first goose-feathered quill between my fingers.
I never abandoned you, my listening friends. Not with intention. I once was a soul of brilliant color. Sometimes, my hues of imagination were bountiful and my flowers bloomed from gardens sweet. I tilled the soil, deep in exploration of dreams, and stirred fertile ideas in the rich black earth.
Once discovered, I took the gems to flowing rivers, cleaned them, and analyzed them with curious and appreciate eyes. Oh, how I loved those times—when Goose and I traveled the countryside sharing tales of imagination with you! Even now, I smile remembering how Goose fluffed her tail feathers with bravado when amongst the listeners.
And then the colors of my imagination began to fade. Weeds in my gardens multiplied like diseased cells. I yanked and pulled, discarding the bad, hoping the good would conquer. Sometimes, the scarce treasures bled around my hand and trembled with frustration like a blank canvas waiting for paint. Particles of uncertainty coursed through my veins. I tried to find the voice within my stories and the stories within my voice. But they had vanished, as if stolen by thieves in the darkest of night.
What could I offer if not my stories?
to be continued ….