So, after confirming that I wouldn’t be using major characters from the books in these, here’s a story about Hokiak. Well, perhaps he’s not a maincharacter, but he certainly is persistent.
This story has nothing whatsoever to do with postmodernist twentieth century poetry, and most especially nothing to do with TS Eliot(1). However, Eliot exerts a strange fascination on the fantasist, and so, for reasons beyond comprehension, the title for this story is an Eliot echo (2). I’m not sure what it is about Eliot that chimes with a certain kind of thoughtful fantasy writing. My closest guess would be that Eliot uses a vast amount of symbolic (and very evocative) writing. He surely means something by every word and comma but, unless you have a degree in literature and speak several extinct languages, what the bard intended is likely to pass you by. However, such is the imagery that he works with that the mind is apt to find other means, sometimes taking the words more literally than (presumably) intended. The Waste Land, one of Eliot’s masterpieces, is thick with occult import, but if you take it at face value it’s an astonishing phantasmagorical travellogue through a bizarre and fragmented world. Someone should novelise it. Perhaps someone already has. If not, maybe I will (3). Certainly Tim Powers quotes liberally from Eliot, and there are images and segments of those poems that are echoed distinctly in some of his books. Similarly the title of Andrews’ book The Pearls That Were His Eyes(4) is not paraphrasing Shakespeare so much as paraphrasing Eliot paraphrasing Shakespeare. Anyway, I leave with my favourite line, from The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock.
…”I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scruttling across the floor of sunless seas”…
Oh yes, and the story is here.
(1) A gold star to someone who can find me a decent link with TS Eliot, so long as I can then pretend that I’d done it on purpose.
(2) Sweeney Amongst the Scorpions was not considered.
(3) That grinding noise you can here is not your hard drive, but TSE spinning in his grave.
(4) A relatively little known but extremely good book, heartily recommended.