Writing that I Wrote about Writing about

Subject to further revisions, this is how the song ‘Serendipity’ from the Writing about Writing about Writing blog posts fits into actual prose:

“Will you sing something, Sophie?” asked Enyde suddenly.

To Sophie’s horror about two thirds of the class turned their heads in interest and she knew if she tried to say anything in that second, she’d choke.

What could she possibly sing about at a time like this? The songs she practised with Elinore were mostly of Elinore’s own composition, and much as she loved her friend she’d be the first to admit that Elinore had an affinity for the macabre, which was probably not what the class wanted to hear right then.

The choir she sang with were different, choosing mostly religious, scripture-related pieces or old dirges for London and the pre-restoration period. Try as she might, she couldn’t think of one that was appropriate; indeed right now only one song was going through her head.

A star fell, a star fell, to the last black hole where the wretched dwell…

Yes, the song Gildas himself had called a shameful indulgence in despair—that Rooks were told to stop people from singing in public. The one where even humming the tune made people think you were mental. The very worst song to sing on this occasion.

And yet.

Its fires burned like the flames of hell…

She cleared her throat. “I could,” she said. “If there was something someone wanted me to?”

There were no takers. No one willing to spare her the predicament of choice. Damn it, what the hell could she sing?! Miss Everley was waiting slightly outside the compartment with her back turned and her arms crossed, so she was no help, and at the other end of the carriage was the door that lead to the driver’s seat. Maybe she could ask the Rook if they had any suggestions, that would end well.

As they passed by another field, Sophie felt all eyes on her and worried that every second that passed brought her closer to being yelled at for not thinking of something. Why had Enyde put her in this position? Did she even think at all before opening her mouth?

Outside, she saw two more Rooks running on the other side of the next field. Although from that far away she knew she might have been mistaken, she thought they looked harried, like maybe even the they were afraid of what had just happened. And then their gliders extended and they took off into the air, and suddenly the answer came to her.

She took a few deep breaths. The tension eased as the rest of the class could see her make her decision, but she was still worried. She’d been screaming earlier, and she hadn’t drunk anything since breakfast. Yet she decided her voice would have to do just as it was, there was nothing for it.

“Is there even a truth in the stone, she thinks;” the song began. Sophie kept her eyes pointing upwards so she wasn’t put off by the faces of her class. “And is there a truth in the word? For she is a knight of anonymous sort, who waits out the darkness in solitude caught; and she and her ghosts are invariably taught, what may not have even occurred.”

Too late Sophie remembered the first two verses were not that uplifting at all. For a moment she considered skipping the next one, but decided that might have been too jarring. The next verses would make up for it.

“Is there even an end to this tunnel, she thinks; and is there an end to this flight? For her bloodied talons are pinned where she lies, wrong-sided, entangled, between the Knot’s skies; while shadows and ghosts will claw at her eyes, bite down on her wing-bones and bite.”

Clamp down, she told herself. It’s ‘clamp down and bite’, not ‘bite down and bite’, that doesn’t even make any sense. She was pretty sure ‘ghosts’ was wrong too, but she couldn’t think of the right word and instead moved on to the chorus.

“Serendipity.”

Her voice broke. She cleared her throat, embarrassed, and continued without meeting anyone’s eyes.

“Two bright stars in black. If I meet one as lost as I, perchance I could come back?”

There was a coda line there, but she’d forgotten that entirely. She moved onto the next verse with more confidence.

“Sometimes you’re not lost in the forest, Lemman, and you’re never as trapped as you feel. For not every binding is tied with a knot, and fate’s not a chain to fix you to a lot; nor is a private pearl without a spot, a loss that will bring you to heel.”

The fourth verse passed her lips, then the second chorus. It wasn’t until the fifth verse that she remembered there was a sixth and a seventh verse she hadn’t actually learned yet.

Before we move on I want you to think about the meaning behind this song, Elinore,” the choirmistress had said. “Do you know the story of the Joyous Recovery?”

When one of the original copies of the Malory Canon was found north of the Lands, in 116 YC,” Elinore had replied.

Sophie had marvelled at Elinore’s oddly specific knowledge, something that was so unlike the normally airheaded girl. She herself had known about the Malory Book; everyone did, but she hadn’t known when it was discovered, nor that the finding had been called the ‘Joyous Recovery’.

They’d started another song only the next week, after it had been decided they were behind schedule, and left ‘Serendipity’ behind. Sophie remembered Elinore being quite upset about it; they’d instead had to start practicing some of the Burning Songs for an upcoming performance, and Elinore had always hated those.

“This planet spins through its ellipse unplanned; the far-away ocean will push through the land. Near one in an infinite chance are we, and, the writing in stone can be read in the sand.”

There was another coda to that verse. Sophie couldn’t remember it. She just wanted to get through the next chorus and hope that what she’d done had been enough.

“Serendipity. Two bright stars in black. If I met one as lost as I, perchance I could come back. Come back. Perchance I could come back.”

Come back from where, though? Sophie had wondered when she first heard the song, and now she was singing it again she wondered still. After all, there was only one place anyone could ever be, and that was Camelot.

Well, except the Other Place.

No one spoke for a full minute when she was finished. And then Galahad McKenzie said:

“Can you do ‘Last Showdown at Camblam’? I like that one.”

*~*~*~*

Like? Love? Writing up a death threat as we speak? Share any thoughts ye may have!

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