This week challenge:
Many of us have had an opportunity to interview an author, mostly through email, but perhaps even on the phone or in person. In fact, many of you have become experts at author interviews. So this week, let’s pretend that we can get in contact with one of our favorite characters and interview them. What would you ask Mr. Darcy if you could send him an email. What would his answers be like? What would you say if you could just call up Liesel or Rudy from The Book Thief and ask them anything? How would they answer your questions? What if you could invite Jo March or Anne Shirley to lunch, what would the conversation be like?
I had been following the wild rumors for years and I could not believe my luck. Here I was walking through Shiraz. A city full of gardens and smelling of cloves and cinnamon. How had the contact even found me? The apartment phones where intermittent at best and it was only through the sheer grace of the concierge that I got the message. Be at the alley by 4 PM, ask no questions and follow the girl with the basket of fruit.
We did not speak but walked for miles, finally entering a courtyard through a bright blue door. I was told to wait, and sat listening to the water falling from the fountain. The courtyard held a garden. The garden surrounded a single orange tree, and was dense with roses, lavender and herbs I could not identify. Fat bees hovered in the blossoms. The air was warm and rich. I was nervous, not sure of myself. Someone brought me tea. There was music and the evening light faded from a shell pink sky.
Finally a young man asked me to follow him down a hallway and through an archway. As he stepped aside I caught my first sight of her, seated on a rug, dressed in lime colored silks. Her hair was dark and streaked with silver, her face covered in fine lines. She smiled and gestured for me to sit. This is not possible, it can not be, the rumors are just rumors. I sit at her side.
“Dear lady, you want to ask me questions.” her voice filled with warmth. “I will try and answer honestly.”
“Thank you for seeing me. I really wasn’t sure you were still here, in the city, or even..”
She grinned and nodded. “Trust me. You have but to ask.”
“So, I will ask. How did you do it? So many stories, so many nights, years and years of them..”
“I really had no choice, I did not wish to die. My childhood was spent reading the works of kings and poets. I collected scrolls and books of history. I read philosophy and law and listened to the storytellers from foreign lands. I have a vivid imagination. Besides that king was so cruel, he couldn’t be allowed to continue that way. Some one had to do something!” Her face flushed with the memory.
I struggled with the next question, having become somewhat dizzy. Must be the warm, incense filled air. “The stories seem to jump around in time, some from the past, some from the future, how was that possible?”
“You doubt the knowledge of my people? We knew about the circumference of the earth and the distance to the stars while your ancestors where struggling in the dark times. Our poets sang of distant lands. Time is nothing to those who have knowledge. Now come, have something to eat and some more tea.”
We sat and drank in silence. She passed me a platter of almonds and figs. I was at a loss, all of my questions gone from my head. I had spent years researching the background of these stories, finding their sources, how they had come to be mentioned in the Fehrest of Ibn al-Nadim. Finally, she spoke again.
“I am sorry if I was short with you. These stories were my destiny, just as as they are yours. I could do nothing other then to tell them, and to see that they are always told, through succeeding generations and on into the future.” Suddenly two small children tumbled into the room, laughing. “Auntie, auntie! Tell us a story!” She smiled and nodded at me. “Sit, children, and listen. Once upon a time there was a great a powerful king named Sabir..”