The Unworthy Seeker

Once, a man sought inspiration, which, as we are all told, truly lies only within us. So the man looked hard within, but all he could find was an assortment of organs and chemicals, all coordinating with each other in complex ways and moved around by marvelously-engineered organic mechanisms. All this was fascinating, but it didn’t give him any ideas, except a certain gratitude that he had skin to hold it all in place.

He went to look for it in Nature then. His first challenge was figuring out what, exactly, “nature” might be. He supposed that a philosopher might see it in a single leaf, and a pragmatist might just travel to the woods, but he was a writer, of the variety who might possibly think a little bit too much, every little once in a while.

(Which is a polite way of saying: he probably thought too damn much, all the damn time.)

Eventually, he decided that “Nature” was where there were lots of living things, preferably not living things which were inordinately dangerous to him, and where all those creatures were simply doing what came naturally to them, except for humans, which were doing the most unnatural thing a human can do: disturbing nothing at all.

(And while some might say this is how Mankind finds peace; others note that it is our job to ‘disturb the Universe’. I don’t know who’s right, but I know that, for myself, I’m a shark: standing still is death.)

He saw lots of very pretty things, but none of them inspired him.

He was a modern man, and could have given up. It seems strange for those of us in an enlightened world, one wherein we pierce the heavens with rockets and the Earth with drills, to call upon the Gods, but, then again, there’s nothing more vast than All That Is, and few things are more perverse; for not only did this man seek the Gods; he also found them.

First, he stood in the blinding Sun, thinking hard of the music of the lyre and poems two thousand years old. And he called out to Apollo to come to his aid.

Like a sunburst pushing through the earthquake-cracked roof of a cave, striking where no light has been since long before Man, Apollo spoke, and he said,

“I respond so that you may know: I will not come to you. You are not worthy.”

Thus it was that the man spent the day gathering sticks (to Hell with his day job) and making a small circle of stones, to build a bonfire. There are many higher beings drawn to a blaze, but he concentrated hard and called to Lady Ceridwen, for whom inspiration was breath. And in a piercing thought which struck sparks in his brain, but kindled no inspiration, she said,

“I respond so that you may know: I will not come to you. You are not worthy.”

Oh, there are many Gods, yes, but being answered by two is enough for any mortal; it’s more than enough for most Gods. So he crawled away (for his limbs did not seem to want to rise, and his eyes were burning) and entered some underbrush which covered him, barely; and, shivering, he pulled from his coat a fifth of whiskey, and chugged it. He put his back to the ground and propped his head against a tree, and looked for the Moon (for it was night)—but there was no Moon; Coyote had stolen it (again).

“Damn you, Coyote,” he said.

And Coyote came.

The four-legged God looked at the supine half-monkey, and slowly stood up on two legs, putting on an ironical human face with piercing green-grey eyes. Coyote pointed at the whiskey bottle. “Is that for me?”

The man held it up, and turned it upside-down; not even a drop emerged. Coyote laughed. “An empty bottle! A fitting offering for these strange times. You seek inspiration? Up, up, get up; run with me through the forest and the city, run with me through strange spaces, and we’ll see us some wonders, and if you don’t come away with something to write, then you ain’t human.”

The man shook his head, as if doing so would clear the whiskey haze—and surprisingly, it did, a little. He looked up at the trickster-god.

And he said, “My Lord Coyote, I am grateful, more grateful than I can say. But I have to know—why do you find me worthy, when others do not?”
Coyote replied, “I do not find you worthy.”

The man blinked. “Then why did you come?”

Coyote smiled, that toothy grin, the peculiar one, the one which curves in a way you can’t quite make out.

“Because, Brother,
I am not worthy either.”

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach Written by:

“There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN: Diary of a Dark Lord” is the first novel by Jeff Mach, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. If you'd like to meet Jeff Mach, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, you should come to Jeff's new event, Evil Expo.

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