Saturday, December 23, 2006


I've been sleeping better and better.

There has been no word of the Duke's doings, and the King has been perfectly civil to my father, so we are hoping nothing will come of the Duke's displeasure.

Yesterday, I discovered Ennis's secret. He doesn't know I know yet, and I'm not sure how to approach him about it.

I saw him ahead of me on the road, and followed him awhile. I was of two minds, as always with him: to catch him up or to leave him alone, not burden him with my approach, unless I had something to speak to him about. I would do anything to avoid the horrors of the last time we saw each other. No true ill, just terrible embarrassment on my part. But more about that later.

I walked awhile, watching him, trying to think of something to say to him. I searched my mind for any subject on which to converse, any reason to approach him. Perhaps I could

Monday, December 11, 2006


The Hands came so strongly and quickly tonight, it was almost a shock. I sat in the Hands' window, looking outside for awhile. The world outside is grey and sheets with rain. The buildings in this place are sharp and ugly. When I see them I know I am in no dream, for I could not imagine such things.

So with that question, where am I? Some other world I can enter through the door of sleep? Perhaps the Afterworld? How can I know? The thought makes me shiver, and I can see goose pimples rise on the Hands' arms. I must not let go, for I have so much to say, so many questions.

Hands, who are you? Can you answer me?

--I waited here for twenty minutes, and the Hands did not answer, did not even move from the typing machine. I will keep trying, each time I come.

The machines here are not like the machines at home. Yes, we have machines, though we do not move around in the strange, sleek waggons that the people here seem to use. Our machines are not work-machines, as yours seem to be. We do not use them to replace our bodies, for that would be blasphemous. Our Gods made our bodies as they are so that they can do the work at hand, and to give the work away is to shun the gifts we are given.

Our machines look different, and are for different purpose.

For example, we do not cover our machines in sleek metal clothing. The workings of machines are part of their marvelousness, and should be there for all to see. My father, who tends many machines in the Museum, says that the best machines show inspiration in their workings, and inspiration is of the spirit. Therefore by looking at the workings of the machines, people may be lifted in spirit, may be closer to inspiration, and thence to the Gods.

I understand what he is saying but I do not see the inspiration. It does not move me.

Still, I think the machines are beautiful. Their movements are carefully designed to please, the sounds they make and the way they work together are like a dance, like a symphony. I love to watch them.

Once, during the Night of Dance, Ennis and Amela and I ran through the middle of a wandering group of Hush Motors. Their gently-waving fingers brushed against our faces. We laughed and ran in circles, and the Hush motors shushed at us, tickling. I knew the adults would -

Oh. Here it co

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


I'm sorry it's been so long!

I haven't been to visit the Hands for more than a moon, and the last time was only a quick peek before I was drawn back again. There was no time to write.

I have been sleeping badly.

My father is in trouble with the Duke of Aneth, which makes him in trouble with the King. When the Duke is angry with you you must walk very carefully! I know my father is not sleeping well either, for late at night when I am turning and turning in my bed I can hear him through the floor, pacing and pacing.

It's a stupid reason, too. The Duke took a fancy to a sword in the museum and would take it away. My father said he couldn't take it, it belonged to the King's grandfather, and a King's sword is too important for a Duke to use.

He made a mistake. The Duke was stung; he doesn't like being made to feel small, and my father, who is usually so diplomatic, didn't speak carefully enough. I think he was tired, and angry that the Duke thought he could take such a thing, as if it belonged to him. My father feels that the Duke is too free with the King's things, with the King himself even, but he would never normally say such a thing. The King is so easygoing, it is easy for people to forget themselves with him, but everyone knows the Duke takes advantage of this kindness of the King's.

So now the Duke is poisoning the King's ear with false tales about my father. The king, sweet man that he is, can hardly believe it, and shakes his head in disbelief, or so I hear. But the Duke will win, in the end. And that is what takes my father's sleep: how long?

The terrible thing, the thing I can't tell anyone, is that I'm not sleepless because of my father's trouble. I have troubles of my own.

The other day I saw Ennis again. He was working with his father, unloading hay from the waggon, and he had his shirt off. When I saw it I didn't know what to do, because that feeling I had before that he was someone I didn't know came back, but I was also embarrassed, because I wanted to say hello. I stood there, feeling stupid and watching him work, and the longer I stood there the worse it got. Finally, I thought I would sneak away before he saw me, but of course as soon as I moved, he looked up.

He smiled at me and waved, and suddenly I could see the old Ennis inside that big person, and it felt wonderful to have him back!!! I smiled back, I think, but then the sun shone on his skin and the moment was over. I felt embarrassed again, and I ran off. I could feel him looking after me as I went, but there was nothing I could do.

Ever since then I've been anxious all the time. It's so strange. I look everywhere for him, terrified I might see him; but when I don't see him I'm somewhat disappointed. It's horribly confusing. I can hardly sleep, thinking how foolish I must have looked and wondering what to do next time.

So, trying to get away from that thinking, for it is useless as well as hopeless, I have been raiding the library for books, and reading long into the night. If I get tired enough, I will sleep. If not, well, then I turn and turn.

In the meantime, I can hear my father down below: tramp, tramp, tramp. My mother says we look like a couple of ghosts. She can't stand how tired we look. I don't blame her. If I had anot

Monday, November 20, 2006


I'm back.

It's hard for me to finish these letters carefully. When I wake up it pulls me away from the hands and I can't control them anymore. It seems to happen piece by piece, so the writing gets a little spotty at the end. I'm sorry if it gets confusing!

Today I was out sweeping the courtyard when Ennis came by. Ennis is a boy I used to play with when we were smaller. He is very intelligent and quick, and about three years older than me. He used to look out for me when all of us children had adventures - which is another way of saying getting into trouble.

About five years ago he had to go work with his father in the stables. Before I began working with my father, I used to go visit him there, though now I don't see him much at all. He would let me help feed and curry the horses, and sometimes we would talk if he had a moment. I always liked talking to him. He is very soft-spoken and full of life. He makes very funny jokes, but you have to listen carefully for them. It is easy to think him too serious, which he is not.

Today, when I saw him, I was shocked at how tall he had become. It was terrible; he came into the courtyard and I almost didn't recognize him until he said, "Hello, Neddeth," and then when I did I was overcome. All the old easiness was gone, and we stood awkwardly, he and I, talking about stupid things. Finally, he said he had to go back to work, and when he left I almost wept.

I do not have many friends, especially now I am spending so much time on Museum business. Ennis was a good one, and now I've lost him. It is especially hard as he was one of the few children who thought I was a happy person. It is easy, if someone is quiet and does not smile much, to think that person is too serious or even sour. My sister, who is much older than me and married now, is always telling me to smile. She says that if you smile at people they will do anything for you, but I feel uncomfortable pretending like that. Especially getting other people to do things for you.

I keep thinking about seeing him. It was so confusing!!!! I knew who he was, and remembered all our conversations, but I could not make the person standing beside me feel like the person who had said all those things, done all those things. The thought of that tall person carrying me across a creek now makes me blush.

I think sometimes my Hands - I mean the person who writes this for me - must feel much as I do, alone much of the time and sometimes lonely. Busy, though. I can see from the edges of the Hands' vision that their owner makes things. What kind of things, I don't know, but there is a table with things on it that is clearly a Making-table. I wonder if he or she longs for contact with others?

I can feel the beginnings of wakefulness. Goodb

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dreaming and Waking

It's a bit weird, writing this.

I know I'm dreaming. It's one of these dreams where you know you're dreaming and you do it anyway, la? I can see where I am, and the people going by outside the window of, and everything. I even know how to work this machine. I see my hands (which look too old to me) working away, and the letters are pouring across the screen. AND IT'S MY WORDS!!!!! What I'm wanting to say is said, written. By me, I think. But where do these old hands come from?

I can't see everything. The room is kind of shadowy and the light coming in the window is a funny color. I think it might be nighttime, though it is very bright. I turn my head and see a bed, not made, behind me. It's a funny kind of bed, like for one person, la? It makes me a little sad to look at it. The person who my hands belong to seems lonely.

I don't know how long I'll be here so I'll write as fast as I can.

Where do I start?

I've been having these dreams for a long time. Several moons, at least. Every time I had one I found myself staring at these hands - sometimes on the machine, sometimes holding a cup or a spoon. Usually very short dreams, just a moment or two. But I didn't know I was dreaming, until last night.

Last night, here I was again, looking at the hands on the machine. They were typing, a letter, I think, and there was a strange sound outside. A hooting noise came close and then passed by, and there was something about that noise that startled me. As if I woke up from dreaming and knew that I was dreaming. I've had these dreams before, haven't you? Suddenly you know you're in a dream and you can push things around a bit, make things happen. Or at least stop being frightened. So I told the hands what I wanted to say. They hesitated, and I tried again, and then they did something to the screen. It got brighter, and the letter went away, and suddenly they were typing my words!!!!! I could not bear the feeling, and I woke.

All that day, I did my work in a trance, thinking and thinking about what had happened. Why had I been so frightened? It was only a dream, only a pair of hands doing my work for me. Yet it had been so strange to make something happen so truly. I can't explain it. Always before, when I've had one of those dreams - my mother calls them halsa dreams, you know, the kind you can control - it has been funny, or odd, or simply crazy. But this time it felt so real. So, even though I still felt frightened, I determined in myself that I would stay there this night, and not be driven away by my own fear.

And so, here I am. Usually these kinds of dreams don't last long. Which is why I have to push these hands to write quickly.

I live in the top floor of the museum, in the Palace grounds. My father is the Curator, and I...well, I am what is known as a palace brat. Though really, I'm too old for that now. I used to run around with the other children, but since my twelfth birthday, for nearly two years now, I have been working with my father to learn the trade. It is a slow business, curating, and a different person would hate it. But I am like my father, and I like it. He is kind to me and does not make me spend the whole day inside, but sends me on errands or lets me go study light and shadow with my paints, so it isn't too bad.

On feast-days I -

I feel my mother calling! I will writ ag in lat