Thursday, May 17, 2012

The World of the Saga: Quayment

Oh, so you want to know about Quayment, do you? Hee hee! Well, you really ought to get the books if you are curious. It's a small town on the Atlantic, somewhere south of Philadelphia and north of Baltimore, where the Hardystone River pours out through the little bay. The town is divided into a south side and a north side, and is well-known for its fishing, its nice beach on the jetty south of town, its very old railroad system, its pleasant small-town-America style, and - especially - for its bookstores. There's a huge church up on the north hill called St. Ambrose's, and a lighthouse at the end of the jetty (there are shoals some miles out in the Atlantic, and these two signal the safe pathway to harbor)... there's a famous bed-and-breakfast on the south side called Harry's Pier, and of course the bookstores like Weaver's on the north side, and Alexandria's, and Bastian's, and Leary's, and the Phantom Tollbooth (run by the Soffia twins, which I might write about next time), and Mifflin's (also called "the Haunted Bookshop" or "Parnassus at Home") and the Gamut, and Driftwood... there's even one which appears every so often, overnight, almost by magic, which the townspeople call "Serendipity"... (its story is told in the forthcoming collection of short stories, or if you cannot possibly wait, you can read it here. Yes, just as Tolkien altered geography to suit his subcreation, I did too - and you will eventually hear about North Belloc and Stirling, and maybe even Milan (all these are in my Pennsylvania, though I never state what state Quayment is in, so don't make any assumptions!) It's a lot of fun, akin to playing with a toy train set:
When I tire of subcreating with the formal syntax of programming languages and the rigor of the finite state machines we call computers, I open a new window (hee hee) and go back to Quayment - that is, to my other subcreation which is a box of paints and a toy train. Quayment is my fictional little town on the bay, with its bookstores and restaurants and railroads, its lighthouse and its docks and its huge "young cathedral" high on the north hill, and the fascinating and curious lives of its inhabitants. For the writing of fiction is also a subcreation - even though its rigors, its terrors and its joys, are far stronger than the modelling of atoms - and far more dangerous. For though these things are merely products of the human mind, they are far closer to the human heart. [Excerpted from here.]
Oh, the name. The name is a sort of worn-down version of its original name, Aquaemanent, from the Latin aquae manent = "the waters remain".... but that is all the more I can tell you today. Perhaps one day we shall meet there, and visit the bookstores...

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