Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Great Conversation in Philadelphia


Ten days from now I'm going to have what I honestly expect will be a great conversation with Samuel R. Delany at the Rosenbach from 6 to 7 p.m.

This event is being held in conjunction with the new Library of America publication of American Science Fiction: Eight Classic Novels of the 1960s, edited by Gary K. Wolfe. This is a two-volume set, one of which contains Chip's very fine novel Nova.

In what I believe will be almost-but-not-quite an interview, we'll be talking about the science fiction of the Nineteen-Sixties, me from the perspective of an avid reader of the stuff as it was coming out, and Delany from that of a writer who was right at the center of it all as it was happening.

So... much less about me than about him and less about either of us than about the science fiction itself. Or so I surmise. Delany will be taking the lead here. He's always an engaging and entertaining speaker, so you're in safe hands there.

The event will be held on January 9 at the Rosenbach, 2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. You can buy tickets and find all the info on the event at the Rosenbach site here


Monday, December 23, 2019

The Parable of the Creche


Once a year I present this story here. Sometimes the details differ by a word or three. But the message, I think, is timeless. Come gather around me, children, and I will tell you...

The Parable of the Creche

When first I came to Roxborough, over a third of a century ago, the creche was already a tradition of long standing. Every year it appeared in Gorgas Park during the Christmas season.  It wasn't all that big -- maybe seven feet high at its tip -- and it wasn't very fancy. The figures of Joseph and Mary, the Christ child, and the animals were a couple of feet high at best, and there were sheets of Plexiglas over the front of the wooden construction to keep people from walking off with them. But there was a painted backdrop of the hills of Bethlehem at night, the floor was strewn was real straw, and it was genuinely loved.

It was a common sight to see people standing before the creche, especially at night, admiring it.  Sometimes parents brought their small children to see it for the first time and the wonder they displayed was genuinely moving.  It provided a welcome touch of seasonality and community to the park.

Alas, Gorgas Park is public property, and it was only a matter of time before somebody complained that the creche violated the principle of the separation of church and state. When the complaint finally came, the creche was taken out of the park and put into storage.

People were upset of course. Nobody liked seeing a beloved tradition disappear. There was a certain amount of grumbling and disgruntlement. One might even say disgrumblement.

So the kindly people of Leverington Presbyterian Church, located just across the street from the park, stepped in.  They adopted the creche and put it up on the yard in front of their church, where it could be seen and enjoyed by all.

But did this make us happy? It did not. The creche was just not the same located in front of a church.  It seemed lessened, in some strange way, made into a prop for the Presbyterians. You don't see people standing before it anymore.

I was in a local tappie shortly after the adoption and heard one of the barflies holding forth on this very subject:

"The god-damned Christians," he said, "have hijacked Christmas."


Friday, December 20, 2019

Bragging Time!


For every thing there is a season, saith the prophet. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted... a time for proper modesty and a time to brag.

The proper time for writers to brag is when they have a new book out and the critics smile upon it favorably. So you will forgive me for pointing out that The Iron Dragon's Mother made it onto  Kirkus's and Tor.com's and The Wall Street Journal's lists of the best fantasy & sf of the year.

I don't keep track of these things but I think that's a personal best.

Matthew Keeley, in Tor.com, writes, "In my review, I called it 'one of the best fantasies of the year.' I stand by that evaluation." You can find that list here.

Kirkus calls The Iron Dragon's Mother "another bravura performance, with a surprise ending that, after a moment's reflection, isn't so surprising after all,"adding, "Discworld meets Faust. They do not like each other. Philip Pullman picks up the pieces." You can find that judment here.

Finally, in The Wall Street Journal, Tom Shippey concludes, "Mr. Swanwick builds a world at once finely detailed and complex almost beyond comprehension. It’s one to read over and over again." This, alas, is behind a paywall, but subscribers can find it here.

I'd be a little embarrassed by all this praise if it weren't for the fact that what these reviews describe is exactly the kind of book I was trying to write: something different, something absorbing, something that might be--pray God--worth a reader's love.

Speaking of which, my book is not exactly alone on any of these lists. Even if you enjoy it as excessively as I hope you will, it can't possibly be the only book there that you'd enjoy. Why not wander through the listings a little, making notes on what novels you really should give a try?


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Watching the Army-Navy Game


Last Saturday, Marianne and I went to the Army-Navy Game. We had great seats on the lower level at the 50-yard line, courtesy of a West Point grad we know who normally attends every year but this time had to choose between one of the most prestigious games of the year and watching his son play in an important school game.

The man just aced Fathering 401.

Since I didn't serve in the military, this was one event I never expected to see. It was an unexpected privilege to be there and to get a chance to see what it was all about.

It wasn't about the game and it wasn't about being specifically in the Army or the Navy--though it was about serving or having served in the military. It was about community and continuity. There was an Army side of the stadium and a Navy side, but there were rooters for each mingled in with their rivals and nobody gave them any grief. Everybody there was aware of having participated in an extraordinary enterprise that was larger than any of them.

As for continuity... This was the 120th Army-Navy game. And of course the services go much further back. Scattered through the games were ceremonial presentations and recognitions. The president was there. Some people booed him. Others cheered. Most simply applauded the presence of their Commander in Chief.

This year, the Army backers were saddened and the Navy backers elated. They all looked happy, though, simply to be there. This was the most amiable group of people I've been among for a long time.

When we left, all the midshipmen and cadets were hurrying off to do whatever young people on leave do. The vets ambled out at a less urgent pace. They all had an air of having spent their time wisely and well.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

This Glitterati Life (Part 9,482)


It was a glitterati kind of day. Brenda Clough  was in town for her Galactic Philadelphia reading the night before last (along with John Schoffstall, author of Half-Witch). So the next day Marianne and I and took Brenda and husband Larry Clough to see the  Mütter Museum.

The Mütter is "America's finest museum of medical history." (The word "anomalies" got  dropped from the description somewhere along the line.) Along with Dr. Joseph Hyrtl’s collection of human skulls, it contains the plaster cast and conjoined liver of Siamese twins Chang & Eng, the jaw tumor of President Grover Cleveland, acollection of 2,374 swallowed objects, the tallest skeleton on display in North America, slides of Albert Einstein’s brain, and the gem of the collection—the soap lady! 

Among many other wonders, some of which are not for the faint of heart.

At the end of our visit, Brenda passed judgment on it all. "This is truly a fallen world," she said, contemplating the horrors that are perfectly natural within it. Perhaps, she suggested, we should refrain from adding to its horrors.

After a conversation-filled lunch at Village Whiskey, Brenda and Larry had to return home. So Marianne and I went back to our house, where I got some writing done. And in the evening we went to the Academy of Vocal Arts to hear Lyric Fest.  Which was, as usual splendid.

I would be lying if I were to tell you this was a typical day in my life. But what the heck. I want to turn you all green with envy, so--yes, this was a typical day for me.

Above: Marianne Porter, Brenda Clough, and Larry Clough, overlooking the medicinal garden.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Gahan Wilson Beets the Nebula Banquet


By now you've heard the sad news. Gahan Wilson, master of the macabre cartoon, is with us no more. I only met the man once but the loss is very real. He brought joy to all of us with... let's say unusual senses of humor. Which, as far as I can tell from the reactions online, is pretty much everybody you'd care to know.

But you want to know about that one meeting, I'm sure.

It was at a Nebula Awards Banquet many years ago. I was sitting at the same table as Ellen Datlow, then editor of Omni, who had invited him to dine with us. He seemed subdued, like he was coming down with something. Or maybe he was worried about something. At any rate, he didn't sparkle.

When our meals arrived, the waiter set down a little bowl of beets beside my plate. "Oh, joy," I said dolorously. "Beets."

"I love them!" Marianne, who was sitting to my left, said.

"You can have mine," I replied, dumping them on her plate.

Gahan Wilson, who was sitting to the other side of her, suddenly perked right up and dumped his bowl of beets onto Marianne's plate, atop mine. And in flurry of flying beets, so did everyone else at the table.

Leaving Marianne staring down at an enormous red mountain of beets, dwarfing her meal proper.

And that's all the story there is. It's a small one, but mine own. I met Gahan Wilson once, and he brought joy to everyone at the table.

Except, possibly, until later, Marianne.

Above: There Goes That Wilson Boy All Alone As Usual! A signed and numbered serigraph of this cartoon is available at The Gahan Wilson Virtual Museum. You can buy it here.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

John M. Ford Simplified and Explained


Everybody called him Mike because there were already John Fords in the culture--a movie director, a Jacobean playwright, a... well, if you're curious, you can check out Wikipedia's disambiguation page here. I didn't know Mike all that well, though we considered each other friends. But on the happy occasion of the announcement that his books will be coming back into print (if you don't know the details, you can find find them here), I thought I should present an extremely simplified sketch of the man. Just to give you some idea of what you missed.

Mike was, to begin with, intimidatingly quick-witted. Even in the science fiction community, where the default setting is Brilliant, he stood out. That shtick where you take a HELLO, MY NAME IS sticker and add the words INIGO MONTOYEZ. YOU KILLED MY FATHER. PREPARE TO DIE...? He did that first. I know because I was at the Worldcon where he did it and whenever writers read the tag for the first time, their faces would go dead for an instant as they thought: I could have come up with that. Why didn't I? Which was, by then, because for a year or three he lived in Philadelphia, a familiar thought for me.

Several people have commented on how "reserved" or "withdrawn" Mike was. But my reading of it was that that he was simply intensely private. There was certainly no lack of warmth to him. If you were talking to him, and said something amusing, either intentionally or not, a little smile would appear at the corner of his mouth, suggesting that he was enjoying the hell out of the moment but was suppressing a laugh so as not to give offense.

Mike Ford's literary art was all over the place. It drove those who knew him mad. When we were all wishing he'd write more crowd-pleasing books like The Dragon Waiting, he'd pen something like Winter Solstice, Camelot Station, a series of poems where the knights of the Round Table arrive in Camelot by steam locomotive, which he made into a chapbook and sent to his friends at Christmas  or How Much for Just the Planet?, a Star Trek novel that was also a Gilbert & Sullivan-style musical comedy--complete with songs! It was as if he were desperately looking for new ways to fail.

More precisely, it was as if he were desperately looking at new ways to fail--and failing at that as well. Winter Solstice, Camelot Station won a World Fantasy Award. When I heard the news, marveling, I said to Marianne, "This is the first time a Christmas card we've received has won a World Fantasy Award."

"This is the first time a Christmas card anyone received has won the award," she corrected me.

Mike Ford's work could be dauntingly difficult, yet he was deeply involved in gaming and other fannish activities. Gardner Dozois put it best when he said, "Mike is that rarest of animals--a fannish intellectual."

So there's what you missed. Mike died far too young. His friends--and he had a lot of them--were all shocked at his death. We still miss him terribly. But now his books are coming back into print.

Soon, you'll be able to get to know him for yourself.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

"Dragon Slayer"


Good news! Jonathan Strahan's new anthology, The Book of Dragons has just been announced. That's the cover up above.

The collection will be published this summer by Harper Voyager and has been years in the making. More so in my case, I suspect, than most of the others. Somewhere between several and many  years ago, I began writing my own contribution, "Dragon Slayer," with the words:

Every road and open doorway is a constant danger to a man of wandering disposition. Olav had stood on the threshold of his cottage one spring morning and the road had looked so fine that he couldn’t resist setting foot on it, and the next thing he knew it had carried him to the sea. There he chanced upon a merchant ship in need of a new hand. He learned the sailoring trade, fought pirates, killed a kraken, grew a beard, pierced an ear, and one memorable night won a handful of rubies at a single turn of the cards and lost them all to a barmaid who doped his ale. Two years later, he was shipwrecked off Thule and briefly married to a witch-woman who had blackwork tattoos on her face and had filed her teeth to points. 

Even the skeptical among us will have to admit that I didn't skimp on plot!

I made a strong beginning, moved Olav through several lands and pages and... came up against a wall. I had a dragon by then, but didn't know why it wanted what it did and what that meant. So onto the back lot of my hard drive it went, to languish with a hundred other partially-written stories, waiting for the day when inspiration would strike.

Then one day inspiration struck, in the form of Jonathan Strahan inviting me to submit a story to his dragon anthology. The attractive thing about the invitation was that he had a llong deadline--over a year. Surely, I thought, given that much time, I could figure out exactly what was going on.

And as it turned out, I could. It was a close thing, though. There is something lounging deep within my brain, looking like a cross between a gigantic lizard and Orson Wells, which says, "We shall write no story before its time."

And . . . 

I can't tell you what's in the collection because they haven't yet released the table of contents, but I can tell you who:

Daniel Abraham
Kelly Barnhill
Peter S. Beagle
Brooke Bolander
Beth Cato
Zen Cho
C. S. E Cooney
Aliette de Bodard
Kate Elliott
Sarah Gailey
heodora Goss
Ellen Klages
R.F. Kuang
Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirski
Ken Liu
Scott Lynch
Patricia A McKillip
Garth Nix
K. J. Parker
Kelly Robson
Michael Swanwick
Jo Walton
Elle Katharine White
Jane Yolen
J. Y. Yang

Which I think you'll agree is a pretty great lineup.

More info here.


Friday, November 8, 2019

My Philcon Schedule


Okay, it's on! And here's my schedule. If you're going to be at Philcon this weekend, be sure to say hi.

Sat 10:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)

    [Panelists: Joan Wendland (mod), Chuck Rothman, Samuel Delany,
    Robert E. Waters, Eric Avedissian, Michael Swanwick]

    Authors talk about their own literary influences, and the works that
    inspired them to become writers

Sat 12:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Promenade (Gaming) (1 hour)

    [Panelists: Michael Swanwick (mod), Tess Kissinger, Phil Giunta]

Sat 1:00 PM in Plaza IV (Four) (1 hour)

    [Panelists: Brandon Budda (mod), Glenn McDorman, Michael Swanwick,
    Darrell Schweitzer]

    Best known for his masterpiece The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
    is the author of over thirty science-fiction and fantasy novels and
    hundreds of short stories. This panel explores Wolfe’s speculative
    worlds, his common themes and motifs, his most memorable characters,
    and (of course!) his magical prose

Sat 2:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)

    [Panelists: Earl Bennett (mod), Michael Swanwick, James L. Cambias,
    James Beall, B. Lana Guggenheim, Russell J. Handelman]

    Remember when spaceships went whizzing through the ether? Remember
    the hollow earth? What obsolete scientific ideas shaped SF, and
    which ones still persist in it

Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)

    [Panelists: Bernie Mojzes (mod), Michael Swanwick, Samuel Delany,
    Karalyn Morris, Heather Hutsell]

    Who's done it well? When does it work for a story, when does it
    fail, and why


Thursday, November 7, 2019

"Bring Three Books To Read, Mom"


Because I didn't keep as careful a calendar as I should, I committed to speaking to a class in Ann Arbor (a beautiful city, by the way) on a day when I should have been volunteering to work the polls for the Philadelphia general election.

So I filled out an absentee ballot and Marianne stepped in for me.

"Bring three books to read, Mom," our son Sean, who is the judge of elections for the 21st Ward 19th Division and for one day her boss, told her. The mayor of Philadelphia is chosen in this election but the city is so overwhelmingly Democrat that Kenney didn't bother to run. Nor did the Republican candidate. And almost all the other candidates were judicial. It can be a lot of work to get information on what judges to vote for and whom not.

So this election was widely be anticipated to be a snoozer.

Hoo boy. Were we--and everyone else--wrong! There were lines. The division had 594 registered voters, some of whom were almost certainly dead or moved, and 205 active voters. That's more than one-third! You have to work the polls to appreciate how extraordinary that is in an off year with no major office at stake.

And, according to the news, the same thing applied everywhere in the country.

The only possible explanation is that the entire nation is gearing up for next year's presidential election. Everyday citizens are taking their franchise seriously.

That makes me feel good about this country.

Above: The view from my airplane window as I came into Philadelphia. I think I'll stay put for a little while.


Monday, November 4, 2019

A For Really And Truly Ghost Ship


How's this for an eerie coincidence? Right after my story "Ghost Ships" appeared in the 70th Anniversary Issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, a for really and truly ghost ship appeared on the the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

I am not making this up. That's it up above.

And here's the city's explanation.

Inspired by the nuanced and complex history of the Delaware River in the 1700s, Biangle Studio created the site specific, three-dimensional light and water-based public art installation Ghost Ship. The 18th-century ship appears on the Philadelphia Waterfront as Ghost Ship for the month of October to shine a light on the shared history of the Delaware River, and reflect on its role in shaping Philadelphia today.    
Which, if you read carefully, you will discover means that it's over. They've turned off the pumps throwing water into the air and  the lights projecting onto the droplets. Like all ghost sightings it's ephemeral... seen and then over.

But beautiful. It lingers.

And speaking of my story . . .

A good issue of a fiction magazine is like an enhanced anthology. There's a book's worth of short fiction, and a selection of reviews and non-fiction to boot.  One of the best anthologies of he year was F&SF's 70th Anniversary Issue, which has just gone off the stands.

Here's the table of conetnts:

September/October 2019
70th Anniversary Issue


“The White Cat’s Divorce” by Kelly Link
“American Gold Mine” by Paolo Bacigalupi
“Kabul” by Michael Moorcock
“Erase, Erase, Erase” by Elizabeth Bear


“Little Inn on the Jianghu” by Y.M. Pang
“Under the Hill” by Maureen McHugh
“Madness Afoot” by Amanda Hollander
“The Light on Eldoreth” by Nick Wolven
“Booksavr” by Ken Liu
“The Wrong Badger” by Esther Friesner
“Ghost Ships” by Michael Swanwick
“Homecoming” by Gardner Dozois


“Last Human in the Olympics” by Mary Soon Lee
“Halstead IV” by Jeff Crandall


Three Score and Ten by Robert Silverberg
Books to Look For by Charles de Lint

    This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
    Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
    Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski
    The Golden Age of Science Fiction by John Wade
    Dracopedia Field Guide by William O’Connor
    Best Game Ever by R. R. Angell

Books by James Sallis
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Films: Love Death + Some Regression by Karin Lowachee
Science: Net Up or Net Down? by Jerry Oltion
Plumage from Pegasus: A Giraffe Yoked to an Ox: A Review of Flora Columbia: Goddess of a New Age by Paul Di Filippo
Curiosities: Science Fiction: Complete with Everything: Aliens, Giant Ants, Space Cadets, Robots, and One Plucky Girl by No-Frills Entertainment (1981) by Thomas Kaufsek

Cartoons by Mark Heath, Danny Shanahan
Cover by David A. Hardy

The issue has vanished from the stands like the ghost ships in my story. But you can buy individual issues from the F&SF website. Or, if you're the kind of person who likes to throw an Ipod loaded with their entire library into their carry-on bag just before making a spontaneous trip to Katmandu, from Weightless Books.

And as always . . .

I'm on the road again. I'll post my adventures, if I have any, from the wilds of Michigan.


Friday, November 1, 2019

What the North Wind Said


Well, it's November and the Halloween Season is over, all five nights of it. All through October, I've been serializing a story-or-prose-poem I wrote on leaves. Here it is, in its entirety:

The North Wind Speaks

My sister comes rustling through the birch woods.  Gentle she is, but restless, aloof, and intent on her search.

What is the East Wind looking for?  If only she’d tell us!  She has a thousand brothers and we are all devoted to her welfare.  Is it a faithless lover?  We’ll track the bastard down and kill him.  A lost child?  As good as found and returned.  The answer to a cunning riddle posed her by a sphinx?  We know everything there is to know.

But when we ask, our sister does not answer.  She shakes her head, smiles sadly, and moves on.

And in her wake – rain.

Above: The jack-o-lanterns have disappeared from the porch, leaving behind two pumpkin ghosts.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

The North Wind Speaks (conclusion)


It's Halloween--the day when pumpkins go bad. The two above were exemplary jack-o-lanterns a day ago.. Firm, solid, even cheerful. And now look at them! Their insides are black with mold, their expressions gothic with malign intent. Nobody dares reach inside them to recover what remains of the candles they've been eating night after night. We tell ourselves that it's--yuk!--the liquescence within. But honestly? Look at those mouths. Look at those grins. Life's too short to take such chances.

On Halloween all bad pumpkins are sent to the back yard so they won't scare away trick-or-treaters. They linger there, among the dead ferns for a day or three... and then they're gone!

Gone where? Nobody knows. To do what? We can only guess.

Do they grow bodies and stride off into the darkness? Do they turn to a black miasmic mist and float away in search of innocent lungs? I haven't looked into the question.

Nor should you.

And the conclusion to "The North Wind Speaks" . . .


Above: "The North Wind Speaks" is now complete. The full text will be posted here tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween in Old Winooski


Tomorrow is Halloween and that brings to mind what the holiday was like in Winooski, Vermont, when I was young.

Back then, Halloween wasn't a day but more of a short season. It began with Bean Day, when boys (never girls; the gender lines were rigidly patrolled back then) smuggled pea shooters and boxes of dried beans into school to see how much chaos could be created before the shooters and ammo were spotted and confiscated by our teachers, the long-suffering nuns of St. Francis Xavier Elementary School.

That night was Clothesline Night. This must have been a very localized thing because you could always tell what families had come to Winooski within the past year--they were the only ones who didn't know to take in their clotheslines before sunset. Because after dark, young vandals went looking for clotheslines to cut into pieces so short they could never be tied together and used again. Even people who had come from other parts of Vermont were caught unaware.

Then came Gate Night. Originally, it was the night when mischief-makers stole gates off their hinges, tied them to flagpole ropes, hoisted them to the tops of flagpoles and then cut the ropes to make their recovery difficult. Easily-removable small town gates being a thing of the past by then, however, Gate Night had become Bicycle Night. There being only so many flagpoles in Winooski, you didn't see many bicycles hoisted into the sky the next day. But those you did see were memorably surreal.

The recreational vandalism reached a peak on Mischief Night, the only one of the lot that seems to be celebrated by all of America. The gold standard of mischief night was tipping over an outhouse. However, there was only one outhouse remaining in Winooski and it seemed to be retained out of nostalgia rather than for use. It was never, so far as I knew, tipped over. But I believe that one night a year its owners kept a watchful eye on it.

Mischief Night was a celebration of minor vandalism--soaped windows, hit-and-run doorbell ringing, egging, and the like. I heard of toilet-papering houses, of course, but it was only when I moved to Virginia that I actually saw a TP'd house. Winooski was not a rich town.

Then came Halloween. Back then, it was the children's holiday. We dressed up in costumes, went house to house demanding candy, and then ate ourselves sick. It was great.

Those kids who hadn't yet had their fill of destruction took the admonition of "trick or treat" to heart and kept track of which houses didn't fork over the goodies. Later that night they would return to reprise Mischief Night on the villains.

The day after Halloween was All Saints Day and marked the end of the short, destructive season. No tricks were scheduled for that day, of course. But if you left your jack-o-lanterns out after Halloween was over, come morning you'd find them smashed to pieces on the front walk.

And "The North Wind Speaks" (part 30)

And in her wake --

(concluded tomorrow)

Above, top: Jack-of-the-Porch, currently residing not far from our front door.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The North Wind Speaks (part 29)


and moves on.

(continued tomorrow)

And I must apologize . . .

Other than my Autumn story, there hasn't been much new content on my blog this week. Mea culpa. I've been as busy as  busy. But I hope to have new material soon. And announcements! As they mature.


Monday, October 28, 2019

The North Wind Speaks (part 28)


smiles sadly,

(continued tomorrow)


Sunday, October 27, 2019

"The North Wind Speaks" (part 27)


She shakes her head,

(continued tomorrow)


Saturday, October 26, 2019

"The North Wind Speaks" (part 26)


does not answer.

(Continued tomorrow)


Friday, October 25, 2019

The North Wind Speaks (part 25 & to date)


                                                                   our sister

(continued tomorrow)

And because we're closing in on the end . . .

Here's the text of "The North Wind Speaks" to date:

 My sister comes rustling through the birch woods.  Gentle she is, but restless, aloof, and intent on her search.

What is the East Wind looking for?  If only      
she’d tell us! She has a thousand brothers   and we are all devoted to her welfare. 
 Is it a faithless lover?  We’ll track the bastard down and kill him.  A lost child?  As good as  found and returned.  The answer to a cunning riddle posed her by a sphinx?  We know everythingthere is to know.
 But when we ask, our sister... 

The story-or-prose-poem will be concluded on (of course) the 31st of October.