Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chapter 19: Ants

Lately, at the Lily Pad, we have been discussing Morsels, as I have decided that the Frogs are a little fat, and could perhaps benefit from fewer feedings.

Peaseblossom has come up with a stratagem to satisfy his hunger.  He reasons that, since Frogs are attracted to the colors and bodies of other Frogs (Peaseblossom especially, I may add), Morsels of the cricket type may possibly feel the same.  And so he set out stones, more and less the size and color of a cricket, in front of the log.  In the log he hides, ready to snatch up the Morsel when it approaches, the poor bug expecting "a friendly and crunchy friend".

Peaseblossom set stones in front of the log, and waited.

Mustardseed asked me which type were the most numerous Morsels on the Lily Pad.

I said that the most numerous Morsels were probably ants, who live in colonies and have queens, and grand colonies, some of which stretch for miles, and consist of millions or billions of members.

At this, Mustardseed perked up and hopped closer, his too-big belly coming to rest upon two of Peaseblossom's cricket-stones.  Mustardseed thoroughly questioned me on these Morsels, and was quickly unsatisfied with how little I knew.

Mustardseed questioned me on these Morsels.

And so, returning from many days' work, I often found Frog-slime on my Book of Mac, which contains much information on any topic that a Frog might want to learn.  I imagined that Mustardseed was doing research.  My suspicions were confirmed when Mustardseed, giddy with his new knowledge, said that ants were indeed the most numerous Morsel, and perhaps the most successful of them all, and, in fact, were in so many places in the Lily Pad and beyond, that he wagered that they would fill up many ponds or even lakes, if one were to pour all of the ants into them.

Mustardseed continued by saying that they had inspired him to write a poem.  After my urging, he recited it with much pride and confidence, and his distinguished voice rang out in the Dwelling, bouncing and echoing.  Mustardseed gestured as he spoke.  I have copied the poem below:

Who are the kings of the moving things?
Some say the lion, some the bear, some the hulking whale.

In fact, they are the weakest,
The smallest, and the meekest.

Little though forever large,
Weak though infinitely strong,
The Ants
Have only to wake,
And the marble is theirs to take.

I applauded the Frog.  Upon hearing the recitation of the poem, an unnerved Peaseblossom looked again at his small stones laid about, and was about to me ask if crickets looked much like ants, but stopped his sentence short, and, after a long pause and many sidelong looks at me, he hopped to Mustardseed and casually asked him about the qualities of the appearance of ants, what color they were and how large.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chapter 18: Snow

This past weekend, as I sat at my table, while reading the news and eating a bowl of oats, I noticed a whiteness dropping from the sky, as if the clouds were themselves falling.  The whiteness came in small bits and fell lazily, resting upon the ground and blanketing the area in a very clean and pretty white powder, which seemed to turn the whole area into a sea of cloud-guts.  The scene confused me greatly, as I had never seen such a thing.

After marvelling at this strange and slightly alarming phenomenon, I realized that I in fact knew all along that the substance was snow, and had spent much of my history moulding, rolling, and playing with snow, but for some reason my mind had failed (or refused) to acknowledge my memories of the whiteness.  I wondered at this peculiarity, why my brain had failed me, or what had caused my perception to change.

I asked Mote and Mustardseed if they had seen snow before, and while doing this, picked them up and took them over to the window.

As I took her in my hand, Mote asked what that was, and if it was a thing, how large.

I said that snow is the solid form of Wet, and is actually formed into miniscule crystals, each one being unique.  Quite a topic for a piece of a poem, or any piece of contemplative writing, I said to Mustardseed, with a nudge.  We looked out at the snow.

Mustardseed said that upon first seeing the snow, he thought that perhaps it was actually the clouds falling, on account of the whiteness falling so lazily, blanketing the ground so evenly, and being so soft and powdery-looking.  A bit like a sea composed of the guts of clouds, he said.

I was struck, for this was exactly what had gone through my mind one minute previously, verbatim, to the note.  The words imagined even rung through my head with Mustardseed's voice and intonation, which I related to the reader in the first paragraph of this entry.  

And in slipped a thought, a conjecture from the outskirts of my mind, like a creative idea might be caught in the wide net of a writer's searching mind, unexpectedly, but surely providing a great and hulking piece to the puzzle which the thinker was trying to put together.  Mustardseed and I had Positively the same reaction to the snow, both of us seeing it with an explorative and wondrous feeling of perception and detailed description, using the same adjectives and metaphors in the describing of the substance.  

In my hand, Mustardseed looked at me, or perhaps into me, or perhaps through me, as I was not able to tell, for my world had been shaken and my abilities of perception vehemently quaked.

It seemed as though our minds had perhaps merged in a way, like that of friends who adopt one another's mannerisms.  There was a very grave feeling to this, however, in this situation, that unnerved me completely.  For this behavior of mine seemed to erase my previous way of perceiving, and even, my Human Memory, and replaced it all with the workings of the mind of Mustardseed.

Am I becoming a Frog?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chapter 17: A Hop

I must apologize for the recent falling-off of new entries.  I am, however, tied up in quite a long narrative involving my most Smart and Skilled companions, which I have been working on for the past few weeks.

Please rest assured that my Friends are doing fine, and we are as magnanimous as ever.

Mustardseed has been helping me with my writings, and offering many useful insights and perspectives.  He has recently taken an interest in psychology, which we discuss at length, while I sit next to the Dwelling, late into these chilly nights.

Mote has been experimenting with materials within the tank, using them to construct more comfortable places on which to sit.  She has also been teaching Peaseblossom some of the nuances of swimming, and has also shown him a trick or two about hunting, one of which is to stalk the prey like a cat, using stealth and fluid motions.

Peaseblossom has been getting along well, and has shown much promise in his ability to snatch Morsels.  At first he was a bit timid about his companions, but they have since warmed up to each other, and they now complement each other well - Mustardseed provides direction and sagacity, Mote ensures that all the Frogs meet their dietary needs, enhance their skills, and get enough exercise, and Peaseblossom adds a bit of spontaneity, urging the Frogs to play an odd game or climb upon an unconquered plant.

I have poured many of my energies into the creation of my new work - it has been quite an explosion of inspiration.  I do not know how long the work will be, but it has been a great joy to write thus far, primarily because of the inclusion of my amphibious Friends.  The story may end up upon this electric Frog-journal.  In the meantime, I am sorry for any negligence caused by my busy-ness and urge any readers to stay posted, for there is surely more to come, as long as Frogs are Frogs.

Below, I have posted a poem that was inspired by the countenance of Mote, peering at me during the relaxed silence of a Fall evening, while I was working.  It may go at the beginning of my new work.


A Frog-
Belly embracing the ground,
Head tilted, eyes peering at me.
Bent to fit their shape is the reflection of its world:
Wet and Mud and Bugs.

I think of figures, systems, calculations, conjectures,
Potentialities, stratagems, logic-mongering,
The consequences of consequences,
Yet the Frog peers.

May my world be Wetter, Muddier,
And all my empirical efforts be Bugs,
Which, peering at their predictability and their peculiarity,
I gobble, and hop onward.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chapter 16: Tabard

This morning, after waking up to a staunch headache, with the sun hindering my vision, I made myself a bowl of bran cereal and sat next to my Frogs, observing that Mote was next to the log, finishing a Morsel left over from last night's Hour of the Bug, and Mustardseed was swimming about, pausing at places that he could put his hind feet down.

Mustardseed's motley dorsal side glistened with moist, and he exposed his fiery ventral side to the edge of the dwelling, putting his Frog-Feet against the Impossible Barrier.  I lifted the lid to the Dwelling.

Mustardseed put his Frog-Feet against the Impossible Barrier

Remembering Mustardseed's aptitude for writing, words, and concepts, I asked him if his fiery belly had any greater significance, if it said anything about the Frogs that was not an external feature but represented something from within.

Mustardseed said that the bellies of Frogs annunciate a great weapon of Frogs, that is, their Valor.  Often, the brighter and more decorative the belly, the more valorous the Frog.  Mustardseed then told a tale of a Frog named Henry, who was perhaps the most heroic Frog, going unto many breeches and leading many Frogs to victory against a malicious army of snails.  Henry's belly was said to be as bright as the Orb of Day.

I searched and found, in my cobwebbed mind, that I had once learned that the color of Frogs and Toads represented their innate toxicity.  My knowledge told me that the greater the brightness of the Frog, the more dangerous he was, which correlated with Mustardseed's perception of the degree of danger, but not with his perception of the source of that danger.  I sided with Mustardseed's explanation, partly because it was much more satisfying and more helpful for the mind than my officious knowledge, and party because he was himself a Frog.

Mustardseed asked me if there was an example of this sort of display of valor on the bodies of Men.

I said that nature had not made it innate, but that Men had crafted skin displays for themselves.  The best example that I could think of was a medieval tabard, which is put over a knight's armor and shows his allegiance and trumpets his achievements, regardless of his true level of Froggity.  


The purpose of tabards makes a good example, I told Mustardseed, because many types of clothing function in the same way in today's Lily Pad, and, in fact, there are certain events and places which require a certain level of achievement-clothing.  If a Frog did not put on these clothes and airs of achievement while attending events of social significance, he would surely aggravate his social Phobia by attracting endless Looks Of Disapproval.  

Mote apparently heard our conversation: hopping out of her log, frolicking and swimming, she rattled off a rhyme, which is surely from deep within the guts of Frog lore:

Frog-belly bright:
Never in a fight.
Frog-belly dull:
Nervous as a gull.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chapter 15: Owl, Camel, and Rooster

This evening, after discussing with a friend my pent excitement at the coming election, I turned to the Frogs and asked them about their day.

Mote asked why Men need someone to rule them.

Slightly Baffled, and then regaining my composure, I said that Men function much better with a bit of structure in their lives, specifically social structure, so that they have it laid out before them which things are acceptable and which are not.

Mote said that she believes oftentimes Men function much like a swarm of Morsels, hurrying about in a dizzy confusion, and that each Man loses any senses that he contained while in this swarm, making it quite unmanageable and almost purely like a swarm of flies or gnats.

Peaseblossom continued with the topic of the election, saying that the Obama spoke against this type of swarm mentality, encouraging each Man-Morsel to think independently but yet for the Greater Good, so that the swarm of Men functions not quite as well as a Morsel colony,  which would be quite hard indeed, but much better than a Morsel swarm.  

Peaseblossom then said that the McCain tends to function the other way, directing Men into a great and confused swarm, fueling the mess' formation partly through his distribution of fear and partly through a lack of Frogginess on the part of his Followers.

I asked Peaseblossom how he knew this information.  He replied that he had met the two men many times, though separated by an Impossible Barrier.  

Peaseblossom said that he had met the men, though separated by an Impossible Barrier

Peaseblossom also said that he saw through much of what they said, and could tell that the Obama reminded him not of a Frog, but perhaps an owl, which is very close to a Frog in temperament, thought, and hunting methods, which is assuredly a compliment, and that the McCain reminded him more of a Rooster, displaying a sureness that was only rooted in sureness, and not anything related to a Skill, such as Mote's Morsel-snatching prowess or Mustardseed's proficiency with concepts.

I then asked Peaseblossom which animals the secondary candidates were most like and if he thought they would help the primary rulers Direct The Swarm.

Peaseblossom belted out that the Biden was perhaps a camel, sandy and likely to spit, but could be relied on in times of little Wet, and that the Palin is not considered an animal, because she is not an organism, as she does not fulfill three of the seven required phenomena; namely, Growth, Adaptation, or Response To Stimuli.

Frog-brain working, standing with her head high, Mote said that she supports the owl and his camel, rather than the rooster and...

Mote stood with her head high

Mote stuttered, looking for a word.  

Mustardseed added, with a lunar grin:

"...And something very not-Frog."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chapter 14: Phobia

This morning, while drinking juice and enjoying the morning rays, I spotted an insect scratching across the floor.  It looked truly iniquitous, with horns and spikes and ebony coloring, like it was perhaps from the seventh layer of Hell.  I chased it, because I knew that Mote would find great pleasure in eating such a strange find.

Once within my grasp (I handled it with a sheet of my writing journal; I wasn't about to touch it,) I approached the Frog dwelling to put the Morsel in.  With fear and disgust on my face, I found the three Frogs anticipating its arrival, quite Undaunted.

I found the three Frogs quite Undaunted

Round and about they chased it, the Morsel devilish in its abilities to scratch away from the Frogs, until Peaseblossom, by a turn of luck, came within range to Snatch and gulp the Morsel.

Peaseblossom Snatched and gulped the Morsel

After the fray ended, Mustardseed looked up and questioned me.  He asked why I was so afraid of the Morsel, it being so miniscule while I was so gigantic, powerful, and lumbering in comparison.  I replied that it was a Ghastly Fiend, that it looked terrible, and that it would have scared many other Men, and that in fact I was perhaps low in my amount of Phobias in comparison to other Men on this Lily Pad.

Mustardseed then asked me to define Phobia.

Under his disapproving eye, I went to my dictionary.  The Frog asked why I consult That Book so much for the legitimization of my words, and why hadn't I become a little more Frog-like, forging my own path to communication Froggity.

Before reaching Phobia in the dictionary, I briefly looked for Froggity, which I could not find.

To my chagrin, the definition was not quite what I remembered, or at least hoped for.  I read aloud that a Phobia is the distress or embarrassment at having failed or being humiliated.  I then realized that I was looking at the definition of chagrin, and not Phobia.   I excused myself, and promptly read the definition for Phobia, reading that it is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

Mustardseed sat motionless for a minute.  I could see the ramifications sorting in his Mind.

The Frog said that he now saw what the word meant.  He thought neither definition did it justice, but perhaps the combination of the two could point to the true meaning of the word, for nothing Men do is without constant fretting about the acceptance of other Men, who may be halfway across the globe, or yet to come, or even long dead, and that surely this social arena is the only place where Phobias truly harm Men, because of each Man's Phobia of being perceived to have a Phobia, which is much stronger than the man's original Phobia.

I was about to tell him that those were in fact two separate definitions of two separate words, when he interrupted and asked me about my Phobias, which ones I had or perhaps which I had conquered since meeting the Frogs, except for of course my social Phobia, which I would Do Well To Discard.

I said that I had a small Phobia for strange and slithering insects, though I could pick them up with Not-Me objects, and also a fear of Heights, called Acrophobia, which has been identified, classified, and catalogued in Man's great Bank Of Fears, which is perhaps the most organized and well-kept Bank Of Knowledge in Existence. 

I looked to the other side of the Dwelling and glimpsed Peaseblossom, who was throwing all of my peculiarities at me, with bravery and spryness, by climbing high onto the Dwelling's walls, the Fiendish Morsel still wriggling in his Frog belly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chapter 13: Peaseblossom

For the past few days, Mote and Mustardseed, upon seeing me, reminded me of my promise to provide a Morsel that was as delicious as cake for their birthday.  

On the evening of the 19th, I brought with great anticipation a present home to Mote and Mustardseed.  Upon returning, I found my friends at the edge of their Dwelling, pent with anticipation at what treat I had chosen for them.

I reached into the box and snatched it.

Up went their heads.  Out came my hand, closed.

Frog-feet tensed.  Eyes scanned.  

I could feel it squirming.  I lowered the present into the Dwelling.  I let go.

Frog-fast, my friends lunged and battled over the Morsel, wrenching and writhing, like Achilles and Hector.

The Morsel made a noise.  The Frogs froze.

It tastes like Me, said Mustardseed with a full mouth.

It seems awfully Big, said Mote, lolling her words.

The Morsel croaked.  The Frogs looked at each other.  They let it slide out of their locked maws.

Out came a small Frog, clay-colored and spry, with two green spots on his back that looked like epaulets.  He looked left, and then right, and then said that his name was Peaseblossom, and he demanded to know what was going on.

Peaseblossom demanded to know what was going on

Mote looked at me with incredulity.  She had been looking forward to Morsels.

I said that this was the best kind of gift, and that birthdays were in actuality about all of the people who know the person who is becoming a Fuller Frog, and that a Frog without friends is certainly not becoming Fuller.  I said that I had learned this recently, and that this was my motivation for providing them with a new friend. 

Looking at me, Mustardsaid said that the Dwelling seemed a little Crowded.

Mustardseed said that the Dwelling seemed a little Crowded

Mote seemed agitated, but summoned some words.  She hopped over to Peaseblossom and said that she was glad to meet him, and that her name was Mote.

Mote said that her name was Mote

At that moment, I opened a large bag over the opening of the Dwelling, in an effort to give the three companions something.

Peaseblossom's jaw dropped.  Mustardseed smiled.  Small insects fell from the bag, as many as there are stars in the heavens.  Awed and inspired, Mote's mouth moved with precision, singing:

My Haiku, my Haiku,
My Haiku is coming true!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chapter 12: Armor

While reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to my Frog friends today, Mote did a quarter-turn, looked at me, and asked me to pause in my reading.  I obliged.

Mote said that she was particularly curious about the passage that described the Armor of the green knight, and its function, and also if there was any coincidence between the knight being green and most Frogs being green.

I replied that Armor was used by knights as a kind of defense against the blows other knights and monsters, like Polyphemus, and that any knight that wished to live to see the next Morsel must wear armor to insulate himself from the wear and tear of battle.  I said that the armor being green was perhaps simply a coincidence, but I doubted not that Frogs had Thick Skin, which is a great compliment among Men, and that Frogs must be proud of their strength, toughness, and sturdy insulation.

Alarmed, Mustardseed raised himself onto a lily pad and said, peering at me, that I was wholly incorrect about the skin of Frogs and that, in fact, it is very thin and porous, as to allow the Frog to use the wet to breathe, and also so that the Frog can stay attuned to the alchemy of the wet.  He went on to say that Thick Skin was also a term among Frogs, but was in fact a strong insult, implying that the Frog was Insensitive, a dire term, tabooed under almost all circumstances, because Frogs value their sensitivity above all else, and also, why don't Men boast about their Sensitivity.

I was Baffled, and looked at Mustardseed for recompense, but my request was returned with a stern gaze and fiery belly.

Interjecting, Mote said that, indeed, Frogs are the tools of measurement for the purity and cleanliness of the Lily Pad, and that many places, polluted by chemicals created solely by the insensitivity of Man, were running very low on Frogs because of the Frogs' sensitivity.

Mote said that many places were running very low on Frogs

Looking at the thick skin on my arms, and seeing their argument, I apologized to the Frogs for calling them thick-skinned, and said that perhaps knights and Men would learn something by shedding their Armor, which helps against the severity of the world, but perhaps has too many Side-Effects.

Mote and Mustardseed smiled, extended their Frog-feet, and said that I was a good Frog to have around, and would I please change their water, as its stagnant alchemy was starting to irritate their Thin Skin.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chapter 11: Paradise

This evening, I read Paradise Lost to my Frog friends.  During the animated discussion of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Mustardseed asked why the Lord created the two humans.

Baffled, I stumbled for an answer.  Fortunately, Mustardseed continued.

The Frog said that the whole situation reminded him, in fact, of he and Mote in their dwelling, a green garden with plenty of delights, yet contained in an strange and curious way.  He pointed out that the similarities ran deep, with a creator and two spawns, except for the point that the Frogs were on equal footing to me (their "creator") in regard to knowledge and perception of the Lily Pad.

I applauded him on his literary acuity.

Mustardseed turned away from me, toward the inside of the Dwelling, and asked, furtively, why I decided to take he and Mote home with me.

Mustardseed asked why I decided to take he and Mote home with me.

I looked, mind searching for an answer, at Mustardseed, and in this interval learned Something New about the Frog.

Thinking and stumbling for a few moments, and then finally achieving clarity, I said that I was perhaps not a complete Frog, one that loves the words in books but cannot draw quite enough warmth from their papery pages.  I also stated that I felt that the papery pages that I create were an extension of myself, but were, alas, just papery pages and that I needed a sentient and animate friend to continue the extension of myself that the pages started, an avatar or two that continued myself through their being and not just their saying.  That, perhaps, I wanted them to be me, but without myself directing their actions, so that they might suggest things to me, about myself, that I had not considered.

Mote gawked at me, Frog-brows raised.

Mustardseed said that he did not know of this limit on writing and the papery pages, and that, being a journeyman writer, he was glad to know that he was provided for, as far as being company goes.

The three of us remained silent for a moment, each enveloped in our own thoughts.

Mote added, finally, that perhaps my reason for wanting Frogs was also the Lord's reason, in Paradise Lost.

I was about to elaborate on this interesting and rare point from Mote, when I was interrupted.

Blurting, eager, Mustardseed said that the Lord would have had less trouble corralling the Frogs from certain Trees and Fruits.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chapter 10: Birthday

Today, while talking casually with my Frogs over some milk and biscuits, I lightheartedly brought up that this was the month of my birth, and that I was with expectation looking forward to the celebration of my Birthday with my family and friends.

Mustardseed raised his head and asked if I was discussing something relating to the concept of Time.

I replied that I was, but that this was perhaps the most delightful part of Time, seeing oneself become a Fuller Frog, alongside his friends and family, and also eating a cake, a Morsel for Men.

Mustardseed immediately became interested, and wondered at the date of his birthday, since the development of Frogs has many stages, from egg to fertilized egg to tadpole and on to froglet and Frog.  He said that perhaps this whole endeavor should be celebrated, like a religious or holy holiday, when not one small event is celebrated but instead a long and continuous period, punctuated by Morsels.

I asked them what period or season their birthday Advent took place.  Neither Frog knew.

Trying to narrow down possible seasons, I asked them if they had seen snow or ice.  Neither Frog had a concept for these.

I asked them if they knew anything at all that could be used to measure the Time that had passed since their coming into this world.

Annoyed, Mote voiced her opinion about Time, and about its absurdity, both in its anti-function on this Lily Pad and the possibility of such a thing Existing.  

After saying this, she paused, looking into my eyes and empathized, and then said that maybe a certain Fact would assist my calculation.  Glancing quickly toward and away from Mustardseed, she said that she had eaten, in her time, one hundred and thirty-two Morsels.

Mote said that she had eaten one hundred and thirty-two Morsels

Mustardseed added that he had eaten one hundred and seventeen, and two other unidentified Things, which he was not sure counted to his Total.

Baffled, I decided that I did not know when their Birthdays were, or if they should be celebrated as long periods or as single events, and decided that I should propose something to them.  I told the Frogs that since the length of their birthdays was disputable, and that the exact day of their birth was unknown, perhaps we should pick an arbitrary date and give it special meaning simply by calling it special, and celebrate their births on that certain and special day. 

Mustardseed said that it sounded a lot like Assimilation into the culture of Man, and reaffirmed that he was never going to fall into our Time-Trap.  But he said that Frogs were ever trying to Bridge The Gap, for the good of the Frog, and perhaps also for the good of other Froglike Men.  He said that he liked this idea, and asked what I could do to secure a Morsel for the Frogs that was as delicious as a cake, which sounds so much like Cricket.

And after waiting a moment, thinking, and quarter-turning, Mustardseed asked, with Frog in his eye, which day during this month should be made their Birthday.

I proposed that it should be the nineteenth, which is the same day as my Birthday.

Smartly and aptly, Mustardseed agreed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chapter 9: Rage

Achilles and Hector

Rage.  Of rage I sing, and of Achilles and Hector, who purvey its destruction.

The tension expanded to fill the Dwelling.  The combatants stood opposite each other, stances wide for stability, Frog-ready, bellies arched to reveal flaming skin.

The air was aquarium-humid, a stifling combination of heat and Wet.  Achilles and Hector circled each other, each waiting for their opponent to misstep or falter.  

A stillness came upon the scene.  Wet trickled slowly out of the filter.  The plants stood still.  Achilles hesitated.  Hector spied an opportunity.

A Bound sent Hector through the air, ambitious in the moment, Frog-bent on victory.  Big Achilles met Hector, with a staunch hop, grappling him mid-air and sending the heroes tumbling into depths of toil and wet.

They tumbled, a hurly-burly of Rage, fire, and skill.  Belly-to-belly, an even fight, they exchanged pointed and planned blows, each working a strategy to fell the other.

Advantage passed from one to the other, and back.  Heads against Tails, Cold against Heat, Fire against Water,  Diablo versus Satan--these were the only comparisons for the fight--the warriors were evenly matched as any in the dusty books of history.  

Up onto the log the battle went, to the pinnacle of the Dwelling, Glory shining from each stroke of the exchange.

Victory.  That indecisive and fickle word.  That Clever Cricket, that evasive Morsel of Fate and Chance, persisted in its fleetingness as much in this fight as ever before.  With each Snatch, Lunge, and Smack, Victory danced, a drunken fairy, fleet-footed and evasive, favoring first Hector and then Achilles, and finally coming to rest...

A misstep, a minor miscalculation, was the Opening of Pandora's Box.  Hector, master of the spear and the sword, lost his balance for the briefest of briefs, a Frog-foot dangling off the edge of the log.

Achilles, The Runner, Gluttonous for Glory, exploited this providence.  Throwing his weight Full-Frog at Hector, he grasped for Frog and Glory.

Slime.  That other word, that thing which is on every Frog, chaos-inspiring and slippery, had a death-grip on the Wheel of Fate.  Like Achilles' coating of water from the river Styx, Hector's Frog-Slime brought him victory and fame.  As Achilles grasped for Hector, Slime threw the wheel of Fate, spinning it round, so that Hector was at the golden zenith and Achilles suddenly at the Depths of Despair.

And so Mustardseed's hands slipped, and he fell Full-Frog off the log, into Wet and sham`ed defeat.

Mote stood, Imperious and Victorious upon the log, and ribbited a Yawp, resounding through the Dwelling and Beyond. 

Such was one of many games played today, by my Friends.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chapter 8: Room

Today, over a glass of orange juice, Mustardseed asked me about Writing, and in particular how to Become Motivated to write.  

I said that it was often hard, because sometimes such Grand Events as the Battle of Achilles and Hector or the Ride of Apollo won't inspire one Word, and sometimes fail so much as to instead Despire.  I also said that the Gods are sometimes cruel, granting a great beam of inspiration while the Writer is not possibly able to write, and also sometimes when the Writer is ready and situated for writing, they will suck him Bone Dry.

Mustardseed did a quarter turn, looking into the expanse of his Dwelling, and said that he had not heard of these events, but he knew what I was Getting At.

I also said that occasionally it is very easy, and that a small Mote or speck of a thing will inspire Volumes.  For instance, I had derived great inspiration from two small and very Versatile creatures.  I went on to say that a Frog must have a certain calmness, with space sufficient for the mind to wander: the more space, the further away the mind can get.  This space also allows for a Clear Prose and an Inventive Spirit.

Mustardseed looked through his tubular log, as if it were a spyglass through which he perceived his Dwelling.  

Mustardseed looked through his tubular log

Or perhaps he was seeing the Lily Pad of Man beyond, or perhaps even further than that, while his feet perched in the calm water behind his humble figure and magnanimous visage.  I thought that I saw a Twinkle in his eye, and he said, very cryptically to me, that Perhaps there is Room Enough.

Mustardseed said that Perhaps there is Room Enough

I was a bit unnerved by the Frog's impetuosity.  He looked so self-assured that for a moment I thought myself under his influence, my body in a Dwelling, with Mustardseed the Keeper.  I also thought briefly that I should perhaps obtain a larger Dwelling for the Frogs, but it occurred to me that this was perhaps not what Mustardseed was Getting At.

With an innocuous smile and a Frog-foot lifted to invite my embrace, he said he would like to compose a message or possibly another Haiku to my Friends, whom he sees from inside his Dwelling.

Reassured, I reached to him, saying that I would be pleased to Extend his Words Beyond the Lily Pad.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chapter 7: Time

When I arrived home from a Frog Lecture this evening, I found my Two Familiar Friends waiting for me, intently peering out of their Dwelling, looking as if they had a question or perhaps an observation.  I sauntered to their Dwelling and made myself comfortable, lifting their lid.

Mote quickly began by saying that she and Mustardseed had heard me often refer to Time, as in my discussion about Writing, and how it reaches to other Frogs and Men through the expanses of Time.  She said that she could not move herself to see the idea with her mind, and was curious as to What I Meant.

After much thought about how to present the idea of Time to my Frogs, I started by saying that Time is a form of measurement, or a Way of Knowing.  After Doing Some Research, I said it is the indefinite and continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, or future, regarded as a whole and continuous Thing.

Mote said that this explanation Did Not Help.  

Slightly frustrated, and a bit incredulous, (for what I gave them was straight from a Dictionary) I thought of an analogy for the Frogs.  An excellent idea came to mind.  

I said that since Frogs must always stay Moist, to keep their skin Liberated, they must, at regular intervals, Bask in Wet.  And in between these Basks, there is an interval, a longness, a period, during which their skin becomes dry, forcing them back into the Wet.  This longness is called Time, which Makes Things Happen, and punctuates Events, and measures out the day, driving the world of Frogs and Men.

Both Mote and Mustardseed said that my example was interesting, and stimulating for the mind, but was a Bit Absurd, and that the idea sounded Impossible.  Quite like traveling faster than the Speed of Light, Mustardseed said.

Or of the Reaching of Absolute Zero, added Mote.

Or of Dividing By Zero, said Mustardseed.

Or even the Concept of having Zero of Something, again said Mote.

For a moment, I looked between the Frogs, hunting for the sign of a Joke or Prank--a stray glance or crass snicker.  I found neither.  The Frogs were adamant.

I went on to say that Time is surely possible and most definitely a vital factor in the Lily Pad and the Universe, that they would do well to Conceive of it, and that the only Place (if it could be called a place) where Time may not exist is Beyond A Black Hole.

Mote lifted her head emphatically and said that Perhaps Frogs were Beyond The Black Hole.

Mote said that Perhaps Frogs were Beyond The Black Hole

Frustrated, I gave up, and cooked myself dinner, using clocks and many ways of Timing to make my meal.  I am convinced that the Frogs simply cannot wrap their minds around the idea of Time, and I am anxiously curious how they make sense of the events, memories, and Frogs of their lives, without a narrative mechanism such as Time to keep an order to it all.  Perhaps theirs is a different method, for any other explanation would be Ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chapter 6: A Rare Frog

This afternoon, while eating a large and mediocre lunch, much like a Cow with his Cud, I peered into my Frogs' dwelling, hoping to obtain some Distraction.

Mustardseed was making his weekly rounds, ensuring that the Impossible Barriers Persisted Yet.

His Rare and Unique weekly practice reminded me of a Thing I'd Heard today, that in a place called Costa Rica, a Rare Frog had been found, which was the first to be found of its kind in twenty years.  I told this to my companions, asking what they thought about so rare a Frog Find.

With only tertiary and fleeting comments, the Frogs continued with their tasks, Mote Gazing and Digesting and Mustardseed testing another Impossible Barrier, stretching his long Hind Legs and flailing his Wee Front Legs, belly-out against the Glass.

So again I engaged them, this time asking if they thought that they were themselves Rare Frogs. 

Mote crouched, at an incline, upon a Stone in the tank.  I saw her Thinking.

Mustardseed approached closer, put one Frog-Foot upon the stone, and said that he did not Believe So, because he remembers many other Frogs, from the place of his Conception, that looked very similar to him, but were perhaps of a slightly different Pattern or color.

Mustardseed said that he did not Believe So

To this, I replied that this was true, and that, however, he was a very Smart Frog, knowing More Than He Thought He Knew about the world, and that this was sure to Set Him Apart, especially among Frogs, who spend most of their time thinking about Other Things.

Mustardseed said that he Liked That, but was not sure that A Smart Frog constitutes a Rare Frog, because there are many Frogs who know many things, like the Ins-And-Outs of Bugs, such as Mote knows, and almost Certainly others who have Mastered the Alchemy of Moistness.  

Without delay, he asked me if I were a Rare Man.

I was immediately Baffled, and stumbled about with my words, eventually saying that No, I was Not, and that Rare men tend to be Famous, or Well-Seen, or Well-Remembered across the Lily Pad.

To this, Mustardseed blinked, touching his Frog-Toes together, side-to-side, down his Fore-Foot, as a cascade, which has become his recent Habit.  He did this on both Fore-Feet, one after another.

Mustardseed said that he was not sure about this Either, and that surely some Rare Men had been forgotten, or were simply Shy Men of whom few took account.  Stumbling with words, but stating Earnestly enough, he went on to say that The Bug Web of Rare Men was perhaps Wider than we Think, and cited as an example my Accident in not mentioning the Rarity of a Frog like Mote.

Mote climbed into the Water, and, remembering Mustardseed's previous comment about Mastering Moistness, said that she would like to Chance It.

I finished my Cud, feeling very much like a Cow among many other Cows, all chewing their Cud, except perhaps that This Cow knew Two Frogs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chapter 5: Mote's Advice


Arriving home with a new batch of crickets, I found Mote and Mustardseed against the glass of their Dwelling, expecting my return with The Crunchy Morsels.  

I opened the bag, and dumped four unfortunate souls into the dwelling, and watched as they were gobbled up with Alacrity.  Mote was especially skilled at Snatching, and consumed three crickets, while Mustardseed only managed a single cricket, the smallest and slowest of the bunch.

At this moment, I decided to fix a rather Sensitive Problem, one that I had been Brooding over for a time, a problem that I must elucidate with great care, and Strategy, as to not upset Mustardseed, who was now perhaps placated slightly by Morsels.

Of late, I have become concerned with Mustardseed's Continuous yet Mild failure at obtaining his share of Bugs.  Though Mustardseed excels with Concepts, Comprehension, and Creativity, he is a rather Frail Frog, plagued by what I perceive as Hunting Anxiety and Hasty Lunges.  

I praised Mote, as she sat, fat-happy on the log, in her abilities at Hunting.  She always gets the cricket on the first Lunge, I said, and though each previously consumed cricket weighs her down, she still manages to gobble many Crickets while under this burden.  How does she do this, I asked, and looked toward Mustardseed, for whom I was fetching this Advice.

Mote pushed her eyes downward, toward her throat (to help swallow her last Prize) and smiled a large smile.  Her finest cricket catches jumped across her mind: the from-under-water Shark-like nab, the Over-the-log-catch-and-flip grab, and the Herculean Jump Catch, the Prized Snatch of the Lily Pad.

The Moistness on Mote enhanced her vibrant green skin.  Mote began by saying that Hunting is not quite as much a Hunt as it is a Way.  She said that a Frog must not Fret, but must Let The Bug-Mind Go, and that one would do better to feel what the bug will do next, instead of think what he will do.

Mote said that a Frog must not Fret

A Bolt of inspiration came to me at this moment, as I realized too, that, while creating characters, plots, or settings, a Writer must not create, he must instead channel his topic, as if it were speaking to him Directly, Unobstructed by the writer's mind, knowledge, and experience.  At the same time a Counter-current of thought came to me, saying that yet surely his topic is Shaped by these factors from his life, to an extent which is Positively Incomprehensible. 

From these advisory lines from Mote, I also pondered about her Mind, remembering her disjointed and rambling Haiku, yet contemplating her Aptitude in Strange but Endearing Things.

Mustardseed moved slowly toward us, his eyes squinted in thought.  He said that he would Try, and attempt to Forget Himself while Hunting, and hinted that he is a rather Nervous or perhaps Fidgety Frog, when it comes to Jumping and Snatching, and that he may sometimes be very dependent on his Inner Monologue to carry him, and that he should perhaps Buoy Up.

Mustardseed squinted his eyes in thought

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chapter 4: The Two-Thing


As I awoke this morning to a beautiful Fall day, I tiredly wandered over to the Frog dwelling, to see if they were yet awake, and if so, if I could Visit with them over a bowl of bran cereal.  

I immediately noticed a Peculiarity, for while Mote was in a typical position behind the Log, Mustardseed was in the Deep End of the tank, completely submerged, grasping the bottom-rocks of the Dwelling, looking very Wet and Winded, and surely Out of his Mind, or possibly even unconscious or Dead, death-gripped to an unfortunate Rock of the Deep.

In haste, I opened the lid to the dwelling and shot my hand into the water, in an effort to discover if my newly-found Friend, Companion, and Poet, suffered a Watery End, perhaps because Odysseus the Bug was poisonous, or possibly because of my Negligence and Ignorance of his Bodily Needs as a Frog.  

Up squirmed Mustardseed, clumsy and tired.  He squirted water out of his mouth upon reaching the surface, and looked at me in annoyance.  I expressed my worries, and asked what he could Possibly be doing down there, looking so Dead and out of Breath.

Mustardseed hopped onto the dwelling's log, and said that he was merely taking a Nap, and the best kind of nap, the Submerged kind, where Frogs may clutch a Favorite Rock and fall asleep to the sweet sounds of Water, all the while taking in Breath from the water through the Skin.

I was taken aback, and immediately asked Mote if this water-breathing was true with all Frogs, or if Mustardseed was pulling my Hind Leg.  

She replied that Yes, Frogs can breathe with either Nothing-air or Water-air, or both at the Same Time, if they chose, and in fact, many Frog-pursuits require both abilities.  She said that she enjoys very much the feeling of Wet, and that she doubts Man has a similar feeling for it, and asked Mustardseed if there was something comparable, again stating that she was Skeptical of the Possiblity.

Mustardseed and Mote

Mustardseed preached that Frogs love always to be Wet, and that Wet feels a bit like Liberty, though he is not Completely Sure about that, and that Wet gives extra Breath to the Supreme Hunters or the Supreme Lovers, whichever Frogs choose to be at the moment, for they are very Versatile.  Mustardseed said that there was a word that meant a Two-Thing, another word for Versatile, a Word which he did not know at the moment, but that there was a very Appropriate word, that gets at the Core of what Frogs are, and perhaps what Man is.  I ran my mind over Two-Things, and I drilled him in vocabulary, asking about Double, Duality, or Dichotomous, but he rejected these, his morning-Frog voice saying that he thought it began with a Vowel, but he could not For Frog's Sake remember the word that is at the Core of All Frogs and thus All Things.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chapter 3: Odysseus

Sitting around the table, enjoying a competitive game of Settlers of Catan, a quick-acting friend trapped a small beetle under a bottle cap.  The obvious question of What To Do Next came to my friends, whether to face the fiend or let it sweat it out in the metallic dome.  Being from the Lily Pad, I am always questing for which insects would Make Life Interesting for Mote, or any that might stir Mustardseed out of his recent Mood of Aloofness.  I hopped to, freeing the bug from the metallic prison and keeping him solidly in my hand.  It came to me that the beetle must think me a great big Oaf, perhaps like Polyphemus.  And so I shall call the bug Odysseus, the Greek who was known for his wiles.


Because of the beetle's ability to fly, in an attempt to ensure its delivery, I hurled it, Heavy-Handed and ogre-like, into the Coliseum, the Feeding Pits, the Frog Tank--a nibblet of Beetle Rangoon--sure to tempt the laziest of frogs.

Mote and Mustardseed immediately went on the alert.  The beetle's fate was maligned from the beginning by my excessive throw--he struggled in the toxin-water of the frog beasts, squirming for a piece of Something, Anything.  It reminded my Ogre-mind of my frustration at Odysseus, and my attempt to hurl rocks at him during his escape from my island, after burning my eye to impotency and sneaking out under the fleece of sheep.

Polyphemus and Odysseus

The beetle had the Hero's Resolve, and found a piece of log on which he could climb.  Desperately, he struggled onto its Apex, and pitifully, like a Drowned Rat, into the striking range of Mote the Hunter.

Mote lunged, a Hungry-Hippo lunge, full of vigor and stomach, frog-straight for Odysseus.  But the Hero's luck saved him--a portion of bark blocked Mote's maw, giving Odysseus enough time to Jump for his Life, Casting the Die, Spinning the Wheel of Fate as he chanced another portion of the tank.

Fleet-Footed Mustardseed, Searcher for the Way out of the Aquarium, Devourer of One-Legged Crickets, made true his titles.  With a Chomp and then a Gulp, he Devoured Odysseus, whose luck had Ceased To Be.  It was an Unnerving sight, a Hero of the War, a Slayer of Scilla and Blinder of the Ogre, so quickly gobbled up, unable to make his peace or acknowledge his Doom, except perhaps whilst in the gut of the Frog.

I have recounted this story to Mote and Mustardseed, to swell their pride.  The Frogs, however, had few enthusiastic words in reply.  Mote urged me to finish my story, and asked about the next Hour of the Bug.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chapter 2: Haiku

This evening, while sitting at my desk, enjoying a draw of ale, and Writing away at my Notepad, Mustardseed snatched my attention.  He was Full-Frog against the glass of his Dwelling, Fire-Alabaster belly forward, beckoning attention.

He expressed his growing curiosity in what I was doing with my Long Stick.  I said that I was Writing, and that it was a special Stick, a Tool.  He tilted in confusion at my sentence, and asked what one does when he Writes.  My Head swelled with explanations, and I voiced (after inadequate thought) that there are many things one could be doing when he Writes, and that I was in the process of creating ideas, and putting them down in a sort of memory, but rather than the usual Frog or Man memory, a memory that Stretched Through Time, reaching other Frogs and Men, perhaps inspiring them to Great Deeds, or Small But Good Deeds, or perhaps lightening their Load on this Lily Pad.

Mustardseed sat sedentary for a few moments, and Mote glided (she is quite the swimmer) to join us.  Mustardseed expressed interest in Attempting Writing, though he could not Hold the Stick.  Mote voiced, glancing around, that she would like to Try As Well.  

I told the frogs that I could Write for them, if they could Dictate to me what they would like to be Written.  Mustardseed agreed, raising his head and showing his belly.

He then voiced that he knew not how to Structure the Words to be Written, and that surely I spend entire nights debating Which Sounds go Where, and the Structure of my Texts, and Topics in general, and that the whole Endeavor seemed to be a tangled Bug Web of possibilities and Frustration.

To Direct the Overwhelmed Frog, I suggested a Haiku, which consists of a five-syllable line, followed by a seven-syllable, and completed by another five-syllable line.  I also suggested to the Frogs that they Write about what Interests them, and that Writing should come from the Heart, or somewhere Far Inside them, for it is hard to Know what one does not Contain.  Mote Said that she often Contains Crickets; they would be A Good Topic.

After adjusting his position on a rock, and unblinkingly gazing around, Mustardseed Announced his Haiku with Precision, and a Staccato Style, emphasized by his voluminous Frog Tongue:

Open lid I see- (by this he meant the lid to his Dwelling)
O, How should I become free?
A Frog torn by Love.

Up went my eyebrows, and I almost replied, when Mote blurted, with loud voice and forgotten tempo:

Open lid I see- 
Rain down endless crickets!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I am Fiddling with a new type of way to Present the Frogs.  This is a rudimentary edition, a Snippet of what may come in future chapters.

Mote pursues crickets and succeeds in a Snatch.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Part 1: Salad Days. Chapter 1: Catching Crickets

Recently, at the Lily Pad, there has been a rise in the population of Crickets.  I believe it is the Lowering of the Outside Temperature, driving the Morsels in.

They are not stealthy creatures, and I spot them easily.  As they walk across the floor, Mote and Mustardseed look longingly at them with their bulgy frog eyes, one frogfoot propped against the glass.  Mote especially hungers for them, for they are Harder to Catch, and Make Life Interesting.

As Mote and Mustardseed are confined, I am obliged to "Eat and then Let Loose" the cricket.  Mote and Mustardseed call it this because they are simple creatures, and have no concept of why I would Chase Crickets Around, with no Intention Of Eating Them.  Cornering a Cricket can be Difficult for the Beginner, but once realized that they Jump at Anything, they can be easily Snatched Up after Feigning a Lunge.  I promptly free the cricket (despite Scratchy Squirms) into the frog home.  Mote chases the cricket while it crawls over the plants, walls, floor, and Mustardseed.

They are of a black variety and have been so numerous of late that I have put them with the other crickets, those in my Cricket Carrier, because Mustardseed and Mote must have Time to Process The Buggers.  There they remain, Hopping at the Clear Walls, until their Doom, or The Hour of The Bug, as Mote says.


So begins the narrative of Mote and Mustardseed:

The New Owner (yours truly) of the Lily Pad has two new friends:

Mote and Mustardseed.

Escorting their moistnesses to my home, I looked with optimism at what we could accomplish together.  Us, comrades!  We, Band of Brothers!  We will hop mildly when this day is named!  May they survive the morrow!

I have chosen as my new friends fine Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads.  Most toads, in actuality, are frogs.  They are given the title "toad" for an arbitrary reason, one which the frogs neither understand nor approve.  More colorful and hardy than their European Fire-Bellied friends, these graceful creatures live for up to twelve years, feeding on mostly crickets.  I have heard that they are not picky; they will with great politeness consume most objects smaller than their heads.  The shopkeeper warned me that - though if you were to tell these frogs this, they would surely croak - the Purchaser must purchase gravel much larger than the heads of the frogs.

I have learned much about these frogs before my trip to the store.  They are slightly toxic, like many other frogs.  This toxicity flies in the face of their magnanimous demeanor, for, I assure you, Mustardseed has been a Prince since he arrived.  I have also learned that frogs do not Have Feelings, nor many thoughts at all, excluding their incessant drive for "wet" and "bug".

I have spent a handsome $100.14 on the frogs thus far.  Unfortunately, I was pressed to buy a new lamp for them, as theirs was "the wrong kind."  With the coin spent on this lamp, I could have purchased seven additional frogs.  Here is the equipment that I started with:

Upon entering their new home, Mustardseed gallantly attempted escape.  This was contrasted by Mote's innate inactivity and toadly expression.  At this moment, their names stuck.  Mote was performing grand quarter-turns (quite like the hour hand of a clock) while Mustardseed climbed over him in order to reach a different transparent wall.  If the reader is not familiar with these names, they are the names of fairies from W. Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.  

I sincerely hope that the frogs live until tomorrow or at least until I get to feed them a chirping cricket.  Mustardseed is on the left and Mote is on the right.