Although it’s about giants—actually, one giant in particular—this is a small story. There are only a few lives in it and it doesn’t travel very far in time or space. It’s not an epic or an adventure—or at least not a very adventuresome adventure. Perhaps I should mention here that giants, as opposed to unusually large human beings, are not real, so I suppose you could call this a fantasy—but again, not a very fantastical fantasy. Sometimes I worry that the story is more about me than her. Sometimes I then remember that she’s not real so maybe it’s a sign of mental health that I’d rather write about me than about an imaginary entity. This is the kind of thing writers spend all day thinking about instead of writing.
always the flower
and never the pollen
Begin at the beginning: She was born. I don’t know how big giant babies are. I would like to see one but I never will because she’s the last one. How do you know? Well, that was what she told me, and anyway don’t you think we would know somehow, we would feel it, if there were more somewhere? I have to say that it feels more and more, to me, like giants have pretty much gone out of the world.
the last egg saved for target practice
When she was born I was much younger, of course, and not in any mood to believe in giants. I wonder sometimes what I would have done if she had come stomping down my road then. I wonder what I would have done about a lot of things then. Why is it, do you think, that we’re so convinced we’re the same people from day to day, from year to year, when we’re so changeable, so fickle?
inhaling the sparrow’s warble
Here’s one day she told me about, from when she was very small: maybe the first day she remembered. A fall day, full of warm colors that contradicted the chill in the air. A year when the harvest, the hunt, had gone well and they ate, and drank, and ate, and sang, and ate, and danced, and ate, and played games, showing off: tossing boulders, lifting fallen trees. She was beside herself with excitement and finally fell asleep in the early evening, and woke again sometime later in the night, but before the adults had gone to sleep. They were all gathered around a fire, leaning against each other comfortably, frank with drink and telling all the most scandalous and outrageous stories they knew, and she listened with increasing understanding for hours. In the morning she felt shy with her new knowledge and maturity, not realizing yet that no one could see inside her head and know her thoughts. Stories only change you on the inside.
first day of Advent I write the end