Books: book of a thousand days
  From first to final

As always, this book went through many drafts before I found the words and story I wanted to tell. Hereís the original first page. This didnít work because the story wasnít immediate. I wanted to hear what was going on in the moment, feel what Dashti was feeling. This account was too remote, too staid. Although I started the story in the same place and kept many of the lines or similar lines and many of the ideas, I think the feeling of the it completely changed.


[draft 1]
Day One

We are shut up in a tower for seven years.

The lady is moaning and thrashing about on her bed. I do not know what to do for her, having no fresh cowpies at hand or something strong smelling as to scare the misery out of her. It is a dismal scene indeed, but I cannot see the help in thrashing. These nobles must be made of more delicate stuff than worker stock. Poor lady. I tried to pour seed oil up her nostril to ease the tension, but she would have none of it, so I sit to writing instead.

I do not know much of my new mistress being in her service just two days. I am only come to the city one year. My mother, a widow, died from the floating fevers that plague folk by the river any summer. The last of my brothers left to make his world way when I was a girl of eight and still in two braids. I am fourteen now and wear one braid, though still long down my back. The lady wears her braid pinned up, though I think she be but my age plus one or two. I suppose the ways of the city are different than what I know, or she has the right to wear her hair up early being the daughter of a lord. Bless her soul.

With my blessed mother risen to the palace of the gods, I made my way to the city to find work, as all worker stock seem to do eventually. I always knew I would make the walk someday. My mother says you do not know when today is here until the sun goes down.


[final draft]
Day 1

My lady and I are being shut up in a tower for seven years.

Lady Saren is sitting on the floor, staring at the wall, and hasnít moved even to scratch for an hour or more. Poor thing. Itís a shame I donít have fresh yak dung or anything strong-smelling to scare the misery out of her.

The men are bricking up the door, and I hear them muttering and scraping cement. Only a small square of unbricked sky and light still gape at me. I smile back at its mean grin to show Iím not scared. Isnít it something, all the trouble theyíre going to for us? I feel like a jewel in a treasure box, though my lady is theó

My lady suddenly awoke from her stupor and sprang at the door, clawing at the bricks, trying to shove her way out. How she screamed! Like an angry piglet.

ďStay in!Ē we heard her honored father say. He must have been standing near the opening. ďStay until your heart softens like long-boiled potatoes. And if you try to break your way out, Iíve told the guards to kill you on sight. You have seven years to think about disobedience. Until you are meek with regret, your face turns my stomach.Ē

I nearly warned him that such words would bring him bad luck and canker his own heart. Thank the Ancestors that my ladyís fit stopped me from speaking out of turn. When I pulled her back, her hands were red from beating at the bricks and streaked with wet cement. This isnít exactly a happy-celebration morning, but I donít see what good it does to thrash about.



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