Did you think I made a typo in the title of this blog post? Aren’t you precious.
Nope. Monday Moonday. Monday, the day of the moon. Once upon a time, when I was a university tutor and spent my time teaching classes on the masterpieces of medieval literature, one of the texts I particularly loved to delve into was Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (some of you may be more familiar with Shakespeare’s far later and less awesome version, Troilus and Cressida). At one point in Chaucer’s very long poem, Criseyde – the female lead, in case you hadn’t guessed – swears by the goddess Cynthia that she is steady, dependable and trustworthy, and that she will keep her word to Troilus, who wants to run away with her and get married. Naaw. Sweet, isn’t it?
Only, if you were a medieval person, your antennae would be springing up at the mention of the word ‘Cynthia’, because Cynthia’s another name for the goddess of the moon. And what does the moon do? Well. It can’t be relied upon to stay the same, can it? So, swearing upon the goddess of the moon that you will never change, that you will remain steadfast and loyal, basically means your vow is invalid. A medieval reader or listener would have guessed this straight away, but poor old Troilus – ah. Perhaps love muffled his ears, or perhaps he just didn’t have his brain switched on, or perhaps – could it be? – he was a little bit dim. For whatever reason, he misses the hint.
Spoiler alert: Criseyde doesn’t remain faithful to her word. Cue misery, death, &c.
But none of that was the moon’s fault – it was the fault of the stupid hoomans, who never seem to understand what the moon means. The moon is all about change and possibility. Transformation, even. It’s no mystery that it has become tied up with the werewolf myth (is it a myth? Sometimes, I’m not sure), and I’ve always loved the fact that Monday, named for the moon, is the ‘first’ day of the week. Of course, in some traditions, Sunday is the first day of the week, and even in some languages the word for ‘Monday’ means ‘second day’, but in the traditions I grew up with, Monday was the first day of each new week. Monday, the day when everything changes, the day that reminds us nothing ever stays the same for long.
The day when you realise the time for a new beginning is now, and that everything has its moment. The day when things change, whether you like it or not.
I’ve been nurturing a new world inside my head for a while now. I haven’t prodded and interrogated it, or tried to write any of it down, or forced it to coagulate before it was ready – I’ve just been watching, carefully, letting the characters get settled and into their places like actors before the curtain goes up. It’s not a new idea; it’s a story I’ve had for a long time, but which I’ve never told properly, or successfully, before, and I want to try to tell it again in the hope that I’ll pare away another layer and get closer to the truth. I’ve decided that today’s the day I’m going to take my first gentle steps into this new world, maybe trying five hundred words of a first chapter. Perhaps even a thousand, if I get a fair wind behind me.
And then I’m going to stop. For today, at least. Perhaps tomorrow I will write some more words, a few hundred here or there. I’ll send down some ‘test trenches’, like an archaeologist searching for something buried deep, and see what I find.
This world is very fragile, still. It’s only beginning to form. I care about it so deeply, and I want to get it ‘right’ so much, that I’m prepared to do whatever it takes – and if that means overriding all my instincts to go at things like a bull in a china shop, then that’s what I’ll do.
I love the moon – I always have. It has always reminded me that no matter how dark things get, there’s always that moment when the light starts to come back, and that there’s always hope. As I watch its movements through the sky it becomes clear that change is natural, inevitable and nothing to be feared – and that sometimes, depending on when you take your leap – it can be the start of something great.