[ASH] Time Capsules #6 - Interview With A God

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Mon Dec 13 14:22:22 PST 2004

    //||  //^^\\  ||   ||   .|.   COHERENT COMICS UNINCORPORATED PRESENTS
   // ||  \\      ||   ||  --X---------------------------------------------
 //   ||      \\  ||   ||                 "Interview With A God"
//    ||  \\__//  ||   ||           Copyright 2004 by Dave Van Domelen

     [cover shows a blond-haired man with a neatly trimmed beard 
      sitting in a chair on a minimalist stage.  His long hair is 
      pulled back in a ponytail.  Surrounding him is a phantom image
      of a wild-eyed, shaggy-haired, long-bearded version of himself
      dressed in furs and carrying a drum.]

     Kaoru Spinoza flipped through the file listing on the old-fashioned
optical disk, looking for a specific date.  The disk was an archive of an
interview show hosted by a man named Charlie Rose, and the date he was
looking for was...there!  January 8, 1998.  
     It was just a transcript, whoever put together this collection didn't
feel the need to include the bulkier video files.  Kaoru sighed.  He'd hoped
to cull another "god sighting" for his collection, but at least the raw
information would be here.
     He opened the file.


DATE: 1/8/98



     CR: Good evening, my guests tonight are Bragi, the Norse god of poetry
and storytelling, and later on, actor Eli Wallach will be here to discuss his
career and his role in the new off-Broadway production of "Visiting
Mr. Green."  Bragi, welcome to the show.

     B: Good to be here, Charlie.

     CR: Before I start with the serious questions, I must admit I was a
little surprised by your appearance.  The three-piece suit, the neatly
trimmed beard, the...
     B: The lack of animal pelts?  (CHUCKLES)

     CR: Well, yes.

     B: Charlie, just because our main claims to fame came from bygone days
doesn't mean we cling to them.  We want to win over the hearts and minds of
modern-day people.  Sure, we've always had a small core of worshippers who
liked the wild hair and animal skins look, and we're grateful for their
continued devotion.  But we have things to offer everyone, and we don't want
to alienate people by looking like something out of Wagner...although I'm not
knocking the Ring Cycle, mind you.  (GRINS)

     CR: All right, I can accept that.  So, as gods for the modern day, what
DO you offer potential worshippers?  It's no secret that several pantheons of
heretofore mythical gods have been engaging in a media campaign, trying to
gain followers.

     B: Personally?  Inspiration.  Poets, writers, storytellers of all kinds,
they're my target demographic, to use adspeak.  I can reach inside and touch
that spark of creativity in each of them, unlock it for a crucial moment.
Let them reach their fullest potential and create the works they're all
capable of, if only freed for the merest moment from the things that drag all
mortals down.

     CR: Isn't that, well, cheating?  Doing their creating for them?
     B: Not at all.  Like I say, it's the potential within them.  If someone
prays to me and has no spark, I can't really help them.  I don't want them
writing MY poetry, I want them writing their own.  I just bring their natural
talent closer to the surface, where they can grab it with both hands and
wrestle it onto the page.  (CLENCHES FISTS)

     CR: What do YOU get out of it?  How does worship help you?

     B: Well, I get a lot more good poems and stories out of it!  (LAUGHS)
Let me tell you, eternal life can get awfully dull, and the nigh-endless
creativity of humanity helps me get through the eons.  But yes, worship
itself is a reward.  I can't say exactly how...I'm not being censored or
condescending here, Charlie, it's just not something that can even be
expressed in terms a mortal can grasp.  I think that being able to grasp it
is what makes one a god, in fact.  Some mortal cult leaders have come close
to touching on it, and I think that's what drives so many of them mad.

     CR: Okay.  Now, what about other Aesir?  They strike me as being largely
focused on warriors, and the ad campaigns have reflected that.  

     B: Well, yes.  The most tangible benefit we offer is bringing mortal
soldiers into the immortal host of Odin, to help fight in Ragnarok.  We're
not as miracle-oriented as the Asgardians or Babylonians, so we can't compete
for the average worshipper as well.  However, we do offer something else that
mortals find attractive.  Immortality...of a sort.

     CR: Are you referring to the apples your wife Iduun tends?

     B: No, not that sort of immortality.  (LAUGHS)  Consider this, Charlie.
All gods have minds that work on multiple layers of reality.  Even those who
seem to be dullards are really just putting on an act in keeping with their
godly portfolio.  We all have phenomenal memories...if something comes to our
attention, we never let it go.  And if someone comes to our attention as
being remarkable in some way, we may take the effort to remember their entire
lives.  This way, they live on in our minds forever.  Or at least until the
end of all.  Worship us, and we are more likely to take notice of your life.
Granted, immortality of the self is a lot more popular, but many people just
want to know they mattered, that someone will always remember them.  And
that's one of the things we do.  Worship us, live a life worth remarking on,
and your name will live forever in our memories.

     CR: What if they don't think they're capable of living such a life?
Aren't you then taking their worship and giving nothing in return?

     B: (LAUGHS)  Charlie, mortals have long said, "The gods help those who
help themselves."  We are here to inspire you, give you another reason to try
harder.  Everyone is CAPABLE of living a life worth noticing, they just have
to make the choice to DO SO.  Before we came back to this world, no one could
know for sure if their actions would earn them a place in eternal memory, but
we give them hope.

     CR: That brings to mind another question I wanted to ask.  What about
God with a capital G?  Or Allah, or the Buddha?  They don't seem to be
participating in what's being called the Godmarket.  Speaking as a god
yourself, do you think they even exist?

     B: (STROKES BEARD) That's a tough one, Charlie.  There's several main
camps of opinion among we small-g gods on the matter.  The first I suppose
you could call the atheistic view.  We're the top of the theological ladder,
there is no God over us, we rose up from mortals rather than being created by
one or more almighty Gods.  Oh, and I should note that due to the way we
experience time and interact with it, we can't be certain of our own origins
in most cases, which helps support the atheistic view.  The second, and the
one I and most of my pantheon endorse, is that there is a non-personified
higher power.  Fate, Wyrd, Karma, whatever you choose to call it.  We are
doomed to a particular end that we cannot avoid or forestall, but it's
nothing personal.  Things happen they way they must happen.  The third camp
is probably the most common: there is an all-powerful deity, but it's one of
us.  Someone managed to figure out how to transcend to the next level, or
will figure it out...time is flexible for us, as I mentioned...and has
established dominion over all that is, was, or will be.  And these gods are
also likely to be trying to figure out how to become that omnipotent entity.
Finally, some gods believe in Yahweh, Allah and so forth.  They worship
higher powers like mortals worship us, and put themselves forward as heavenly

     CR: So, are you saying that, for instance, angels are really just lesser
gods who have decided to serve a greater one?

     B: Well, I'm not saying they ALL are.  If Yahweh does exist, He
certainly is up to the task of making His own angels and ministers of grace.
But I do know several gods who look and act like angels, and say they are
guided by the grace of Yahweh.  Or Allah, for that matter.  And there's a
whole host of Chinese gods who claim to follow the Buddha...they also tend to
claim that Buddha the man attained such enlightenment that he skipped over
our power level entirely and became almighty.  I try to stay out of such
arguments, though.  There's enough wars between the gods as it is, without
dropping a professional speaker like myself into the mix.  Just because I can
talk the legs off a donkey and convince it to go for a walk afterwards
doesn't mean the donkey won't be angry at me later on, after all.

     CR: That sounds suspiciously like a quote from something.

     B: You got me, although it's more of a paraphrase than a quote.  I'll
have to admit, while he didn't actually worship us, Douglas Adams did talk
about some of us in his later books, which got my attention.  My FULL
attention, if you gather my meaning.  I'm one of the few in existence who
knows all of the things he planned to write but never got around to.  Maybe
I'll contact a ghost writer and put out a special edition?  (GRINS)

     CR: Well, it looks like our time is up for this segment, and you've
started making puns in any case.  That's probably a danger sign, given your
"godly portfolio".

     B: Well, yes.  I can make puns on a single subject for days on end, in
any language known to man.  The original "Don't Get Me Started," Charlie.
Thanks for having me, I know your audience is full of writers who would do
well to worship me.  With a little luck, we could see a new surge in American


     Kaoru stopped reading, since he wasn't interested in the long dead
actor.  Odd...nearly 140 years on, and the big questions of God were still as
unanswered as ever.  And even the gods didn't know for sure.
     Or, of course, Bragi could have been lying.  Lies may have been Loki's
portfolio, but someone once said that all writers are professional liars.
And the god of writers would certainly know a thing or two about the subject.
     Too bad Bragi wasn't taking calls anymore, Kaoru mused.  He certainly
could use some inspiration on his thesis....


Author's Notes:

     I don't really watch Charlie Rose on a regular basis, just snips and
bits here and there, so apologies if I got him totally wrong.  I did,
however, look up the real guest lineup for that day.  :)
     This piece mostly came out of some musing over breakfast on the topic of
how the believe in intercessitory saints and angels makes a lot of
"monotheists" into de facto hierarchical polytheists, a topic I muse on every
so often.  This time, though, I drifted onto how this might apply to the ASH
setting.  Were angels and saints really Fullbloods who believed in God?  I
considered just doing an essay on it, but then decided to make it a tiny bit
less dry and do an interview transcript.  But what talk show would likely
have such a topic?  Well, Charlie Rose sprang to mind, and it only took a
moment more of thought to pick Bragi as the likely guest.  And, of course,
that lead to an expansion of the topic.  
     I was originally going to make this a one-shot like the Ash Wednesday
story last year, but then I realized it would fit as a Time Capsules issue
pretty well.  Time Capsules just hasn't been getting used much, since it
looks like its intended purpose of being a try-out book isn't being taken
advantage of.


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