The final day of my Grand Endeavour. I’ll do a summary some other time, but basically: I’m exhausted, my creativity gland hates me, and I have a collection of stories that need a lot of work. But I did it! Yay!
The Lore of Gill
When Gill died his partner Lacey sorted through his desk, reading, keeping or throwing away his work. As well as being a highly trained nurse, Gill had a lifelong interest in philosophy, child and teen psychology, and folklore. He owned hundreds of books on the subjects, and hundreds more on the overlapping elements, such as the psychology of teenagers in folklore, the philosophy of children, and the folklore applications of philosophy, along with dollops of mysticism, history and literature. Lacey had only read some of his writings on these topics, and now that she was cleaning out his desk she was discovering just how far his study had taken him. One set of papers in particular stood out, and the more she emptied the desk the more pages she found of it, until she had an entire book’s-worth of manuscript spread out on the floor. She read snippets here and there and was fascinated by Gill’s depth and breadth of knowledge and his application of it to his work. His ultimate theory was that:
- Every human being is inhabited by a being, call it a soul, a spirit, a piece of God, chi, the divine spark
- This being, let’s call it a spirit for ease of phrase, is incorporeal, it is beginning-less, endless, and indestructible
- When a child is born they are at their most spirit-like, that is, behave most like the spirit that inhabits and drives their body: they have no control of their physical body, they cannot communicate beyond the most basic of needs and wants
- As they grow, the child slowly becomes less spirit-like. The teen years are when this becomes most obvious, when a human being begins to ‘mature’
This is where Lacey had a little trouble following Gill’s thinking, but she continued to read:
- ‘Maturity’ as we know it (the desire to be independent, to settle, to impress others, to ‘fit in’, to conform) is the lessening of the spirit-self. The more ‘mature’ a human becomes the less contact they have with their spirit-self, the less happy they are, the less they can communicate, create, play and love
- Many human beings return to a more spirit-like state as they age, particularly when they are nearing an old-age death. When they die their spirit wanders body-less for a time, and when it is ready it returns to a body via birth again (here Gill’s theory was very like that of reincarnation)
- Sometimes, rarely, a human being will never quite ‘mature’. This is often misdiagnosed as psychosis or delusions, when in fact the person is simply still in commune with their own spirit and the spirits that inhabit the world around them, unseen to ‘mature’ humans
She sat and thought this theory through for several minutes, then put the pages back in order and put them into a large file, placing it on a shelf in her library.
Lacey thought about Gill’s theory for days; it was always at the back of her mind, moulding and shaping itself to fit stories of people she knew or had heard about. She knew that Gill was very intelligent, that he had decades of experience working with patients who suffered from any number of illnesses or disorders. He must have known what he was talking about.
She returned to the study after a week of thinking it over and finished cleaning out his desk. At the back of the last drawer she emptied was a small black art diary: unlined pages filled with scribbles and sketches. It seemed to be a record of his interactions with one patient, and as she flipped through the book, reading various pages and examining the sketches, she realised that this was where his spirit-theory had started to take shape. It was about his work with a teenage girl from years ago; she remembered him telling her about it. The girl’s parents had built her a house in their backyard shaped like a ship so that she could gain some level of independence. They called her bursts of immaturity ‘episodes’, and they couldn’t understand her flights of fancy, her inability to settle or conform to what they thought was normal, and Gill had to convince them to take her off several different anti-psychotic drugs.
In the diary he had detailed not only Hayley’s physical condition and outward mental state, but he had also recorded every ‘episode’ that Hayley had, every time she had ‘become her spirit-self, leaving the world of “mature” human beings and flown off to be with her spirit-siblings’. Lacey sat on the floor of the study for the second time that week, reading page after page after page of Hayley’s ‘episodes’, and she understood where his theory had come from. On the very last page he had written ‘This has been the adventures of Hayley’.