Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Day

The rain turned to snow before midnight, and I was already asleep by then, feeling sort of under the weather. This morning the sky was a perfect blue and, feeling a bit less like I was getting 'flu than I had the night before, I headed out for a walk in the woods.

The best thing about going for walks in the woods are the cats, who pretend they aren't really along for the walk, but are merely there by some kind of feline coincidence. Today the cat pretending she wasn't actually accompanying me was Princess, who was extremely well camouflaged. We startled a rabbit hiding in a fallen screech-owl box, who waited until we were inches away to thump off at speed.

I don't think I've made New Year's Resolutions for a while, but I think it's time to lose some weight, get back into shape and start to think about the next adult novel while getting a lot more written on the next children's novel. Meanwhile, lots of small deadlines to get done.

I'm not sure how long this article from the Economist will stay up online, but reading it left me wishing I hadn't already written a djinn story, in American Gods, and starting to wonder if there wasn't something else I wanted to say.
All this may yet play a part in the war on terrorism. Factions in Somalia and Afghanistan have accused their enemies of being backed not only by the CIA but by malevolent jinn. One theory in Afghanistan holds that the mujahideen, “two-legged wolves”, scared the jinn out into the world, causing disharmony. It is jinn, they say, who whisper into the ears of suicide-bombers.

...The story of Ahmed Shah Masoud, the commander of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, clearly shows up the link between jinn and myth-making. Masoud resisted the Soviet Union and the Taliban from his base in the Panjshir valley until he was assassinated by al-Qaeda operatives on September 9th 2001. According to local legend, Muslim jinn were on his side. One of his fighters was said to have slain a dragon in a mountain lake during the Soviet occupation and to have brought the dragon's jewel to Masoud, with the help of Muslim jinn. In murdering Masoud, some Panjshiris say, Osama bin Laden declared war on Muslim jinn also.

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