Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Why The Innocent Man?

Don't you hate it when you arrive at someone's site or blog and there's no context to explain what they're about?

I do. So, herewith, context.

I debated with myself about what to call this blog (and I may yet change it). I thought about Digital Medievalist, which while accurate is not everything about me. I settled on The Innocent Man, after the main character in my (as yet unpublished) novel City of Masks. (It's with Macmillans for consideration - at least I hope it is, you never know when you email stuff.)

Gregorius Bass is a naive foreigner in the City of Masks, where everyone must wear a mask and comply with the expectations around that mask. He must be protected by wearing the mask of the Innocent Man:

We talked for some time longer, and then Corius fell to suggesting with the old man and his secretary masks that might fit me; as, "Gentle Knight", and they murmured, "No, for we want no provocation"; and "Honest Courtier", and they said, "No, too rare, too obscure; and there are risks attached to that one, which you may not be aware of"; and some more I have forgotten. Often, Felkior and his secretary fell to arguing some point of philosophy, and Corius had to return them to the topic. Their talk was filled with many terms and references which I knew not, being foreign, and I was soon lost. I had ceased to attend, and was watching the passing traffic from the window (for none of the sage's many books looked light or amusing), when one of them – Tamas, I think – cried, "Of course. The Innocent Man."

I turned around – for his voice had been loud – and surprised an odd expression on the face of Corius, which changed, however, in an instant; it had looked like amusement, but what with the mask it is always hard to tell expressions, and it may well have been rejoicing only.

"Aye," said my servant, "the Innocent Man. Ideal in every way."

"It is true," I said, "that I am guilty of no wrongdoing; but what is this 'innocent man'?"

"The Innocent Man," explained the sage, "is a mask worn rarely, for it is rare, as you know, to find a man without any guile at all. Its significance is this: that any question asked by the character is to be taken, not as a veiled insult or intended blasphemy, even if such is the plain meaning of it, but as the question of an uninformed innocent who means no harm thereby.

"The Innocent Man has no enemies, for he offends nobody. He is openhearted and generous. It is always wrong, and always an offence, to challenge him, or to attack him; he should be protected, rather. The only thing is this, that he is not known for courage (though he is not known for cowardice; the Innocent Man is simply not placed in situations which require courage), and he is not unusually courteous – not so as to be remarkable for it."

One of my hesitations about having a blog, apart from the time commitment, is that I would inadvertently say something stupid or controversial which would haunt me. So here's my attempt to head that off. Treat everything you read here as the words of the Innocent Man. If something appears offensive, that's probably not my intention.


Lisa Spangenberg said...

And of course, Digital Medievalist is taken :).

Happy blogging!

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

That's - remarkable. Thanks!