Chapter One: “A Parchment is born”.
It has been written, many centuries ago, in an ancient land full of mystery and intrigue, there lived a mysterious and intriguing man.
To the people of his village, he was known as Circum. This was for his shabby habit made of rough chaff bags – for it was all he could afford – but mostly for his habit of walking around in circles, muttering something to himself.
One day, he had just arrived in the village from places unknown. He’d made his home in an abandoned and musty smelling old wooden hovel, where sometimes on a dark and stormy night, chickens would find temporary but damp shelter.
Villagers knew him to be a man of some knowledge, although no-one was quite sure what it was. Circum was sometimes approached by those who needed a message sent to either their far flung friends and family, or to someone in Great Authority.
As the villager babbled a garbled message, Circum would dip his bedraggled “quill”, an ancient writing implement made from a specially sharpened chicken feather, into a pot of thick black liquid, known as “ink.”
On a crumpled piece of old “parchment”, an ancient form of paper made from recycled papyrus reeds or old cotton cloth, he would form mysterious, unknown symbols.
He told them these symbols were called “Writing” and he was “Scribing”.
None dare ask whether this writing would be understood by the intended recipient. None the less, the villagers gladly paid for this service in copper coins or with either a chicken or some eggs – depending on which came first.
If a villager was poor and needed to tell the Great Authority he could not pay his taxes, let alone Circum, a special piece of parchment was produced. Upon it was written: “Pay in A Year or Pay for A Lifetime”.
Much to his credit, the villager would make a mark or a splodge of ink with the imprint of his thumb on it, at the bottom of the parchment.
Circum had made many such parchments, but the villagers had never understood what their obligations were. But perhaps they did – and just laughed to themselves and purposely ignored their payment promises.
When the villagers had tried to return these parchments of promised payment without any coins or chickens or eggs, Circum – after a quick check – rolled the worthless documents into a ball and hurled them in anger at the floor. They bounced.
Now and then, a villager would disappear in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. In hushed whispers, it was said the Great Authority had claimed him – or ???
Whatever miserably paltry amounts of coin or chickens or eggs Circum did manage to collect, would be traded for more parchments, ink powder and chicken feed, which Circum found to be a bit dry – but nutritious.
Yet, to the amazement of all, he kept up his strange daily ritual of Writing.
Most of the time, Circum could be found simply sitting silently in his unheated and draughty hovel and writing and writing and writing.
Sometimes, in great frustration, he would scream out a curse and throw the quill and ink pot against the wall. At other times, he would simply tear at his hair or his beard or angrily tear up the now ruined piece of parchment.
There were times, however, when villagers would hear him give out a joyous shout.
Peering into his dimly lit hovel, they would see him writing furiously. As the more brave and curious looked over his shoulder, they could see the series of symbols on each parchment all looked very similar.
Either in a trance or in a state of enlightened ecstasy, Circum kept scribing this same series of specific similarly sized symbols on as many pieces of parchment as he could lay his hands on.
Afterwards, he would stop, fingers stained with ink and cramped with the efforts of sustained “writing”. Curious villagers would ask what it was he was so earnestly engaged in.
His answer was always the same:
“I’m copy writing! I will send my parchments, with their brilliant ideas and requests, to the furthest corners of our land and even beyond!”
Bewildered peasants would stare at him in open-mouthed awe and even admiration. Yet, they would gladly take these parchments with them, whenever they would wander far afield.
“Go forth!” he would say to them “and fix one parchment to the main post within the Market Square of each village you pass through. There may be someone who can – and will – read what I have written!”
So, without even realizing it, Circum had invented “copy writing” “marketing” and “post men” and “post-it-parchments”.
Whether any of these parchments ever reached their intended destinations remained unknown to him. Circum would wait expectantly every day, ever hoping for someone to bring him even one single parchment in return.
There was a deep depression around the hovel, caused by his daily and nightly circuitous walking and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting….
This story could be entirely fictional, a fairytale – or even partly born of personal experience. Gentle reader, I will let you be the judge. So far, three chapters have been written, and the story may yet be completed, the Muse willing and if the creeks don’t rise….