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11:12am on Sunday, 16th November, 2008:

The Forest of a Thousand Rumours


I had the radio on in the car yesterday, and listened to a piece where a woman was describing Hawaii in the days before it became the 50th state of the USA. She discussed things like folk stories and the locals' spirits-based religious beliefs, before moving on to the way it had been swept aside in a wave of glass-and-concrete construction once the union was established.

At one point, she said she sailed out into the big bay of Honolulu to see if she could see the old Hawaii beyond "the forest of a thousand rumours". I really liked this vision, which I took to be a reference to some parable from the old Hawaiian religion. A forest full of rumours — wow, what an evocative idea. I could imagine a book called The Forest of a Thousand Rumours, except that the old Hawaiians had already come up with the idea so it would be a rip-off.

This all happened in the space of 2 or 3 seconds.

The narrator continued, describing how the hotel she was staying in was low-rise and only had 72 rooms (or something like that). I felt this sudden, almost tangible shift in my understanding: when she'd said "thousand rumours", she'd actually said "thousand roomers", ie. hotels that have a thousand rooms as opposed to seventy-something. It was nothing to do with some Fantasy aspect of ancient Hawaiian religion at all, I'd just picked up on an inadvertant pun.

So, that means I do get to write The Forest of a Thousand Rumours, then (or at least put one in a game sometime).

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).