I was thinking of my dream the other night. Coyote looked very like Skinner in the X-Files; fit, kind eyes (even when serious), and shaven bald. He was dressed in dark slacks and a white dress shirt, short sleeved or rolled up sleeves. Daddy was bald in the last years of his life. Something clicked, there.
When I think of the stories of my youth, I think in terms of clever bits, funny bits, tricksy bits. I think of capture the flag, a game I loved and always lost, because I always concentrated on jailbreaks instead of winning the game. I think of basic training, where my greatest joy came from abusing position to convince three platoons to move the meal line into the woods in a sort of mobius band queue, so my platoon could eat first. I think of getting my son a waitress’ attention for the evening by telling her he had just been sprung from parochial school.
I think of stories of my father. Cheating at pinnochal by passing cards with his feet. Spiking fruit and eating it in school lunches. Stealing the bugle and waking the camp an hour early, just for a lark.
I think of my uncle, who wrote a school assignment applying for work as a label licker in a Tijuana cigarette factory, who rigged the doorbell to a pressure switch on my parent’s wedding bed….
I am a trickster descended of a family of tricksters (harmless, no, beneficial, all of us, warm hearted and well meaning and all of us do good for everyone). And I’m telling the stories. I’m creating the myths.
And I’m dreaming of Coyote.
Tricksters are never content to merely ‘get away’ with it. We have to have everyone know just how clever we were when we did it. The stories are always about us, even when we talk about someone else. When you laugh with wonder at our cleverness or with delight at our appalling foolishness, we are right there, in your mind and in your heart and in you. Every giggle is a hug, every laugh a cuddle, and when we hear our story told by someone else, that’s a kiss.
Coyote was not just a trickster, he was a storyteller, and he was a storyteller first.
That’s what he was telling me the other night. There might be more, but that was the serious, careful briefing. Be clever. Tell stories about it. Skip reality, tell truth, let the world love you so you can grow more clever yet, and tell more stories.
That’s a big part. Of something.