Christopher sits in his chair, a thin layer of dust clinging to his trousers, turtleneck, and coppery-golden hair. Across from him sits Quartz, sneezing from all the dust in his beard.
Quartz: Kerchow! (gets out a handkerchief and blows his nose) Right. I know the scribbler was letting me gather dust, but you’ve got this weekly conversation going. What’s with the metaphor becoming literal?
Christopher: (shaking the dust out of his hair) Sorry. In spite of the blogs, I feel like I’ve been gathering dust. I’ve been drifting closer to the Shadow Forest so yes, metaphor became literal as you see.
Quartz: (primping his beard, smoothing it) Careful where you go slinging those metaphors, lad. A dwarf’s beard is his pride and joy.
Christopher: Again, sorry.
Quartz: Aye, well, it’s not like I don’t understand the frustration. The scribbler is still focused upon At Her Service.
Christopher: Along with transcribing the contents of the notebooks which have piled up so thick she’s running out of space. I believe you have something related to Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins coming up in the one she’s typing up now.
Quartz: Aye, but she’s likely to forget it as soon as she types it, putting it aside for whatever is next in the notebook. Didn’t you have a little something she wrote recently?
Christopher: That was Duessa, not me. The tragic doomed passion she had for her husband, Stefan, and how it’s linked to the blossoming of the Gardens of Arachne. Our scribbler was going to insert it into Web of Inspiration, but she’s only written fragments of the fifth book of Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest. Actually she never completed a draft of My Tool, My Treasure which comes before it. Or finished polishing up Stealing Myself From Shadows, The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, and A Godling for Your Thoughts?
Quartz: Aye, Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins lies gathering dust as well, waiting to be revised.
Christopher: She’s planning to polish up Fairest after she finished At Her Service. Release them on their own.
Quartz: Hmph, if you ask me, she’s terrified of self-publishing along with many other things. One of those is re-entering the world after hiding in lockdown during the epidemic. All that scared and scarred her plently.
Christopher: You may be right, although she is trying to save up for Vellum.
Quartz: Right. Of course I’m right.
Christopher: I’m not sure how to help her with her fears other than to have her face them. Or channel that fear into story.
Quartz: We’ve just got to keep pounding on her imagination until she tells our stories. Remember she wants to tell our stories and none of us are getting any younger, including her.
Christopher: Or we could tempt her imagination into thinking and dreaming about us.
Quartz: Eh? What are *you* thinking?
Christopher: I’m not sure yet, but our scribbler is drawn to certain plot devices, certain situations in story.
Quartz: Aye, that she is, but it’s when she’s really getting into character motivation and conflict that her stories flow.
Christopher: We need to think about this.
Quartz: Aye, we do. Meet me back in a week and we’ll discuss our thoughts.
Christopher: It’s a date. I mean, a plan.
Nimmie Not: (his disembodied voice coming from the mist) It had better not be a date, oh no, it had better not be! You’d be wise to keep your misty digits off my dwarf, little shadow, yes, you would!
Christopher: (looking around) It’s been a while since I’ve heard from Nimmie Not. I’d almost missed him.
Quartz: (nose turning red) Aye, well, so did I. A lot.
Nimmie Not: (voice coming closer) What was that, my dear Quartz? Were you expressing a longing for my presence? A secret yearning in your stodgy facade?
Quartz: (ducking his head) Shut up.