A few years back, I conducted an interview with Annah, the main character from Clay Gilbert’s book of the same name, and the first in his series, Children of Evohe. In that time, he has had to change publishers from the now-defunct PDMI to Dark Moon Press. He has now published two books simultaneously. This time, I interview her two “sister-friends”, Chelries and Liara. To Annah and her people, friends who are especially intimate are considered family, so they are both her sisters and her friends.
- It’s been a year since Holder and Annah have married. How are you adjusting to coexistence with humanity? *both laugh* We have never really had any difficulty “coexisting” with humans, at least those who are willing to coexist with us. Yes, there are terrible images of what humans did to Evohe in our people’s shared Memories of what we call the Breaking of the World, but Holder, Goodman, the Maestro, Maria Cantriel, and even Brian Stelson–so many humans never personally treated us badly. I think we both agree that misunderstanding is harder one on one.
- I’m told Annah has started a group called “The Circle” and one of its members is autistic. What is your impression of him? Chelries: “Our circle is a thing that does not really have a name–unless Annah is talking about it, she does pronounce it with that sound you give it, that “thing” sound–but even she just thinks of it in terms of what it does, and not so formally. Liara: “That is not the point of what he is asking, sister. He is asking, I think, about friend Jason. Jason Treader. That’s a subject I know you like. Chelries: “Oh! I do like him, very much He is less guarded than other humans sometimes, even less so than Holder. That is very comforting. And he does not mind dancing with me, and can even keep up. Liara: (smiles) I like him too. He likes stories, and has even told me some of his own, and those of his world. This ‘autism’–I have heard him speak of it as well, but I do not think of it as separate from him, or a thing he ‘has’. It is merely a part of who he is, and that is all.
- What other members of the Circle have you found the most challenging to teach and learn from? (Liara and Chelries look at each other, as if trying to decide who’s going to answer first) Chelries: I think we both had some difficulties adjusting to Maria Cantrell, when she was with us. Liara: Yes. We were not entirely sure what to make of her in the beginning, but we trusted her, because Annah did. And then we came to see what Annah saw in her, and we loved her. And then she was gone. But we remember her fondly. Chelries: There has also been Brian Stelson. It is truly remarkable how much he changed, even more so than Maraia did. Liara: Sister, that may be because there was even more in friend Brian that needed chaning. Chelries: I suppose that is true, and I suppose that is the point.
- Your culture seems to place great emphasis on music. What is your favorite thing about human music? Chelries: The rhythms! Human culture seems to have found many more ways to make a beat than we have, but then I suppose they have more ways to do it. It is wonderful, anyway. Liara; The fusion of melody and verse. We do not have so many songs with words here on our world, not ones of our own. Song-shapers like Annah, and word-shapers, like myself if I may say so, may one day change that. Chelries: And then I will dance to those new songs! *laughs*
- What is your opinion of our food? Chelries: Very tasty. Holder and Anah talked Llew and Danae, Annah’s parents into making a human meal called ‘pizza’ from a recipe he had found. It was delicious. Liara: I agree! I could have eaten at least half of it by myself. Chelries: Hmph! I would not have let you
6. Annah has talked fearfully about this thing called “Mara” or the “Shadow”. What is it? Liara: The principle of Balance, which our people believe is the ultimate reflection of how all things are meant to be, has two halves which are meant to be unified. Half of this is the Shadow Mara, called in our language ‘mara-kai’ meaning “Shadow outside”, or in the world, and also ‘mara-ken’, meaning shadow within. The other half is the Light, or Argia. We could speak of the light as ‘Argia-ken’ or ‘Argia-kai’, I suppose, but the light does not have the tendency to split off and divide, either itself or other people, the way Shadow does. So it is simply Argia, the Light. And in the world as it was before the Breaking, these halves of Life were one. But in the world as it is. , they have been allowed to become divided, because people will not see themselves as whole. When we see ourselves as broken, we break the world around us. The legends of our people falsely call the Breaking of the World the human invasion of Evohe, with their ships and deadly falling fire. But our world was already broken before that, because we perceived it that way.
7. Have you learned anything about human spirituality? How has it affected your outlook on spirituality? Liara: Yes, I would say we have learned some things. I would want to leave some of the specifics for Annah to answer, at a later time. for of the three of us, only she has been to the distant shore of the spirit-river Essei-Khai. But I have come to understand that she believes our race’s ancestral understanding of the First Ones in plural terms as incorrect, as an understanding that is incomplete. We break them down into more than that to make them seem smaller and easier to comprehend, but Annah has said to us both, “The First Ones are Only One.” It is not a popular concept with our people. But Annah says that it is true. Chelries: I would say that I think all spirituality carries the message: that we are to love all, serve others more than ourselves, and I seek unity, not separateness from the Ones–or One, if we are to use our sister’s words–who brought us into being.
8. Humans are very competitive. Are Evoetians? If not how are you adjusting to this? Liara: I would not say all humanity is competitive. The ones of their ruling class; their government, this “Homesec”, that we ourselves have had more difficulty with–they are competitive. And from what I understand of human culture, the culture’s ruling class have to structure things so that competition breeds success. But look at the history of Earth and humanity–competition has brought death, disease, enslavement, and unhappiness more than anything else. From my view of human history, the greatest achievements have come from common endeavor, not singular or competitive struggling. Chelries: I agree. The same is true of our people. We have had the greatest happiness when we do NOT try to divide among ourselves; when we sought union rather than division. Division brings destruction. I think that coexistence and cooperation are much more desirable things than competition. Fortunately, those humans who have come among us here on Evohe have adopted our thinking of things. They have done the “adjusting” instead of the other way around. Liara: Honestly, though, I think that those who came to live here already believed in coexistence more than competition. I do not think the other sort would feel happy here for very long.