the golux

Calling the James Thurber Fandom

So my son! The one you remember from such masterpieces as Ezra vs. the Rancor!

Yeah. Our latest read-aloud bedtime story was The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, because Neil Gaiman recommended the fuck out of it, and holy shit y’all.

Firstly, it was hella fun to read out loud. I mean seriously. I read the kids stuff mostly every night and it’s usually good stuff, right? But repetitive. They have their favorites. Maurice Sendak. Jane Yolen. Mo Williams. We do the same stuff over and over. Reading 13 Clocks… it was new for me too, and it was so fun to read. Stuff like:

“I can do a score of things that can’t be done,” the Golux said. “I can find a thing I cannot see and see a thing I cannot find. The first is time, the second is a spot before my eyes. I can feel a thing I cannot touch and touch a thing I cannot feel. The first is sad and sorry, the second is your heart. What would you do without me? Say ‘nothing.’”

“Nothing,” said the Prince.

“Good. Then you’re helpless and I’ll help you.”


And secondly? My 9-yr-old son. Is now obsessed. He wants to make a 13 Clocks board game. He’s been consulting with me on the design and here’s a few sample conversations:

Robin: “The goal is to reach Saralinda on top of the tower and at the end you face the Duke! And if you win you marry Saralinda.”

Me: “Cool but, have you ever thought, what if Saralinda didn’t want to marry the winner? Like, she helps out Zorn because she actually likes him, but. What if she didn’t?”

Robin: (blank stare) “She’s an NPC.”

Me: “I know, I know, but. What if she wasn’t? What if you go all that way, through all the trials, and at the end, Saralinda doesn’t want to marry you?”

Robin: “Uh…. (long pause). Well, then you still win, because, you’re good friends.”

***

Robin: “I need more PC characters. Not just Zorn. ..Mom? Who do you think is a good PC?”

Me: “Hagga?”

Robin: “OOOH! That’s good! I’m thinking of a card called Tears of Hagga. It gives you points that can give you more cards.”

Me: *SPEECHLESS WITH LOVE AND ADORATION FOR MY AMAZING SON.*

Robin: “And there’s also other enemies like Hark.”

(I invite you to join me in my overwhelmed delight, James Thurber fandom, which one hundred percent exists.)

***

Robin: “How should the Todal be in my board game?”

Me: “You decide.”

Him: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Well, that’s appropriate.”

***

I will leave you with the initial design for the Zorn of Zorna card. Look at that sassy smirk omg:

‘I make mistakes, but I am on the side of Good,’ the Golux said, 'by accident and happenchance. I had high hopes of being Evil when I was two, but in my youth I came upon a firefly burning in a spider’s web. I saved the victim’s life.’

'The firefly’s?’ said the minstrel.

'The spider’s. The blinking arsonist had set the web on fire.’

—  James Thurber, The 13 Clocks
I can do a score of things that can’t be done,” the Golux said. “I can find a thing I cannot see and see a thing I cannot find. The first is time, the second is a spot before my eyes. I can feel a thing I cannot touch and touch a thing I cannot feel. The first is sad and sorry, the second is your heart. What would you do without me? Say ‘nothing.’
—  James Thurber, The 13 Clocks